Seongnam U-15 coach Lee Sang-yong, ‘Seongnam Mountain Magpie’ who became the teacher of baby magpies

On the 30th of last month, Seongnam FC announced the reorganization of the youth team coaching staff. As U-18 head coach Koo Sang-beom left the team, Kim Geun-cheol took over the U-18 team, and Lee Sang-yong, who assisted Koo Sang-beom for 7 years and served as U-18 coach, took over as U-15 head coach. took office

Among them, coach Lee Sang-yong, who took over the baton after a long coaching career, has an unusual career. A native of Seongnam Youth Poongsaeng High School, he ended his career as a player in his early 30s and has been accompanying Seongnam for a long time as a leader. Although he had regrets about his career as a player, he returned to Seongnam with the desire to raise his juniors well. Including his high school days, the time he spent in Seongnam is already 11 years.

<Best Eleven> heard the leader story of Seongnam U-15 director Lee Sang-yong, who became the teacher of middle school baby magpies earlier this month. Seongnam Man in his 11th year, coach Lee Sang-yong.

Best Eleven (hereafter referred to as b11): Hello, Director. Congratulations. How do you feel about being a director?

“After 7 years of coaching in Seongnam, I became the U-15 coach. First of all, I would like to thank the club. After coming down to U-15 and teaching for a little over 20 days, there are new things, and from the perspective of the U-18 team, middle school children I was able to know better than anyone what I lack. It is my duty to minimize the gap between middle school and high school. It seems that I have been given the task with the intention of working hard, so I will work hard and do my best.”

b11: The professional team goes to field training, what is the vacation schedule for the youth players?

“All children’s schools are different. They are club teams, so they do not belong to the same middle school. There is no spring break these days, so some friends are in semester and some are on vacation. We are planning on-campus training from the 8th. To the U-18 coach I will need a lot of help, and I can help, so I’m going to a joint winter training with Beolgyo.”

b11: It hasn’t been long, but was there a moment when you realized the difference between a manager and a coach?

“To this day, to be honest, it’s very awkward to be called ‘Director Lee’. I’ve always been used to being called ‘Senior Lee (Coach).’ I am well aware of the difficulties coaches have on the field. I do not turn away just because I became a coach, but I want to move with the mind of a coach.”

b11: After teaching high school players, I ended up coaching middle school students. What should leaders of this age group focus on?

“The most difficult part when I came down to middle school after watching only high school kids was scouting the freshmen of 2024. It is the most difficult to see the kids. Because I have no experience in elementary school. Still, the personal skills and technical parts of the upper students are under the professional umbrella. So I think the level has risen to some extent.”

“If you tell the players about tactics and strategic parts, especially what concept they should have in the game, when they play against a strong team or against a weak team, middle school children feel refreshed. I try to do it through PPT or animation through meetings rather than words. You have to go out with a laptop to the playground, call the children, show them the video, and conduct training. Because the children can see the whole picture at once, not just words, they say, ‘I have to study soccer’. I am teaching.”

b11: How do you work with pro teams?

“I came to the team in 2016, and it has been 8 years now. In December of last year, head coach Lee Ki-hyeong took over from the professional team. He also said that he would like the U-15 and U-18 teams to share the same tactics and direction as the pros. Actually, this is the first time I have had a meeting with a professional coach after being on the team for 7 years. I said, ‘I’m going to bother the coach a lot’ (laughs). Since the tactical part and the color we’re aiming for are over 80% similar, we plan to develop the youth based on the data and meetings that coach Lee Gi-hyung gave us.”

b11: Do you have any memorable students? Who else would you like to develop well?

“I was grateful to a player named Park Tae-joon. When I first started my leadership career at my alma mater in 2016, he was a sophomore in high school. In his second year as captain, he took the lead by example, attached himself to the team, and contributed a lot to the team. He was a sincere friend. He played an active part in the U-20 World Cup, and went up to pro right after graduating from high school. He is still a member of our team. As a youth leader, I have a thought that more children like this should come out. Also, last year’s semi-professional There is also Kim Ji-soo, who debuted as an “old man” than I thought. He didn’t have the mentality of a high school senior. He has a strong mentality and excellent skills. I think these guys will become the future of Korean football in the future.”

“Coming to the middle school team, captain Han Seung-hee and a friend named midfielder Lee Soo-yoon of the same age seem to have good potential. Even though he is a middle school student, he has a good attitude, and if he develops and develops his skills for three years, he will likely go to a professional team.”

b11: I heard that you have a special relationship with former Seongnam U-18 coach Koo Sang-beom.

