“We’ve been dreaming and living hard, and at some point, the reality we’ve achieved makes us dream again.”
Gwangju FC’s Lee Sun-min, now a South Korean national soccer player, expressed the situation surrounding him and his teammates in sentences that sound like song lyrics.
Gwangju defeated defending champions and leaders Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 in the 29th round of the Hana One Q K League 2023 on Wednesday afternoon at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium.
Lee Soon-min, who started the game as a full-back before moving to central defense, said in the post-match press conference that Gwangju’s current form is inspiring him to dream of greater heights.
“The preconceived notions we had are breaking down as we climb step by step,” Lee said, “making us think, ‘We can go higher,’ ‘We can dream more,'” he said.
“The reality of the current situation allows the team to dream bigger,” he added.
Gwangju, which just moved up from the second division, has been a “promotion team sensation” since the beginning of the season and is currently ranked third.
Without key players such as Uhm Ji Sung, who was called up to the 23-year-old national team, and Heo Yul and Asani, who have accumulated warnings, the team defeated Ulsan to go unbeaten in nine matches.
After the game, coach Lee Jung-hyo welcomed the team’s rise, saying, “I don’t know how far we can go.” Lee Soon-min echoed the sentiment, saying, “I don’t know the limit.
It’s not just Gwangju that is surprised by their continued growth, but also Lee Soon-min herself.
On this day, Lee shut down Ulsan’s offense, which boasts one of the best offenses in the league.
On the counterattack in first-half stoppage time, Ulsan’s Kim Min-hyuk took a right-footed shot from the penalty area, but Lee Soon-min, who had made a strong run from the back, immediately took over the space and blocked it with his body.
In the 35th minute, he followed Bako’s roving pass to penetrate the space behind him and was able to keep up with the K League’s “representative Junjok” Uhm Won-sang in a race for speed, eventually turning the opponent’s attack into nothing.
Originally playing as a defensive midfielder, this season since Gwangju’s ascension to the first division, he has been filling the void at the back regardless of whether he plays center back or full back.
In recognition of his performances, he was recently called up to the national team led by Jürgen Klinsmann. He was born in 1994 and is approaching 30 years of age.
Lee attributes his recent success to playing for a tactically tightly organized Gwangju side.
“As a team, we prepare together, and there are many promised moves. “That’s what all the players say,” he said, “that no matter what position I play, I just need to focus on my role in an organized situation. That’s why we can produce good results even in unfamiliar positions.”
“There were times when we didn’t score many points. Our strength comes from the process,” he said, adding, “I think our team, players and coaching staff work harder than anyone else on the team, and that’s what shows in the results.” 토토사이트