“The current players are the ones who grew up with his help.”
The miracle that ‘Vietnam Papa’ Park Hang-seo, 64, has wrought in Vietnam is still a work in progress. Hoang Ang Thuan, the head coach of Vietnam’s U-18 national team, is also grateful.
The 2023 Seoul EOU Cup U-18 Youth Tournament, featuring the U-18 national teams of four countries – South Korea, Ukraine, Morocco and Vietnam – will be held at the Mokdong Sports Complex main stadium in Seoul. Over the course of three days, on the 10th, 12th, and 15th, the four nations will play a full league format, with each team playing one match to determine the overall winner. The roster for the tournament includes top prospects from each country born after 2005.
Speaking at the EOU Cup media day on September 9, Head Coach Hoang Ang Thuan said, “This will be a valuable tournament for our young players. It’s a great opportunity to play against teams from other continents. “Our level is a little lower than other teams, but we want to cause an ‘upset’,” said head coach Ang Thuan, adding that he hopes the players and coaching staff will grow.
Vietnam’s rise as a Southeast Asian soccer powerhouse has long been characterized by a strong focus on youth development. Philippe Trousier, the current head coach of the Vietnam A team, also coached the U-18 and U-19 national teams for two years starting in 2019. The growth of youth soccer in Vietnam is largely due to the influence of Park Hang Seo. Park took the helm of Vietnam in September 2017 and led the team for nearly six years. He has worked to develop not only the A team, but also youth soccer in general.
Hoang Ang Thuan said, “Since Park’s arrival, Vietnamese soccer has changed a lot. First, before Park’s arrival, Vietnam competed with other Southeast Asian countries. But after he came, our goals changed. Now we are looking at Asia,” he said, adding that the team has achieved many achievements, including many championships.
Hoang Ang Thuan added, “Not only that, but Coach Park has also promoted the growth of Vietnamese players. He changed a lot from the basics. Through this, many players have grown. The players in this tournament also grew up with the help of Mr. Park.” He added, “Coach Park is still in Vietnam and is helping us a lot. He is still giving us good advice and motivating our coaching staff. We are very grateful.”
Since taking charge of the Vietnamese national team, Park has made a lot of history. Most notably, he led Vietnam to the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Football Championship (Mitsubishi Cup) title. It was the first time in 10 years that Vietnam had won the Mitsubishi Cup. The team also won gold medals at the 2019 and 2022 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Under Park’s leadership, Vietnam also qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It was the first time Vietnam had ever qualified for the final round of the World Cup.
He also coached the Vietnam U-23 national team to a runner-up finish at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship and a quarterfinal appearance at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang.
Park ended his tenure with the Vietnamese national team at the Mitsubishi Cup in January this year. In his final tournament, he led Vietnam to a runner-up finish.바카라
‘A Vietnamese hero’ Players who grew up watching Park take part in the tournament, gaining valuable experience for the future of Vietnamese soccer. Vietnam included two players as young as 2007 in the tournament. In addition to their performance, the team also paid attention to their development. Coach Hoang Ang Thuan said, “We are looking forward to playing against opponents from Korea and Europe. “We are proud to participate in this tournament and respect all the teams. I hope the matches will go smoothly and end without any injuries.”
Speaking on behalf of the tournament organizers, Mr. Thanh Quoc Thuan, President of the Vietnam Football Association, said: “It is a great honor to participate in the meaningful EOU Cup in Korea, a country with a strong football tradition. International competitions of national teams of different ages are very helpful for young players to develop. I hope there will be more such tournaments in the future.”
Meanwhile, Vietnam will face Morocco in their first match on Tuesday. They will face Ukraine on the 12th, and will play their final match of the tournament against South Korea on the 15th.