“After meeting the director for the first time, I ran hard, so 7 years have already passed. I did, but I heard that he went to the Pro Football Federation match supervisor, so I decided to visit him often.”

“Many people think that I am the coach’s disciple. I am not a disciple, but the coach of Gyeongsin High School during my middle school days. They tried to scout me, but I ended up at Poongsaeng High School. He chose me as his coach.”

b11: You started your leadership career early. I wonder if there are any regrets.

“I retired at the age of 31. I graduated from Poongsaeng High School, entered Yonsei University, and went to a professional team (Jeonnam Dragons) with the first pick in the draft. In my freshman year of high school, my college was decided, and by the time I graduated from college, I was awarded the College Player of the Year award. I thought I would win and win in the pros, but the reality was different. I was in the National League for a long time. I came out of Jeonnam and worked at Kookmin Bank in Goyang and KHNP in Gyeongju. Because of my military service, I went to the K3 League Pocheon Citizen’s Club, worked during the day and pursued my dream of becoming a soccer player in the evening. After serving in the military, I planned to return to KHNP in Gyeongju.” 안전놀이터

“I am very grateful to KHNP coach Seo Bo-won in Gyeongju. After getting married and serving in the military, I had to find a new team again, and I scored the winning goal to advance to the National League playoffs. The coach promised me to come back after being discharged. He did it. Around the time I was discharged from the military, my uniform number came out, and I even worked on making signed balls, but then I got a call from Seongnam. I refused three times. ‘I’m not old enough to retire.’ ‘ I thought about it. I asked for a meeting at the club for the fourth time, and I thought that I should look to the future rather than money. I thought about it for about six months and as soon as I was discharged, I called coach Seo Bo-won. It’s very rude, but I told you about the leader’s plan. When I gave it to him, he was happy to tell me, ‘You may never experience your first leadership life at your alma mater.’ I still keep in touch with you often.”

b11: I’d like to ask what kind of director you want to be.

“I have been in the position of coach for less than a month. I want to become a leader who puts more effort into the children. At the first meeting, I told the children about ‘good leaders and bad leaders.’ A bad leader will be a leader who coaches hard and only punishes. I want to be a good leader, not both.’ There are also introverted children,

“Anyone can talk about Conte, Guardiola, etc. I would like to pick Nam Ki-il, the manager of Jeju United in Korea. He was also in Seongnam, but he has no personal connection. I have indirectly experienced how he dominates and colors football. There are parts that I want to emulate. Another is U-17 national team coach Byun Seong-hwan. I am personally acquainted with him, but he is a very cool leader. He is my role model. The things he says, his expressions, his words, his actions and gestures seem unathletic and very smart. I have a lot of respect for him.”

b11: Several youth coaches showed interesting motivational videos to the players. Do you have any videos like this?

“I have a lot of videos in my folder. I have more than 10 motivational videos on YouTube, and there are famous motivational videos in other sports, American football as well. And at the end, they play a short motivational video, something I’ve never done on the U-15 team.”

b11: In your first season as a coach, what are your goals for this year?

“I still think that I have to learn a lot because I am a beginner coach. I do not want to show (results) through many changes just because I became a coach. We emphasize judgment. On the playground, children can play soccer with confidence,

b11: Last question. Now, it has been more than 7 years since I have been in Seongnam. What does Seongnam mean to Lee Sang-yong?

“I coached for 7 years, and if you include high school, it seems to have been 11 years. The city of Seongnam has had a lot of football boom since I was in school. I have five or six students who are pros. Seongnam seems to be my second hometown. It’s already been 11 years. Others say it’s not a short time, but it’s a very short time for me. I do my best every day, so 11 years have passed. . Until the day I stay here, Seongnam will exist, develop, and rise again to Division 1. I will support you from behind the scenes.”

b11: If there are people you would like to say hello to personally, please.

“First of all, I would like to thank the club. Also, I know that the staff, coaches and coaches of all ages are struggling. And I would like to say thank you to my wife. It must have been difficult, but I cried a lot when I became a manager after 7 years. I want to say that I will work hard with a sense of responsibility.”

On the 30th of last month, Seongnam FC announced the reorganization of the youth team coaching staff. As U-18 head coach Koo Sang-beom left the team, Kim Geun-cheol took over the U-18 team, and Lee Sang-yong, who assisted Koo Sang-beom for 7 years and served as U-18 coach, took over as U-15 head coach. took office…

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