Tavern Kickaround: Paek Seung-Ho ready to join Barca? [update 4.0]

It’s a new Kickaround, international break edition. 1st on the agenda, Korea is prepping for their upcoming 2 friendlies:

Korea v Uzbekistan  FRIDAY March 27 @ 7am EST / 8pm Korea Time

Korea v New Zealand  Tuesday March 31 @ 7am EST / 8pm Korea Time

We’ll have previews for these up soon.

Updates for the KNT, Kim Jin-Su is out as LB. He suffered a concussion recently in a practice session at Hoffenheim and will not make the trip to Korea. *coincidence as Hoffenheim’s coach bitterly argued he shouldn’t be called up since Hoffenheim released him for Asian Games & Asian Cup duty?

This will be a (sort of) testimonial for Cha Du-Ri. He officially retired following the Asian Cup in January, however will be called to action one last time to honor his KNT service during the New Zealand friendly. Here’s a promo clip produced by the KFA:


We turn attention for a moment to Europe: 16 year old Shin Geon-Hwi (Ulsan Hyundai youth?) is on trial (with 2 other youngsters from the US) at Eintracht Frankfurt. Good luck Shin! 

And while some parts of the world was celebrating St Patrick’s Day, a certain Paik Seung-Ho (Barcelona youth academy) celebrated something else: his 18th birthday.  And with that, he is eligible to officially play in domestic Barcelona teams.  It’s widely believed he will be scheduled to play with a team when the next season rolls around in August. Will it be Barca B?  To be determined.

Jinseok’s update: As Barcelona’s transfer ban prevents them from signing players until January 1st, and Barca B is considered professional and Juvenil A isn’t, PSH will play for Juvenil A from August – December then play for Barca B afterwards. Of course this could be subject to change, but it was reported that this is the plan. Lee Seung Woo also turns 18 in January, so by February of 2016, expect to see both LSW and PSH making their pro debuts.


As Tim delivered more bad news in his K-league week 3 roundup, FC Seoul is in big early season trouble.  There is some good news on the horizon, Park Chu-Young should be ready to play as his paperwork to clear him is near an end.  First game back for Seoul could be April 6 after the international break.

Tavern Owner on the run…might be back for more updates



*…and we’re back for a hot moment. I mentioned JK Art Soccer academy in Korea not too long ago. They released a new video on youtube and it nearly brought the Tavern Owner to tears. I don’t kick around the word ‘inspirational’ often as it’s been misused to describe utter triteness. I’m going to go ahead and use inspirational to describe this video and the transformative properties of football to give this older gentlemen of 52 years a chance to fulfill a dream deferred. Take a look.



Update 2.0  Starting tomorrow, Korea’s 2016 Rio Olympics squad will compete in qualifying for the 2016 AFC U23 Championship in Indonesia. Ryu Seung-Woo (B.Leverkusen/E. Braunsweig) injured last weekend will be out for several weeks and will not join up as originally scheduled.  A deep run in that tournament (I believe) is part of the qualification for the Rio summer olympics – and with it- the possibility of another generation of Korean ‘ballers freed from military conscription with a medal win. The 2012 London Olympics bronze medal win over Japan granted military exemption to that U23 class including Ki Sung-Yeung, Kim Bo-Kyung, Koo Ja-Cheol, Ji Dong-Won among others currently plying the trade in Europe.  We’ll try to update progress in the qualifiers in Indonesia when we can.


version 3.0 update sounds much more exciting than 2.0…but I saw this on twitter today, the K-League report has expanded and launched a very fun and hilarious vlog – they journeyed to Ulsan last Saturday to take in a match and take you along for the ride. It also visually lays out very clearly the massive problem the K-League has…when people don’t show up at these enormous World Cup class stadiums. Take a look:


In Women’s footbal news, Ji So-Yun scored in Chelsea Ladies 6-0 FA Cup win over Watford. From Chelsea’s report:

“Ji So-Yun had the hosts in front after 10 minutes with an arrowing strike into the corner.”

Chelsea faces Arsenal in the quarterfinals.

WKLeague action for you midweek, here’s today’s Suwon v Dajeon game in it’s entirety:


** Takeuchi tweeted this, from CIES Football Observatory, their 2014 Player Development Ranking:

That’s right, Korea is trailing behind Japan in another category -yet again. But here’s the glass half full perspective: Korea ranks slightly higher than the US, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Well, maybe that can be considered glass half full. Anyway, they also rank individual clubs for player development rankings: combing through that, FC Seoul clocks in as the best K-League club against the rest of the world at #73. Seongnam comes in last at #768. Don’t despair Seongnam supporters, they also tied with other clubs like Bursapor, Charlton Athletic, Kawasaki Frontale, and Jubilo Iwata. Interestingly (and part of the overall problem of Korean football development) Korean University teams (Soongsil, Chosun and Chung-Ang University + others) and high school teams (Gwacheon H.S.) show up on the list. That might not be a good thing if you consider that best practices for developing world class players means the best of the young class needs to be given professional experiences somewhere around age 16-18. University and high school playing time doesn’t fit that bill.  We’ll take another look at this study sometime soon.  On the flipside, what are the top clubs/nationalities for player development? Dutch, Spanish, German, English, clubs like Barcelona and Feyenoord Rotterdam topping the list. Korean FA, get on this quick. Balli Balli!


