After leading professional soccer’s Ulsan Hyundai to a second consecutive K League 1 title and a second consecutive coach’s award, Hong Myung-bo (54) expressed his joy, saying that he didn’t expect to win the award this year and that it was like a “bonus.
Speaking at a press conference after the 2023 K League 1 Grand Award Ceremony held at Lotte Hotel World in Songpa-gu, Seoul on Thursday, Hong said, “I received the award last year, so I didn’t expect much this year. I thought there would be no problem if another director received it,” he said, adding, “For me, it feels like a bonus.” He smiled.
At the ceremony, Hong was named the best coach in K League 1 this year.
Hong, who led Ulsan to the K League title last year after a 17-year absence, became the best coach in his second year as a domestic professional coach.
Hong, who reiterated that he did not expect the award, said, “Lee Jung-hyo (Gwangju), Kim Ki-dong (Pohang), and Cho Sung-hwan (Incheon) are all promising coaches. I didn’t think it would be strange if any of them won the award,” he said, adding, “I think they will continue to receive awards one day.”
In his acceptance speech, Hong made a special mention of his fellow coaches.
“When I go to a soccer field, there are only two people who don’t know soccer that everyone in the crowd knows, and they are the managers of both teams. The winning coach is fine, but the losing coach gets all the arrows. It’s a very lonely job,” he said of the camaraderie.
“It’s a high-pressure position,” he said, “but I want to share this award with leaders and coaches who dream of the future.
“It’s my way of showing my personal respect for the coaches who are in the field now and the young leaders who are starting out,” Hong said.
In the process of winning back-to-back titles, Hong must have felt the ‘loneliness’ and overcome it.
“This year’s ‘SNS incident’ and Park Yong-woo’s transfer were turning points for the team, and I thought we were going more negative than positive, so I had a lot of thoughts about what to do,” Hong said.
“Personally, I thought I had a lot of experience, but it was good for me to have new experiences this year. I think we handled the difficult and important points in a wise way,” he said, “and I think the accumulation of those points and the results will be a great experience for our team and the coaching staff, including me.”
In addition to Hong, Kim Young-kwon won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and Ulsan enjoyed a bountiful harvest with five players in the season’s Best 11.
Now, Hong and Ulsan must begin preparing for their third consecutive K League 1 title.
“I think other teams will come in strongly to stop our championship challenge, and whether we can overcome them or not will make the difference,” Hong said encouragingly. 토토사이트