Park Ji-sung continues his philanthropy in retirement

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Park Ji-sung continues his philanthropy in retirement

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Retired football player Park Ji-sung, 33, smiles at a press conference for the K-league All Star on July 17 in central Seoul. [NEWSIS]

Park Ji-sung, the Korean football hero, on Tuesday became the 555th member of the Honor Society, a club of large-scale donors for the Community Chest of Korea.

Those who donate 100 million won ($97,133) are entitled to membership. The 33-year-old retired athlete became the seventh sports figure in the club, presenting 100 million won to the Community Chest at its compound in Jung District, central Seoul.

Park has long been enthusiastic about his philanthropic work. In 2010, he established the JSFC, a football center for youths, and the JS Foundation, a charitable foundation that provides services and facilities to football organizations in and outside Korea and that nurtures young football players.

He has held the Asian Dream Cup every year with the foundation since 2011 to support children who want to play football. The first event was held in Vietnam, and subsequently hosted in Thailand in 2012, China in 2013 and Indonesia this year.

In addition, Park has provided scholarships to talented college-bound students since 2012.

“After thinking about how to return the love I received during my career, I decided to donate,” he said. “Sharing is the first step in making everybody happy. I hope the money goes to those in need and gives them hope and the chance to dream.”

Park gained recognition during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan, playing on the Korean national team led by Dutch manager Guus Hiddink.

His goal in the group match against Portugal, which led the team to the next round, is still one of the best sports moments in Korea.

After announcing his retirement on May 14, the 33-year-old played his last game at the 2014 K-League All Star Game yesterday with Team Park Ji-sung.

BY KIM JI-HAN [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]




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