Tag Archives: Soccer

kang soo-il

Kang Soo-il Accepts Doping Ban After Blaming Mustache-Growing Cream


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korean striker Kang Soo-il has decided to not contest his 15-match suspension after he tested positive for the banned steroid methyltestosterone shorty before his international debut, reports the Associated Press.

Kang, 27, initially blamed his failed doping test on a mustache-growing cream he received as a gift.

On June 11, the Jeju United forward was only a few hours away from playing his first match with South Korea’s national soccer team against the United Arab Emirates when his test results were revealed. He was immediately pulled out of the squad and sent home to Seoul the following day.

Without Kang, South Korea still managed to beat the UAE 3-0. The team is scheduled to play against Myanmar in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Bangkok on Tuesday.

According to AP, soccer players have the option of submitting a second sample for further testing, but Kang has chosen to accept the 15-match ban the K-League doles out to first-time offenders.

“I am sorry for the fans who had high expectations of me,” Kang told reporters upon arriving in Seoul. “I feel sad … and disappointed with myself because I had no knowledge about what a professional player should know naturally.”

Kang is only the second multiethnic player to join South Korea’s national team. He is now also the second Korean athlete to fail a doping test this year after Olympic swim champ Park Tae-hwan tested positive for testosterone in March.

See Also


South Korean Striker Fails Doping Test, Blames Mustache-Growing Cream

Mixed Korean Athlete Joins Korea’s National Soccer Team

Suspended Olympic Swimmer Park Tae-hwan Approved to Resume Training


Featured image courtesy of Yonhap

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kang soo-il

South Korea’s Kang Soo-il Fails Doping Test, Blames Mustache-Growing Cream


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

We’ve heard athletes give strange reasons for failing doping tests before, but South Korean soccer player Kang Soo-il’s explanation has to be the hairiest of them all.

The Jeju United striker was set to make his international debut in a friendly match against United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday, but was pulled out of the squad after he tested positive for anabolic steroid methyltestosterone, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Kang told the K-League that his doping failure was caused by his mustache-growing cream.

Since FIFA bans players who fail doping tests from representing their nations, the Korea Football Association said Kang will be returning to South Korea on Friday.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 3.59.37 PM(Photo via Kang Soo-il’s Facebook page)

The 27-year-old forward will be allowed to submit his B sample for further tests, according to the K-League. If that sample also tests positive for steroids, then Kang would be subjected to a doping hearing and a K-League ban of 15 games.

Coach Uli Stielike invited Kang to train with South Korea’s national soccer team back in December, making Kang the second biracial soccer player in history to achieve this feat.

However, due to his failed doping test, Kang will be unable to join the national team in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Myanmar next Tuesday.

I bet Kang is kicking himself for missing such an important match due to some upper-lip follicles. Here’s what we think Kang would look like in a few weeks, if his mustache-growing cream works its magic:

kang soo il moustache(Original photo via Kang Soo-il’s Facebook page)

See Also


Biracial Korean Striker Joins Korea’s National Soccer Team

Homeland Tour for Biracial Adoptees

Will The Real Hapa Please Stand Up?


Featured image via SBS

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South Korea’s Chung Mong-Joon Considering FIFA Presidential Bid


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon said on Wednesday that he will “carefully consider” running for FIFA presidency, following Sepp Blatter’s unexpected resignation as head of soccer’s global governing body.

Chung, the biggest shareholder of South Korea’s Hyundai conglomerate, has been a fierce critic of the 79-year-old Swiss president for years, calling Blatter an “impetuous child” in his 2011 memoir. At a press conference in Seoul, Chung told reporters that the manner of Blatter’s resignation was “quite disappointing and regrettable” and emphasized the need for transparency at FIFA.

“Blatter’s cronyism and closed management led FIFA to corruption,” Chung said. “It is a shame that FIFA is unable to reform by itself.”

The 63-year-old billionaire scion added that he would make a final decision about a bid for FIFA’s top position after meeting with international soccer leaders.

Blatter resigned just four days after he was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president. On May 27, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives on charges racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. U.S. authorities recently confirmed that they are trying to collect evidence linking Blatter to the ongoing investigation.

