Park Ji-Sung is probably the best known Korean footballer in the world. Yet, interestingly, he’s never played professional football in Korea. His road to soccer stardom has been an interesting one, traveling through and finding success in three countries.
Ji-Sung was born Feb. 25, 1981, and grew up in Suwon (which is where our son was born), and while still in high school was told by many professional teams that at 5-feet, 9-inches, he was too short to make it. Undeterred, Ji-Sung played at Myongi University for one year before being signed by a professional team in Japan. After a successful 2002 World Cup appearance (helping Korea to its best finish yet), Ji-Sung signed with a Dutch professional team. After a short time with the Dutch team, although a successful stint, Ji-Sung signed on with Manchester United, arguably the most famous soccer team anywhere.
Despite early thoughts that he couldn’t make it in professional soccer, Ji-Sung has enjoyed much success. Currently he’s serving as captain of the South Korean team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He’s the first Asian to score in three consecutive World Cups. And he’s signed with Manchester United through 2012, where he’s become an important part of the team.
If you’re interested, it’s relatively easy to find Manchester United merchandise with Park Ji-Sung on it including posters and replica jerseys.