The popularity of “Papa Park” (his nickname) remains strong.
The former Vietnam national soccer team coach’s connection to the country continues. He launched the Park Hang Seo International Football Academy, which is named after him, to lay the groundwork for the development of soccer in Vietnam.
Park is a national hero in Vietnam. In 2017, he was named head coach of the Vietnam national soccer team and the U-23 national team. The following year, the team reached the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship for the first time.
It was a remarkable five years. In 2018, he led Vietnam to its first Mitsubishi Cup (then Suzuki Cup) title in a decade. At the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA), Vietnam won its first trophy in 60 years. In 2020, he won his second consecutive SEA title at home. Since then, Vietnam has experienced “Park Hang Seo fever.
The country’s first-ever quarterfinal appearance at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang and final qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar helped propel Vietnamese soccer from the fringes of Asia. In 2016, the team was ranked 134th in the FIFA rankings, but under Park, the team broke into the top 100. He left Vietnam in January after the team finished as runners-up at the Mitsubishi Cup. Under Park, Vietnam has become a force to be reckoned with in Southeast Asia.
He had a strong bond with his players. Despite the language barrier, Park was constantly reaching out to connect with his players. He consoled injured players and apologized to those who couldn’t play, and his humanized approach earned him support beyond that of a coach.
Vietnam made sure he was treated like a hero. Vietnam Airlines offered Park free tickets for life. The Vietnamese government awarded him three medals. His popularity grew, he appeared in several commercials, and a book and documentary film were released about him.
The effect of Park Hang-seo has spread beyond Vietnam to Southeast Asia. The Korean leadership craze has led to many directors taking the helm. Kim Pangon (Malaysia) and Shin Tae-yong (Indonesia) are still working on it.
Expanding soccer in Vietnam
Under the slogan “Children are the future of society,” the new youth academy is the first advanced youth system in Vietnam to collaborate with schools and educational facilities. Starting from primary school, the Academy aims to expand the base of soccer in Vietnam and allow Vietnamese children to experience and learn the game. A key objective is to transplant an advanced youth soccer system to Vietnam.
“We hope that the Academy will open up a new and strong grassroots soccer horizon in Vietnam,” said Park. “We named it the International Academy in the hope that it will break out of the Vietnamese mold and become internationally competitive,” he said. “I believe that Vietnam can only be at the top of Asia and the world if it becomes internationally competitive. I think such a system will lead to the development of Vietnamese soccer.” 카지노