Ask Yunsang Hong about Kim Ki-dong, Ko Young-joon, and Grillisi
Hong Yun-sang looks back on the events of this winter.
The media camp press conference for the 2024 K League Baseball Winter Training Camp was held at the Pareve Hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, on Jan. 5. This season, Pohang, under new head coach Park Tae-ha, will complete their first training camp in Hanoi, Vietnam, before continuing their second training camp in Jeju.
Hong Yun-sang joined Pohang at the end of last season and after a short period of adjustment, he performed well with three goals and one assist in 17 games, most notably scoring a late stoppage-time winner in the FA Cup final against Jeonbuk Hyundai to give Pohang its first title in 10 years.
This year, Hong is expected to be a valuable resource for both his club and age-group national teams. In Pohang, he has already been promoted to the semi-state level and will continue to play this season. He has also been called up to the U23 national team, which is aiming for the Paris Olympics, and was part of the team’s training camp in Turkuye.
At the media camp, Hong Yun-sang received the most attention among the Pohang players. Having just returned from a training camp in Turqueye, he was bombarded with questions from the media, and after wittily responding to Lingard’s transfer to FC Seoul with a flute ceremony, Hong Yun-sang also gave some great answers about Pohang’s departed coach Kim Ki-dong and his hairstyle, which resembles Go Young-joon and Jack Grealish.
One of the reasons Hong Yun-sang returned to Pohang last season was coach Kim. Kim has a reputation for using the right players at the right time to get the most out of them. It’s well known that when Hong Yun-sang arrived in Korea last summer, he didn’t rush him and gave him enough time to find his confidence.
That’s why Kim’s move to Seoul came as a shock. “Honestly, it was because of Kim Ki-dong that I came back to Pohang, but I didn’t think he would actually go,” Hong Yoon-sang said, adding, “When I asked my friend’s dad or (Kim) Jun-ho, he kept saying he didn’t know, but eventually I heard about it through the news.
“Now I understand everything, but we haven’t been in touch with each other. Hong Yun-sang himself has been busy training with Turkkiye, and Kim has connections in Pohang, so there may be opportunities to meet in the future. On April 13, the two teams will meet for the first time in Seoul.
Instead of contacting Kim directly, Hong Yun-sang said he hopes to score against him to get an answer. “I’ll ask him with a goal,” he said of his secret transfer, “and if I score, I’ll get an answer at the press conference. I’ll do my best to make that happen,” he said, adding that he would lead Pohang to a victory over Seoul to force Kim to say something about him.
Hong Yun-sang isn’t the only teammate to leave this winter. Ko Young-joon, who has been a constant companion for both the club and national team, moved to Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian League last month. As a result, he and Hong Yun-sang had to leave the U23 national team after attending the training camp in Turkuye.
Fortunately, Hong said he knew about Ko’s transfer from the beginning. “(Go) told me about his brother’s transfer from the beginning. I also told him from the perspective of going overseas anyway. I know he’ll do well, so I’m sad but I have to let him go,” he said, showing a mature parting of ways.
As a player who had experienced Europe first, Hong Yun-sang was confident that Ko would succeed. Hong signed a loan deal with Wolfsburg in 2021 at the age of 17, and half a year later, he completed a full transfer. After a period of adjustment, he performed well in Nurnberg’s second team in the 2022-2023 season with seven goals and nine assists in 26 games before returning to Pohang in the summer of 2023.
Hong Yun-sang believes that Go Young-joon will also adapt successfully to Europe: “Of course, it’s hard and difficult abroad, but he has nothing to be afraid of and 토토 he can do it. I think he can do it with his talent and potential. Now I’m getting calls from people saying, ‘I heard that kids can’t play, but he’s too good,’ but he’s a very good player, so I think he’ll do well if he adjusts a little bit,” he said.
Go Young-joon’s move to Partizan also sparked Hong Yun-sang’s desire to return to Europe. When asked if watching him made him want to go back to Europe, he replied, “Yes. If I get the chance, I’m open to going back,” he said.
Hong Yun-sang made an impression on soccer fans last season when he wore his hair slicked back with a hairband. His style resembled that of Jack Grealish, who traveled with Manchester City on their European trek, and in fact, Hong looks up to Grealish as an on-field role model.
At the media camp, he participated in the interview with bangs and a somewhat subdued look. She also revealed that she’s still considering her hairstyle ahead of the profile, which means she’ll be playing the season without a headband if possible.
Of course, she’s had a good season with a headband, so she may bring it back as a sort of talisman. “I’d like to take it off and go for a different look,” she said, “but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll put it back on,” she smiled.
She’s still thinking about what to do with her new hairstyle. “I have a few options right now and I’m trying to decide if I want to dye my hair or let it grow out a little bit,” he said, referring directly to the bridge, which dyes only part of his hair.
Of course, the soccer player doesn’t spend all day thinking about her hairstyle. Hong Yoon-sang’s interest in hairstyles is ultimately to further showcase his individuality. “I’m thinking about a lot of other things besides my hairstyle. I’m always thinking about becoming a more unique player,” she explained. With a dribbling tempo as unique as his hairstyle last season, it’s worth looking forward to what Hong Yoon-sang will do with his hair and playing style next season.