It was the 10th of last month. After dinner at the Pohang Steelers clubhouse in Songnyeon, Buk-gu, Pohang, rookie Kang Hyun-je, 21, was called to the manager’s office by coach Kim Ki-dong, “God Ki-dong,” and received the best news of his soccer career. “Two days before the Ulsan game, the coach called me into his room and asked me how I was feeling, and told me to prepare well because I was going to start. I felt like I was going to fly,” Kang recalled.
So far this year, Kang had only played one match in a Pohang uniform. It was a home match in the Asian Champions League group stage against Wuhan Shanzhen (China) on April 4. He played less than 10 minutes, coming on in second-half stoppage time with the score 3-1.
As predicted by Kim, Kang made his K League debut in the East Coast Derby against Ulsan on Nov. 12. He made a big impact. He scored the game-winning goal in the 31st minute of the first half when the score was tied at 0-0. “I blocked the opponent’s ball and believed that (Yoon) Jae-woon, who rushed to the right side of the penalty box in a counterattack situation, would unconditionally put up a cross. (Hong) Yoon-sang tried to cut back and I was able to score comfortably,” said Kang Hyun-je. The goal was the product of a trio of 2002-born players. 무지개토토 도메인
Their parents, who live in Ulsan, were at the stadium to witness their sons’ K League debut. “They were very surprised when I told them I was playing for the first time. They told me not to be nervous, which helped a lot,” he said. “When I told him I was going to play soccer, he didn’t object, but he said, ‘If you’re going to start, don’t quit,'” he added.
‘Those who are ready get the chance’. Kang Hyun-je said, “I was feeling down because I hadn’t played for a while, but my older brothers told me to prepare well because I had a chance. The youngest coach, Lee Kyu-yong, also told me, ‘There are a lot of injuries at the end of the season, so your chance will come. Prepare yourself well,’ he said. It motivated me,” he said.