Chung, who still serves an honorary FIFA vice president, said that Blatter should not have a hand in choosing his successor, stressing that the election process should be “transparent and fair.” He also suggested that anyone seen as having unfairly benefitted from close ties to Blatter should be excluded from the presidential race.

“[Blatter] was in FIFA for 40 years and he gathered his closest people to run FIFA and blocked people who asked for reforms,” Chung told the Joongang Ilbo. “It’s about time for those with independent opinions to take over.”

Head of the Korea Football Association (KFA) from 1993 to 2009, Chung played a key role in bringing the World Cup to South Korea for the first time in 2002, with Japan as co-host. When Chung began voicing his concerns about Blatter’s management, he lost his position of FIFA vice president to Prince Ali bin Al Hussein in a 2011 vote.

Chung joins Prince Ali and UEFA president Michel Platini in the unofficial shortlist of potential candidates to replace Blatter. Meanwhile, Blatter announced that he will remain in office until a new election is held, which could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year.

See Also


“How a Curmudgeonly Old Reporter Exposed the FIFA Scandal that Toppled Sepp Blatter”

“Uli Stielike Questions Korean Education Over Players’ Lack of Creativity

“Korean Soccer Chief to Run for FIFA Executive Committee”


Featured image via Reuters Video

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Korean Soccer Whiz Kid Eying to Win FIFA Ballon d’Or

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

South Korean soccer prodigy Lee Seung-woo, who plays for the youth developmental team of worldly renowned Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona, is never shy about making bold statements. Last September, the then 16-year-old sparked controversy after saying that “beating a team at the level of Japan will be easy” ahead of Korea’s quarterfinals match against its arch rival at the Asian Under-16 Championships. He then kept his word by scoring two goals, one of which was a stunning solo effort, in Korea’s convincing 2-0 win.

This time around, Lee has set a far loftier goal. He now wants to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or, an annual award given by international soccer’s governing body to a player who’s been voted by journalists, national team coaches and captains. Since 2008, the prestigious award has been monopolized by superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who are considered to be in a class of their own even among the world’s very best. Although Lee hasn’t yet played in a professional match due to age restrictions, the media in Europe have touted Lee, now 17, as the “Korean Messi” because of his undeniable potential.

“It’s an honor to be called the Korean Messi,” Lee said in a press conference at the Incheon Airport on Wednesday after he arrived from Spain to join Korea’s under-18 team for the upcoming international tournament in Suwon. “I want to be the best just like Messi. Just like Messi, my goal is to win the Ballon d’Or.”

Lee is eligible to sign a professional contract with Barcelona when he turns 18 in January of next year. If that were to happen, Lee will likely play alongside Messi at Barcelona. Messi, already among soccer’s all-time greats at age 27, won four straight Ballon d’Ors from 2009 to 2012, during which he won three Spanish league titles and two European Champions League trophies. Last January, Lee tweeted a photo he took with Messi at Barcelona’s training center and expressed his dream to one day play next to his idol.

Additionally, Lee also said that he aims to become Korea’s youngest ever player to represent the country at senior level. The current record is held by Kim Pan-keun, who made his international debut at just 17 years and 241 days old in 1983. Lee turned 17 on Jan. 6 last year, and he would have to be selected to Korean men’s national team before September to break Kim’s record. South Korea has six matches scheduled between now and September.

“Playing for the senior national team has been my dream since I was a little kid,” Lee said. “I want to be my country’s youngest player in history.”


Cuddy Irene Park

Link Attack: East West Players Honors Susan Ahn Cuddy; North Korean Soccer; Amadeus Cho in ‘Avengers’

Interesting reads from around the Internet. Take a gander!

East West Players Honors Susan Ahn Cuddy in ‘Born to Lead’

Above photo: The 100-year-old veteran attended the performance along with her son Philip Cuddy. It was the first time she’d seen the EWP Theatre for Youth play about her life that is currently on tour. (Pasadena City College Courier)

kenneth choi

Kenneth Choi joins horror-thriller Stephanie

The Allegiance and Sons of Anarchy star has joined Universal’s horror-thriller, Stephanie, which is directed by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. The story centers on a young girl named Stephanie (Shree Crooks) who is abandoned by her parents. When her parents return to claim their daughter, they find supernatural forces are wreaking havoc, with Stephanie at the center of the turmoil. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Korea to punish local governments for paying native English teachers

The central government has threatened to take punitive measures against financially struggling local governments if they insist on paying the salaries of native English teachers. (The Korea Observer)

Songun soccer: Football politics in North Korea

NK News explores North Korea’s complex relationship with soccer and how politics eventually became involved.

