Father and son aim for big success in soccer this yearLast year was perhaps the best year for soccer coach Cha Bum-kun, 50, and his son Doo-ri, 23.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings coach Cha saw his team crowned K-league champions, and the younger Cha helped the national team beat Germany in a friendly match last month.
Cha Bum-kun’s wife, Oh Eum-mi, gazed warmly and lovingly at her husband and son as they spoke to reporters.
“Son, you need to score more goals,” the older Cha said.
“Dad, I scored two goals last year,” his son replied.
“Son, I managed at least eight goals even when I was in a slump,” the father shot back.
Unlike in his heyday as a player, Cha has had a few ups and many downs as coach.
Cha coached the national team during the 1998 World Cup games in France, but was dismissed during the event after Korea lost to the Netherlands, 0-5.
Then, he was disqualified from coaching for five years by the Korea Football Association for making allegations that professional soccer teams in Korea fixed their scores.
In 1998 and 1999, Cha took over Chinese soccer team Shenzen Pingan, but the team was at the bottom of the rankings.
“I felt the hard feelings I had melt away,” Cha said. “As a human being, I feel pain, but everyone has rainy days at some point.” He added, “By gaining more experience, I became more mature and skillful as a coach.”
Speaking of the friendly match in which Korea beat Germany 3-1, Cha brightened up a little more.
“Did you see how Doo-ri was playing? I felt that he had surely made progress,” Cha observed.
“He improved in running past the defense and fighting for the ball.”
The younger Cha plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
“My role is to make moves and unsettle the line of defense rather than to shoot,” Doo-ri said.
“During the friendly match, I broke through the right side of the goal box and produced opportunities for the offense.”
During an away match in Vietnam last September for the second Asian preliminaries for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the younger Cha wore No. 11 on his back, which was the old number his father wore.
“Watching Doo-ri wearing No. 11 and playing was inspiring,” said coach Cha.
“Other people said it was like watching me in my heyday or that my son is even faster than I was.”
The circumstances in which the father and son began playing soccer are very different.
The elder Cha was born in a rural area, Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, and spent some time in track and field, as well as playing hockey.
Doo-ri was born in Germany and learned how to play soccer on Bayer Leverkusen’s youth team.
When Doo-ri followed his father and came back to Korea, he had a difficult time because of the pressure of being the son of one of the greatest soccer players in Korea and the Spartan style of soccer training here.
The younger Cha became more mature, however. “I will be compared to my father as long as I play,” Doo-ri noted.
“I do appear to lack certain skills compared to my father. But what’s important is that I play soccer because I like it. I try to concentrate on every game.”
Asked what their wishes were for the year, the elder Cha said, “I hope the World Cup stadium in Suwon will be full sometime. “I want to make the Suwon Samsung Bluewings one of the best soccer clubs in the world.”
“The World Cup games will be held in Germany, where I was born,” the younger Cha said.
“Of course, I want to play for the national team in the World Cup. I hope I can score more goals for my team.”
by Jeong Young-jae
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