9 March 2024

North Korea’s Lee Young-jik, who chose K League 2, said, “I wanted to try a difficult challenge… I’m happy now.”

By pestfood.com

Lee Young-jik, 33, who played for the North Korean national soccer team, will perform in the K-League 2. When asked why he chose to go to South Korea, he said, “I wanted to take on the most difficult challenge.” “I am satisfied with my life in South Korea,” Lee said, expressing his strong commitment, saying, “I will give my all to achieve good results here.”

K League 2 FC Anyang announced the recruitment of Ri Young-jik, a veteran midfielder from the North Korean national team and a “fourth generation Korean in Japan” on the 7th.

A defensive midfielder, Ri has played for Japan`s lower leagues including Tokyo Verdi, Kamatamare Sanuki and FC Ryukyu, starting with Tokushima Bortiv in 2103. His overall J-League record is 20 goals and eight assists in 261 games.

Lee also played for the North Korean national team. He won a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Games soccer tournament in Incheon, and participated in the 2015-2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup with the North Korean flag.

In 2019, he participated in the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup Asian qualifiers held at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Stadium and played directly with the South Korean national team.

In an interview with News 1, Lee Young-jik, the owner of an interesting history, said, “I wanted to take on a new challenge. I wanted to do something that I had never done before, and I wanted to run overseas that I had never experienced before. I wanted to succeed by choosing the most difficult challenge among the new challenges.” The most difficult and unfamiliar challenge for Lee, who wanted to perform overseas, was none other than Korea.

When asked how he felt about living in Korea in person, he said, “It is clear that it is not easy. However, you gain a lot at the same time.” He added, “Korean soccer is highly skilled and high-quality, and the K-League is a good stage where such characteristics can be created. Now, it is more important to adapt to the K-League faster than anything else.”

“He is very active and has no problem in communicating with his teammates. Nevertheless, he is learning Korean more separately. He is making active efforts to adapt to the situation,” an Anyang team source said.

Ri was satisfied not only with Korean soccer but also with his life in Korea. “First of all, Korean food is very delicious. Seolleongtang with my colleagues after training is also the best. Any restaurant you go to serves delicious food. I didn’t know why Japanese people travel to Korea so much when I stay in Japan, but now I know,” Ri said with a smile.

In addition, from Lee Young-jik’s point of view, the numerous cafes that are always open were also impressive. “I like coffee, but there are many coffee shops in Korea. Unlike Japan, it is always open, so I am very satisfied because I can drink coffee even when I exercise early in the morning before training,” he said.

Ri is known as the only North Korean player to stop the fight when South Korean and North Korean players engaged in a war of nerves during the inter-Korean match at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium in 2019. 노래방알바

The match, which ended in a 0-0 draw, was played without spectators, and there was no live broadcast or full-time video in Korea, so we still don’t know exactly what happened.

When asked about the situation at the time, he said, “It is true that I stopped the fight between the two sides,” adding, “However, (unlike what was known), the situation at the time was not as intense as a normal game. It was a war of nerves that is common in soccer.”