It’s Time For Us To Update Our Image of North Koreans

Daniel Tudor, former Korea correspondent for The Economist, writes on The Huffington Post that we must start paying proper attention to the North Korean people themselves–they are where the only real hope, he says.

Adrian Cho

Leonardo da Vinci inspires Ottawa Jazz Orchestras latest chamber jazz

Bassist and bandleader Adrian Cho’s Ottawa Jazz Orchestra has a long track record of tackling some of jazz’s seminal works, whether its pieces by Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Charles Mingus or Benny Goodman. But this Thursday, the group mounts its first evening of all-original music, written by Cho and trumpeter Rick Rangno. (Ottawa Citizen)

The chaebols: The rise of South Korea’s mighty conglomerates

CNET’s Cho Mu-hyun details how these “cornerstones of the economic, political and social landscape” helped “save South Korea from crushing poverty and defined a country’s role on the global stage.” Part one of a series.

Joy Cho

Blogger Crush: Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

Style Bistro profiles L.A. native John Cho, who runs one of the top blogs on the Internet, as well as a thriving YouTube channel, a line of party supplies at Target and a graphic design business. She is also a wife, author and mother of two.

Man Charged With Repeatedly Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend Inside Subway Restaurant In NJ

Yoon S. Choi, 48, of Silver Spring, Md., is charged with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon. (CBS News, Philadelphia)


Will Avengers: Age Of Ultron Introduce Amadeus Cho To The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Dr. Helen Cho (played by South Korean actor Claudia Kim) is a world-renowned geneticist and an ally of the Avengers. From her offices in Seoul, South Korea, to sharing workspace with Bruce Banner in his lab at Avengers Tower, Dr. Cho’s research and technology help keep the Avengers in the fight. (ComicBook.com)


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France Chosen Over South Korea to Host FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

FIFA announced earlier today that France will host the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup instead of South Korea.

South Korea, France, England, New Zealand and South Africa initially expressed their interest in hosting the two events. However, the candidates were narrowed down to two countries last October, when France and South Korea submitted their official bid documents to FIFA.

Following a unanimous decision, the FIFA executive committee awarded the hosting rights to France, bringing the tournament back to Europe after Germany served as host in 2007.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is considered the most important international competition in women’s soccer, and it is the biggest single-sport event played by women. The championship has been held every four years since 1991, when its inaugural tournament took place in Guandong, China.

Canada will be hosting the 2015 championship from June 6 to July 5, 2015, with 24 teams competing.

Japan is the current champion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and was the first Asian team to achieve this feat. There have been six tournaments so far, with Germany and the U.S. being two-time champions.

You can watch the host country announcement below:



Uli Stielike Questions Korean Education Over Players’ Lack of Creativity

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

Uli Stielike, the head coach of South Korea’s national soccer team, has placed doubts on the Korean education system, suggesting that his team’s bland playing style during games may stem from the country’s rigid teaching model in childhood education.

German coach Stielike, who recently won overwhelming plaudits from the Korean public for taking the national team to its first Asian Cup final in 27 years, told Spain’s daily newspaper AS that he has been taken aback by the players’ tendency to relentlessly follow directions without improvising what they’ve been taught to do on the field.

“I’ve never worked in an Asian country before,” said Stielike, who took charge of the Korean team last October with the mission of revamping the soccer landscape in the country. “In terms of team discipline, a coach couldn’t ask for more from these players. Their willingness to work hard is impressive. What they lack, due to the education of players, is greater creativity.”

Stielike has praised his team in the past for its ability to play with togetherness, highlighting its gritty efforts when defending, but he also expressed frustration over the passive attitude of the players as they are often reluctant to take risks and create innovative plays when attacking. Likewise, Korean players combined for just five runs into the opponent’s penalty box in three games at last year’s World Cup. Ivory Coast, which was also eliminated after three games, had 18 runs into the area.