Update 4.0 (why stop at 3.0 when you can go for 4.0?)  this will be the last update, Tim is just about to post up the Korea v Uzbekistan preview: I’m taking my 6 year old for yet another soccer match this weekend, Argentina vs El Salvador (playing the part of the punching bag), but it’s a friendly that’s captivated Washington DC for one reason. #messimania has arrived and growing more crazy each day Team Argentina stays in the nation’s capitol, that according to several Washington Post articles including this one from earlier today showing mobs trying to catch a glimpse of the team in training at Georgetown University. Here’s an excerpt from today’s Wash Post article:

Nicolacci had pulled his twin sons out of kindergarten to witness how Messi moved his feet, how Messi treated his fans, how Messi was the ultimate humble role model, even for 6-year-olds. “This is a culture I want them to learn,” he said, his son Marco in a little Messi jersey, perched on his shoulders. “This sport is a tool to bring happiness to people of all cultures.”




(Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

I’ll send out a tweet or two from inside Fed Ex Field on Saturday – send a shout if you are also there.

Also on Saturday over on the west coast Jeremy Paek will be attending the Mexico v Ecuador game as a member of the Tavern Press Corp!  He wants to take a look at latin american soccer culture to see if it could resonate in any way back to the Korean diaspora and it’s sometimes on again/off again interest in football.


Let’s close the Tavern by once again looking at the 23 man roster for Korea’s upcoming friendlies:

Team Squad for 2015 Friendlies with Uzbekistan & New Zealand
Position No Name Date of Birth Cm/Kg Club Caps/Goals
GK KIM Jinhyeon 1987.07.06 193/78 Cerezo Osaka 10 / -8
GK KIM Seunggyu 1990.09.30 187/80 Ulsan 9 / -10
DF JANG Hyunsoo 1991.09.28 187/77 Guangzhou Fuli 14 / 0
DF KIM Changsoo 1985.09.12 179/72 Kashiwa Reysol 17 / 0
DF KIM Younggwon 1990.02.27 187/74 Guangzhou Evergrande 34 / 2
DF KWAK Taehwi 1981.07.08 185/80 Al Hilal 41 / 5
DF CHA Duri 1980.07.25 181/79 Seoul 75 / 4
DF KIM Keehee 1989.07.13 187/80 Jeonbuk 8 / 0
DF KIM Juyoung 1988.07.09 184/80 Shanghai SIPG 7 / 0
DF YUN Sukyoung 1990.02.13 182/74 QPR 9 / 0
MF KI Sungyueng 1989.01.24 186/75 Swansea City 72 / 5
MF PARK Jooho 1987.01.16 174/71 Mainz 24 / 0
MF SON Heungmin 1992.07.08 183/78 Leverkusen 40 / 10
MF KIM Bokyung 1989.10.06 178/72 Wigan 30 / 3
MF HAN Kookyoung 1990.04.19 183/73 Qatar SC 24 / 0
MF NAM Taehee 1991.07.03 175/73 Lekhwiya SC 21 / 2
MF KOO Jacheol 1989.02.27 182/73 Mainz 45 / 13
MF LEE Jaesung 1992/08/10 180/70 Jeonbuk 0 / 0
MF HAN Kyowon 1990.06.15 182/73 Jeonbuk 8 / 1
MF KIM Eunsun 1988/03/30 182/78 Suwon 0 / 0
FW JI Dongwon 1991.05.28 186/76 Augsburg 30 / 8
FW LEE Jeonghyeop 1991.06.24 186/76 Sangju 7 / 3

*If I’m hearing reports correctly, Stielike is not utilizing an alternate option in place of a recovering Kim Jin-Su.

Hopefully I won’t be spoiling Tim’s upcoming preview by adding my 2 cents now: it’ll be interesting to see how Uli Stielike will view Kim Bo-Kyung and Ji Dong-Won – both are players that missed out for the Asian Cup – those 2 Stielike has yet to see play for his squads.   Lee Jae-Sung (Jeonbuk) is someone I’m curious to see on the pitch for the KNT. Other than that, I’m not a Lee Jung-Hyub hater, just want to get that out there before I predict he’ll not make much impact before getting yanked midway through any of these friendlies.  He’s got raw talent for sure, but his inclusion is further proof Stielike is still grasping for straws in the CF areas.

Another long term question looming is who will take over as the RB of choice with Cha Du-Ri departing?

About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
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