National University from Seoul National University → Japanese club vice president → Korean soccer administrator… What is the remaining dream of ‘Canon Super’ Hwang Bo-gwan?[이헌재의 인생홈런]

Hwang Bo-gwan cheers after firing a cannon shot against Spain at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Donga Ilbo DB
Yu Jun-ha (22), a rookie striker in professional football at Gyeongnam FC, started in the K-League 2 match against Sangmu Kim Cheon on April 2 and played on the ground for about 30 minutes. With his professional debut on this day, Yu Jun-ha became the fourth Seoul National University graduate to step on the professional soccer stage. It has been 32 years since Hwang Bo-gwan in 1988, Yangik-jeon in 1989, and Lee Hyun-seok in 1991.

While playing soccer in high school, he did not miss the first place in the entire school and said, “I think soccer is more difficult than studying.” Not surprisingly, in high school he was pretty good at soccer, but he never got named to any professional team. In his first year, he was called Seoul National University’s soccer club’Neymar’, and he joined Nowon United in the 4th division through a test in 2021, when he was in his second year, and played as an amateur player until last year. And after studying and exercising at the same time, he was finally able to be selected by Gyeongnam.

The first professional soccer player from Seoul National University is Hwang Bo-gwan (58), head of the technical headquarters of the Korea Football Association. The process by which he entered Seoul National University was different from Yoo Jun-ha.

He transferred to Seoul Physical Education High School after the high school football club he attended in his hometown of Daegu was dismantled. He was a player far from studying. At the time, he lived away from books like other soccer-playing peers. On the first test he took after coming to his transfer, he scored 58th out of 60 students in his class. Director Hwangbo said, “At that time, I met a good teacher. He recommended that the teacher ‘read the book once’. He started out as an easy-to-read novel. As he gradually became accustomed to writing, he began to enjoy studying as well.”

At the time, Che High School students would stay out on weekends. Director Hwangbo, who had come from the countryside, had nowhere to go, so he read books and studied in the dorm. He said, “After a year or so, I was in the top 10. Studying well and receiving recognition made sports even more fun. That’s how I ended up enrolling in Seoul National University while studying and exercising together.”

Hwang Bo-gwan, who is in his late 50s, still has a good impression these days. He is obsessed with coffee and wine these days. Reporter Lee Heon-jae
Seoul National University is still far from sports. Seoul National University’s baseball team has only one win in 2004. However, at the time Hwang Bo-gwan was active, the Seoul National University soccer team was different. Among the best 11, there were several special students, and even though it was a weak team with a well-organized system, it was a team that could not be ignored. They won against Korea University, where Shin Yeon-ho and Kim Jong-bu played, and also won the runner-up in the national competition.

Director Hwangbo was selected as a second team member of the national team when he was in his senior year at university and accompanied him on an expedition to South America. In that tournament, he showed good form, such as scoring a goal, and in 1988, he joined the professional team Yugong Elephant. He also recorded 7 goals and 5 assists in his first year as a pro and was voted Rookie of the Year. He gained momentum and even wore the Taegeuk mark as a national representative. Head Hwang Bo said, “At the time, there were a lot of views that said, ‘How can a kid from Seoul National University do it? He was a great motivator for me. He ran again and again with a much stronger heart,” he said. “I used to think, ‘Oh, it really works,’” he said.

But above all, the climax of his football career was the 1990 World Cup in Italy. In the second match against Spain in the group stage, Choi Sun-ho pushed the ball lightly in the second half of the first half and kicked it with his right foot, shaking the opponent’s net. With a speed of 114 km/h, it was the fastest shot recorded in the World Cup up to that time. It was also around this time that the nickname “Cannon Shooter” was attached. General Manager Hwang Bo said, “In fact, there was a similar scene in the Asian final qualifier against Saudi Arabia. Even at that time, I succeeded in a free kick goal with the ball pushed by senior Choi Soon-ho,” he said. “A lot has changed since that goal. Scout offers came from foreign teams, and he rose to stardom in Korea.” Dozens of fan letters poured into the dorm every day, and he twice appeared as a guest on ‘Starry Night’, the most popular radio program at the time.

A cut from a walk in the lake park near the house. Provided by Hwang Bo-gwan, head of headquarters
After failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he moved to Oita Trinita in Japan to take on a new challenge. There, he ushered in the second heyday. After playing as a player in 1996 and 1997, he began his coaching career as a youth club coach, then head coach, and was promoted to manager in 2005. After that, he transformed into a front desk and rose to the position of vice president. In 2008, while serving as vice president, Oita reached the top of the Nabisco Cup.

After returning to Korea, he served as the manager of FC Seoul, and in 2011, he was appointed as the Director of Technical Education of the Korea Football Association and is working as an administrator. He is currently in charge of the technical headquarters, which is a key position in charge of selecting and supporting the national team, nurturing talent such as leaders, and preparing plans to strengthen the competitiveness of Korean football.

He has been living in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province since 2011. It is for easy access to and from Paju, Gyeonggi-do, where the Paju National Soccer Team Training Center, where the association is located, is located.

Even in his hectic schedule, he does not skip health care. When I go to work in Paju, I pull up my commute time by an hour and do weight training and aerobic exercise for about an hour focusing on core exercises. When he usually rests at home, he and his wife walk around the lake park for about an hour.

He kicks a ball at most once a month. He, who has been the OB president of Seoul National University’s soccer team for six years, said, “No matter how simple it may seem, you have to build up your body.” Apart from the monthly soccer game, the Seoul National University soccer team OB and YB have a meeting twice a year, such as in July and November.” While exercising steadily like this, my current weight is about 3kg more than when I was an athlete, and I maintain the latter half of the 70kg range.

Hwang Bo-gwan, general manager, kicks a ball at a charity event. Donga Ilbo DB
Despite being involved in the stressful competitive world for decades, he still maintains a gentle face. Director Hwangbo said, “I didn’t know that either, but these days my daughters say, ‘Daddy is very positive’. When I thought about where that mindset came from, instead of thinking negatively about everything, I was looking for things that could work out. It’s fun to think of a developmental direction for anything and find a way to do it.” These days he is into coffee and wine. And he likes to travel as much as possible.
Hwang Bo-gwan, Head of Headquarters, is on a trip to Positano, Italy. Director Hwang picked Positano as the most memorable travel destination. Provided by Hwang Bo-gwan, head of headquarters
Although he has not been very successful as a director, he is well-received for his upbringing. Head Hwangbo said, “I have a desire to teach children when I return to Yain after finishing my current job. I think it’s something I know best and can do best. I want to make children feel the fun and joy of soccer with the heart of a parent and a grandfather.”

Another future he envisions is to buy a house in Oita, his ‘second hometown’. Oita, Japan’s representative hot spring area, is also famous for golf and food. “When I was vice president of Oita, I played a lot of golf for business. Even now, he said, “I want to have a good time by inviting people who have taken care of me when I get a house in Oita. My last dream is to travel back and forth between Korea and Japan to enjoy my life.”

Hwang Bo-gwan, Head of Headquarters, is on a trip to Jurassic Park, Hawaii, USA. Provided by Hwang Bo-gwan, head of headquarters

Reporter Heonjae Lee [email protected]

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