“Don’t be obsessed with money. Unconditionally go to Europe and challenge the small and medium leagues first.”
These are the words of current and former soccer players about advancing overseas. Park Joo-ho (36, Suwon FC), Yoon Seok-young (33, Gangwon FC), and Kim Min-jae (26, Naples) recently asked their juniors to actively challenge themselves on the European stage through the domestic media. At the same time, he was envious of Japan, which was constantly knocking on the European stage. How are Japan and Korea different when it comes to overseas expansion? I compared it based on the data of ‘Soccerway’, a professional football media.먹튀검증
△ Japan, the number of overseas players and the number of countries where they have entered is high: A total of 418 Japanese players (171 in Korea) have entered overseas regardless of country or continent. Among them, there were 243 Japanese and European players, accounting for 58.13% of the total number of players. This means that 6 out of 10 overseas players are playing in Europe. On the other hand, 82 out of 171 foreign students from Korea are from Europe, accounting for only 47.95%.
While Japan has entered 62 countries, Korea only has 31 countries. According to Soccerway, Japan has players in Albania, Ghana, Argentina, India, Malta, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Serbia, Mongolia, and the United States, but not in Korea.
△ There are many Japanese players even in small and medium-sized countries other than the 5 European countries: Japanese Europeans are active in 28 countries, while Korean Europeans are active in only 19 countries. England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France are called the five major leagues in Europe. There are 94 Japanese players (22% of the total of 418) playing in the big five countries, including all lower leagues. On the other hand, Korea has 50 people, accounting for 29% of the total 171 people. Of course, it can be said that Korean players have good skills, but it is realistic to see that they tend to stick to the big leagues rather than that.
European countries with only Japanese players include the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Malta. The only European countries with only Korean players are the Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Eiji Yoshizaki, a freelance reporter for Japanese soccer, said, “Japanese players actively advance into the European league regardless of country.” Reporter Yoshizaki said, “J-League players go abroad while fighting with Japanese clubs ahead of their contract termination,” and “that’s why the transfer fee is low or almost non-existent.”
△ South Korea, Asia/Middle East strongly concentrated: There are 147 Japanese players playing in Asia, accounting for 35.17% of the total. However, in Korea, more than half (51.46%) are 88. It means that Korean players prefer the Far East, Southeast, and Southwest Asia relatively more than Japanese players. The level of Asian leagues is generally lower than that of Europe. Prestigious clubs in the Southwest Asian League, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, pay huge salaries compared to the league level. In Saudi Arabia, there are only Korean players and no Japanese players. There are three Korean players playing for Qatar, but only one for Japan.
While there are 36 Korean players playing in Japan’s J-League, there are only nine Japanese players playing in Korea’s K-League. The increase in Korean players going to Japan is steeper than the increase in Japanese players coming to Korea. Rather than challenging Europe, Korean players are settling for a ‘comfortable’ league where competition for starting positions is relatively easy and they can earn quite a bit of money.
△ A request for European seniors: Park Joo-ho said, “It is natural to take on a challenge (Europe),” and advised, “Don’t dwell on money and go out unconditionally.” He added, “If you experience (Europe), the way you see football changes.” Kim Min-jae emphasized, “European players run more and have a stronger fighting spirit than Korean players,” and “Korean players need to prepare more mentally.” He urged, “If a proposal comes from a European team, I hope the Korean club will send it well,” and urged, “Just like Japan, which continues to send officials from the soccer world to the big leagues and exchanges, Korean soccer should do the same.” Yoon Seok-young, who made a U-turn to the K-League after passing through Denmark and Japan after advancing directly from Jeonnam to the Premier League Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in 2013, said, “From experience, I think it would be better to advance to Europe step by step.” Step up to the big stage,” he said.