It is said that it is a foul if the first place in the school is good at sports. However, if the athletic department is ranked first in the school, the story is different. Wouldn’t this be the perfect ‘scam character’? This is the story of Yoo Jun-ha (22), a rookie striker for K-League 2 (2nd division) Gyeongnam FC, who did not miss the first place in the entire school while working in the soccer club and achieved his dream of becoming a professional soccer player after entering Seoul National University.
Yoo Jun-ha started in the FA Cup round of 16 against Incheon United (0-3 loss to Gyeongnam FC) of the professional football K League 1 (Part 1) held at the Incheon Soccer Stadium on the 24th and played his 4th official match this season. He played 85 minutes until being substituted in the 40th minute of the second half, which is the longest appearance in a game since his professional debut. Yoo Jun-ha said, “I played my first game against a team in the 1st division, and it is regrettable that I missed a goal opportunity.”
Yoo Jun-ha, who started playing soccer at Shinjeongcho in Seoul at the age of 10, did not stand out as a player even when he was young. He was, of course, not at the level he was inferior to. In the 2018 Geumgangdaegi National High School Football Championship final, which he participated in as a sophomore at Gangneung Central High School, he scored a hat-trick and led the team to victory, catching the eyes of professional team scouts. However, he did not show much performance in the most important competition in his third year and naturally fell away from the interest of the professional team.
It was in the third year of high school that Yoo Jun-ha decided to go to Seoul National University. For Yoo Jun-ha, studying was easier than soccer. He, who never missed first place in the entire school for three years while working in the soccer club, said, “Since I was young, I thought that I shouldn’t go all-in on soccer, so I studied at the same time, but it was amazing that my grades went up as much as I studied.” He devoted himself to his studies with the determination to go to Seoul National University unconditionally unless he joined a professional team, and he succeeded in entering Seoul National University (Physical Education Department, College of Education) from time to time. It was also the first Seoul National University student produced by Gangneung Jungang High School in 40 years.
He became a Seoul National University student, but he did not give up on his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. He studied at university during the day and continued his amateur career by playing for Nowon United in the K4 League (4th Division) at night. In the end, after scoring 9 goals in 27 K4 League matches last season and winning the ‘Young Player Award’, he received a love call from Gyeongnam FC. It wasn’t even a test, it was a ‘Let’s sign a contract right away’ contact.
Yoo Jun-ha stepped on the K-League stage of his dreams for the first time in the 5th round match against K-League 2 Sangmu Kim Cheon last month. He became the first Seoul National University player to step on the professional soccer stage after 32 years after Hwang Bo-gwan in 1988, Yang Ik-jeon in 1989, and Lee Hyun-seok in 1991 (Lee Jeong-won, Bucheon in 2017, played one FA Cup match). Considering that the majority of rookie players disappear without even making their debut, he is steadily getting opportunities. Seol Gi-hyeon, coach of Gyeongnam FC, evaluated him as “a player with flashing performance and excellent sense in front of the goal” and said, “After his debut match, he is frequently exposed to the media, such as appearing on broadcasts, but he should be able to show a good figure without feeling pressured.” he advised.
Yoo Jun-ha,안전놀이터 who made his name known as a K-leaguer from Seoul National University, recently emerged as a national star by appearing in the popular entertainment program ‘You Quiz on the Block’. “It was an honor to have the opportunity to appear on the most famous program,” said Junha Yoo. It was a new experience for her,” she said. Taking a leave of absence after finishing his third year, his final goal is to represent the country. Yu Jun-ha, who says, “It is my dream to wear the Taegeuk mark like all soccer players do,” said, “I am still lacking, but I will do my best to succeed as a soccer player. He intends to graduate someday, but he has no intention of going back to school right away.”