The 60-year-old coach was a legendary midfielder and defender during his playing career, having played for European powerhouses, such as Borussia Monchengladbach and Real Madrid, throughout the 1970s and 80s in addition to winning the European Championship with the German national team in 1980.

In Spain, where he played for Real Madrid from 1977 to 1985, Stielike still remains as one of the most beloved foreign players to have played for the club that boasts the highest number of Spanish and European titles. He was well-known for his elegant and imaginative style of play, often acting as the playmaker for his teams.

“I want to see moments of surprise from the Korean players,” Stielike said. “But it is a little curious … I remember the first time I asked a player during practice what he thought about my instructions. He looked at me as if I were treating him like he was someone from Mars.”

For decades, schools in South Korea have produced students who score among the highest in standardized tests in comparison with students from other OECD countries. However, the so-called “K-12 education” in Korea is so ruthlessly focused on exams, most notably the annual college entrance exam, that an average schoolchild works up to 13 hours a day, while an average high school student only sleeps 5.5 hours a night because of schoolwork, according to an article by The New York Times last year.

The rigid school system has allegedly made South Korea the world’s top producer of unhappy and even suicidal teenagers. Taking a step further, Stielike said that such an extreme culture has deprived Korea’s athletes of creativity and inventiveness, which are critical elements in soccer as there’s only so much a coach can do during a 90-minute game that only has one 15-minute break at halftime, unlike basketball, which allows multiple timeouts for coaches to use during games to give instructions to the players.

For years, top tier professional soccer players in Korea have been testing their abilities in Europe, where the quality of the games is known to be higher than that of their country’s domestic K League. Korean national team captain Ki Sung-yueng is a key figure at Swansea of the English Premier League, while the country’s 22-year-old star goalscorer Son Heung-min has been playing in Germany since he was just 16.

However, the K League still serves as the “farm system” for the national team as even players who later move to Europe must develop through the youth academies of South Korea’s professional teams. Ultimately, the K League must develop more competitive players who can create plays for themselves rather than ones who simply adhere to what their coaches say, Stielike said.

“The Korean League, truthfully, is not very strong,” the coach continued. “By contrast, the fans’ expectations on their national team is immense. We have four players playing in Germany, two in England and the vast majority are playing in Asia. I doubt that the level of such leagues allow us to raise the level of the national team.”

But Stielike, who is under contract until 2018, is still confident that his experience could steer Korean soccer back on the map of world soccer.

“Provided that we qualify for the next World Cup, I’m contracted until 2018,” he said. “The aim is to pass the group stage of the World Cup [which the team failed to do in 2014].”


Featured image via SMH

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Korean Soccer Chief to Run for FIFA Executive Committee

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

Korea Football Association (KFA) president Chung Mong-gyu has declared his candidacy for a seat on the FIFA Exeuctive Committee, making him eligible to become South Korea’s second executive of the international soccer’s governing body.

Chung Mong-gyu, 53, is apparently hoping to follow in the footsteps of his cousin Chung Mong-joon, a former KFA president who served on the FIFA Executive Committee from 1994 to 2010 as the vice president.

Chung Mong-gyu, registered for his candidacy with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Tuesday, according to the KFA. The deadline for registration is reportedly Feb. 28.

The president of the AFC is automatically given a seat on the FIFA Executive Committee as FIFA’s vice president, which leaves only three additional seats for potential candidates from Asia. The candidates will be chosen during the AFC Congress in Bahrain on April 30.

Chung may be running against Kozo Tashima, Japan Football Association’s vice president, Worawi Majudi of Thailand Football Association, Malaysian football association’s Tengku Abdulla and Saud Al Mohannadi of the Qatar Football Association, according to Yonhap.

Although Chung, who also serves as Hyundai Development Co.’s chief, became the KFA’s president in 2013, he has been involved in Korean soccer for more than two decades as the owner of three different teams in the K League, South Korea’s professional soccer league. He also perviously served as the K League’s commissioner in 2011.

Since becoming the KFA president, Chung helped South Korea win its bid to host the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Last October, he expressed his interest in running for the FIFA Executive Committee seat, saying he intends to “explore more ways to enhance the level and marketability of Asian football.”


Featured image via KFA

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