Inspirational father helped Son Heung-Min shine from harshness

Son Heung-Min ‘s journey is a prominent story in Korea and Tottenham when the father’s will and sacrifice play an important role in those successes.

Son Heung-Min

Followed his father’s unfinished football career. 

In the 80s of the last century, Son Woong-Jung is not the anonymous name of Korean football. The striker was born in 1962 to play in some big Kimchi clubs like Sangmu, Hyundai Horangi or Ilhwa Chunma. Son Woong-Jung was sometimes called up to the Korean national team B.

At the age of 28, Son Woong-Jung was forced to retire due to an injury. The regret for Son Woong-Jung’s outdated football career was passed on to his son born two years later, named Son Heung-Min.

Mr. Son Woong-jung had an unfinished football career.
Mr. Son Woong-jung had an unfinished football career. 

People often mention the spirit of labor and the desire for the success of the people of Kimchi land. In football, the Son Heung-Min family is typical in Korea.

From an early age, the practice sessions with his father became harsh with Son. The Tottenham striker usually spends about 4 hours training just to practice the ball retention skill. Only father and son in the rehearsal. However, by the 3rd hour of the training session, Son felt dizzy. He started to see 3 balls instead of one. Mr. Woong-jung got angry.

That year, Son Heung-Min was only 10 years old. He was able to keep the ball up for 4 hours without letting the ball fall to the ground.

Inheriting the soccer gene from his father, Son loves the soccer ball from the beginning of his training. But even the most dreamer in the family doesn’t think he could become the best football star in Asia right now.

When Woong-Jung suffered a serious knee injury, Korean sports medicine was not as developed as it is now. The dream of becoming a bright star in the football sky of the land of Kimchi flashed off with the 28-year-old striker.

Markus von Ahlen once instructed Son when he came to Germany at the age of 16. In the cooperation program between Hamburg Club and the Korean Football Federation, Mr. Woong-jung decided to take his son to Europe to study. “Father-Son follows his son every minute. He is basically a good player, but he is always accompanied by his father every day. He works constantly,” Von Ahlen told the BBC.

In Mr. Woong-jung’s mind, to have an illustrious football career, nothing is better than learning to thrive in the peak European football environment.

Son Heung-Min came to Europe from a young age to build a career.
Son Heung-Min came to Europe from a young age to build a career.

Father’s whips …

“I know many Westerners will not be able to understand the way I teach their children,” Woong-Jung told Korea Expose. In the eyes of many Koreans, the greatest happiness of parents is to sacrifice for their children to grow up.

A former professional player, Mr. Woong-jung believes that training muscles too early will make your children unable to maximize their technical skills with the ball. He focused on honing his son’s skills of dribbling, pitching and using his legs. “When Son arrived in Hamburg, he was very quick and smart but not as comprehensive as he is now,” said Von Ahlen.

From Hamburg to Leverkusen, then to Tottenham, Son played almost every position on the line. He has had nearly 300 matches in the Bundesliga and the Premier League, the top two leagues in Europe.

However, Woong-Jung doesn’t want his children to be happy with what he has. Korea’s number one striker continues to receive strict advice from his father.

“He said I wouldn’t be able to get married until I retired,” Son said. “I agree with that. I want to make sure that when I play at the highest level, football is a priority. You don’t know how long your professional life will last. If you retire, you can start having family happiness. “

Many Westerners will not understand that harshness from Woong-Jung. As a football hero, Son receives attention from Korea’s most famous beauties. Country media Kim Chi said Son used to date famous singers Bang Min-ah or Yoo So-young.

The love story did not go anywhere, which is not a small cause was reported by the media because of Mr. Woong-jung. Most European coaches will want their players to settle down early, get married and have babies instead of partying as if they were single. They don’t need to worry about Son. “I’m not that kind of player,” Son said.

Son asserts that he is not only playing for himself, but also for his family and his country
Son asserts that he is not only playing for himself, but also for his family and his country

The Tottenham striker insists that football for him is not only fun, it is also a mission that he must carry out for his family, for his father and for the country of Korea. “I have to be an ambassador for the country. I take a lot of responsibility for everything,” Son said.

“There is always a difference between Europe and Asia. Westerners often think: Why does he have to live for his family? But without a father or family, I won’t become who I am today”, the striker 27 years old said. “My family sacrificed so much to help me achieve success today. I have to pay back.”

Son participated in many charitable activities in his home country. The Tottenham striker and Woong-Jung opened a soccer academy named after him in his hometown of Chuncheon.

In South Korea, the thing that many Westerners are most concerned about is the expression of the “my” and “our” concepts. Instead of saying “mine”, many Koreans would say it’s “our”. It is a community-based culture, always emphasizing relationships with the family, the community and the collective.

Park Minhye, a Korean journalist, described Son the same way. “When he succeeds on the football field, it will be the success of the whole country. It’s like our success,” Park said. That is probably what helps Tottenham striker continue to conquer new heights.
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