Park Jin-seop’s life-changing story continues with emotional A-Match debut

It’s a life-changing moment.

Park Jin-seop (28, North Korea) made his dream A-match debut. Park took the field in the 45th minute of the second leg of the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Zone 2 qualifier against China at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China on June 21. It was an emotional A-match debut. It was an emotional moment for Park, even if he didn’t make much of an impact.

Park earned his first call-up to the national team in an A match. The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on the 16th that it had ruled out Hong Hyun-seok (Hent) due to injury and named Park Jin-seop as his replacement. The KFA said, ‘Before the official training on the 15th, Hong Hyun-seok felt discomfort in his left shin area, and after examination, it was determined to be a small fatigue fracture,’ adding, ‘Although it is not a serious injury, the medical team’s judgment that initial management is important in the case of a fatigue fracture, so we decided to exclude him for prevention and rest. He will be released from the squad after the Singapore match. Head coach Jürgen Klinsmann immediately looked for a replacement for Hong Hyun-seok and selected Park Jin-seob. Park joined the national team on the night of the 15th.

Park Jin-seop is having an unforgettable 2023. He was selected as a wild card at the Hangzhou Asian Games. It was his first Taeguk mark. Having never represented his country at any age group before, Park anchored the backline of the Asian Games team as a center back and helped them win the gold medal. Less than two months later, he was called up to the A team.

Park was a complete unknown. The Seoul Institute of Culture and Arts graduate was the top scorer in the U-League twice, earning him a chance to play professionally, but that was cut short when former Daejeon coach Choi Moon-sik left the team. After trying out for the K3 League, Park tried out for the National League’s Daejeon Corridor Rail. He didn’t give up. After playing quietly for Daejeon Corridor, Park joined the Ansan Greeners of the K League 2 in 2019. After showing good form, Park moved to the Daejeon Hana Citizens in 2020.

Park Jin-seop was named the 2021 K League 2 Best 11 Midfielder after his Altoran-like performance in Daejeon as a defensive midfielder and central 토토 defender. Finally, he made it to the K League 1 stage of his dreams. In 2021, he wore the jersey of the league’s strongest team, Jeonbuk Hyundai. After being encouraged by former coach Kim Sang-sik to switch to center back, he burst onto the scene. In 2022, Park was named one of the best 11 defenders in the K League 1. This was the moment when Park, who played in the National League, became the best player in the K League 1.

It didn’t end there. Park fulfilled his dream of representing Korea at the Asian Games. He finally made it to the national team and made his A-match debut. From unknown to K-League 1’s top player to Asian Games wildcard to the A team and A-match debut, Park’s drama is ongoing.

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