By Lee Kyung-heon Reporter= The ground hardens after the rain. The hot tears shed by ‘Legend’ Jeong-woon (34) are hardening the ground for Jeju United (hereafter referred to as Jeju), who are suffering from the disappointment of missing out on the FA Cup final.
Jeju’s hopes of reaching the final were dashed on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when they lost a nail-biting penalty shootout against Pohang in the FA Cup quarterfinals at Jeju World Cup Stadium. It was Jeju’s first FA Cup final appearance in 19 years, since 2004, but the club’s journey to the summit ended in the quarterfinals. For Jeju, who were looking to bounce back from their recent league struggles and reach the ACL, it was a tough loss.레모나토토 주소
The players recognized this more than anyone else, and when the final whistle blew, they all shed tears. The player who shed the most tears was Jeong-woon, who had shared the ups and downs with Jeju and its fans for the longest time. It’s been eight years in Jeju. With Lee Chang-min (military enlistment) and Ahn Hyun-beom (transfer to Jeonbuk) leaving the team, Jeong-woon is the player who has been protecting Jeju for the longest time. Therefore, the meaning and resonance of his tears are unique.
Jeong-woon’s affection for Jeju is unique. In May 2018, he left Gimpo Citizens’ Football Club for military service, but when Jeju was relegated to K League 2 the following year, he was more upset than anyone. Having witnessed the relegation from the sidelines, Jung-woon came back from the military and led the team through the crisis, winning the K League 2 title and bringing Jeju back to the top division.
He is so sincere about his life in Jeju that he often says, “If I have something to do in Jeju, I want to keep living here.” The people are great and the environment itself is so good. Not only does he speak Jeju, but his family also speaks the dialect. In fact, Jung-woon even uses Jeju language on his social media.
He also sacrifices and dedicates himself to the team. In order to diversify the team’s tactical operations, he changed his position from a top-level wingback to a left stopper. Despite his physical disadvantage of 180 cm and 76 kg, he made up for it with clever positioning and man-to-man defense. He also served as a mental anchor. When the team faltered in the second half of the 2022 season, he donned the captain’s armband himself to hold the team together in times of crisis.
The aforementioned is another way of saying that Jeong-woon has a responsibility to uphold. Jeju has struggled this season. Their league standings have plummeted to 9th place, far from the shadow of the relegation zone, and head coach Nam Ki-il left the team. Jeong-woon also felt a special responsibility. On Saturday, October 28, he scored a dramatic equalizer in the last minute of the game against Gangwon (1-1 draw) and was all smiles.
That’s why the weight of responsibility he felt in the FA Cup was different. Even in the most pressurized penalty shootout, he took the first kick, so he was only thinking about the team, his teammates, and the fans, which was really hard, but he beat himself up even more. However, the result was a disappointing defeat. Tears welled up in Jung-woon’s eyes. He sat down and sobbed for a long time, unable to leave the field easily.
“I feel more responsible when the team is struggling,” he said afterward. Being on the team for so long gave me a sense of mission, so I felt responsible and tried to do better. I’m really sorry and sad that we couldn’t give the fans a win. I don’t want to disappoint them anymore. Today I shed some tears, but tomorrow I will shed more sweat. The trials will make us stronger. I want to make my fans happy every moment from now on.”
True to his words, Jeong’s tears were an inspiration to the team. Acting head coach Chung Jo Gook said, “I think the players have also grown up after going through such a big game. It is said that the ground hardens after the rain. The tears shed by Jung Un will make us stronger, and the flowers of hope will bloom. I want to say thank you to the athletes who played with all their might.” Just like the tears of Jeong-woon and the words of acting head coach Chung Jo-guk, a new flower of hope is blooming in Jeju.