Few people know, but Lee Jeong-taek’s season this season was dramatic.
Lee Jeong-taek is a player who has been playing for Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province since it was in the semi-professional K3 League. As he said himself, until last year, Lee Jeong-taek followed the natural course of being in K3. It was a career in which “he never really received much attention from high school to college,” he said. He started playing soccer in Jeju Island, and never received a call from a professional team until he graduated from Sangji University. When Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, was preparing to turn professional, he suffered an injury. At the end of last year, he was looking for another K3 League team after being informed that he would not be able to continue with the team.
However, as one of the professional defenders that Chungbuk Cheongju tried to recruit fell through, Lee Jeong-taek was contacted asking him to rejoin the team. Perhaps becoming a professional player itself was fortunate. Since the process of remaining in the team was like this, it was difficult for him to have expectations of playing professionally. He did not stand out even in winter training.
However, Lee Jeong-taek, who was a candidate at the beginning of the season, quickly took over the starting position. He had started 19 games and appeared as a substitute in 5 games until round 27. The current three-back in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province consists of Lee Han-sam, who has a lot of professional experience, and Lee Jeong-taek and Lee Min-hyung, who came from semi-pro days, working together. Lee Jeong-taek’s quick feet are of great value in Cheongju’s three-back position in North Chungcheong Province. His coverage range is wide, and being able to catch up and disrupt opposing attackers is an important ability, especially in the K League 2 environment where counterattacks are frequent. He also has the passing ability to contribute in build-up situations.
What is the secret to becoming a professional player? He put in a lot of effort to further strengthen his physical abilities, but most importantly, he developed a professional-like sense of purpose. It was urgent to take the advice of Jang Hyuk-jin, who had extensive professional experience (see part 2 of the interview), and abandon the mindset of his semi-pro days.
“Everyone has times when they are good and times when they are not. Among them, the player who makes fewer mistakes is able to play at his own pace. That was the mindset to become a professional and establish himself. It was the same mentally. When there was something to worry about, it was overly complicated. If you get lost in your own head and think about it, it’s hard to get out. If you just think simply, the problem will actually be solved. By following that story, my performance improved. These days, even semi-professional players think that if they just change their mentality, they can do well in the pros. .”
He started thinking like a professional. In particular, Lee Jeong-taek was not a starter during the opening game in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, but about 7,000 people attended, the largest audience to date. It was a number that the club found difficult to handle. He realized that he had become a professional, and his desire to play grew.
The experience of blocking high-level opponent attackers is also very meaningful to Lee Jeong-taek. “In the K-League, there are excellent domestic strikers from teams like Gimcheon, and there is no need to mention the destructive power of foreign strikers. While blocking them, I felt that I was lacking technically, but if I played one step further, my team did not lose in the end. I knew I could face them and overcome them. “We are in the process of checking each game and turning it into a result. I knew there was a lot of potential.”
Beyond your own success as a professional player, what is the reason why Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, is doing so well? Through 13 games undefeated, the ranking rose from 12th to 7th. 5th place will advance to the promotion playoffs.
“It’s analysis and communication. When preparing for each game, the coach holds a meeting where he analyzes the opponent in detail, and that fits the bill. In particular, set pieces tailored to the opponent work well. Recently, there was a set piece that Peter put in that was tailored to the opponent. Tactics “We tend to communicate when making decisions. This is a team where the coach asks the players what approach they liked, and the players can express their opinions. Even in individual meetings, they can talk about their preferred game.”
Coach Choi Yun-gyeom and veteran Jang Hyuk-jin try not to set goals hastily, but the young players are encouraged by the recent upward trend. “I looked up the K League 2 undefeated record. Gwangju went undefeated in 19 games in 2019. There are still 6 games left, so it’s a lot, but our players are aiming for more than that. Even more than advancing to the playoffs is possible.스포츠토토 I think. I am confident. By keeping the number of goals conceded low, the scoring power of my strikers is also increasing. I understand well that the reason the coach always talks about setting low goals is to maintain the attitude of a challenger. At the same time, young players become ambitious. “
Lee Jeong-taek’s goal in his first professional season is to settle down as a full-fledged K Leaguer not only this year but also in the long term. “It was very difficult for me to become a pro. I want to be like Hyukjin, my older brother. In other words, my goal is to be recognized in the K-League and have a long career as a player. Life in Cheongju is almost the same now as it was during my semi-pro days. However, I sometimes recognize him at the cafe right in front of my accommodation. “I have fans. I don’t show it when that happens, but I’m really happy on the inside.”
When asked to give advice to players looking to play in the K-League from amateur or semi-professional teams, Lee Jeong-taek once again emphasized that he had changed through his conversation with Jang Hyuk-jin. “I lived my life proud of myself for working hard during my K3 days. However, rather than setting the standard for ‘passion’, I should always set the standard for professional athletes and try to follow them. I’m not saying that you should blindly increase your exercise time, but as I’ve said so far, “You have to think about how to play soccer efficiently. You have to use your head.”