Former Vietnamese national team manager Park Hang-seo opened a youth football academy in Vietnam on Wednesday as he looks to improve the country’s youth football system.
Launched under the slogan of “The youth is society’s future,” the Park Hang Seo International Football Academy will work with Vietnamese schools and educational facilities in order to develop young footballers.
The launch of the academy was the culmination of plans Park first started working on when he was in charge of the Vietnamese national team from September 2017 through earlier this year.
“Advanced Asian football countries have a developed academy football system in which pro youth teams compete with academy football in a fair manner and develop mutually,” Park, who is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Vietnamese football, said during a launch ceremony held at the Press Club in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday. “Since Vietnam is lacking the development of academy football, I hope that the Park Hang Seo International Football Academy will open a pathway to new and strong football for Vietnam.”
Park resigned as manager in January this year after five years at the helm of the Vietnamese national team and its U-23 team, during which he saw unprecedented success.
He won the AFF Suzuki Cup with the national team and two South Asian Games with the U-23 team. Even in his last year in charge, he took the national team to the 2023 AFF Championship final and finished as runners-up.
Over five successful years with Vietnam, Park elevated Vietnamese football to a significantly higher level, lifting the country’s FIFA ranking from below 130 to the low 90s.
He received a number of honors thanks to his accomplishments, including being conferred as a member of the Vietnamese Friendship Order and receiving both third and second-class Vietnamese Labor Order honors, in addition to a lifetime ticket to fly on Korea-Vietnam routes operated by Vietnam Airlines.
His football relationship with Vietnam will still continue through the academy.
“I think that Vietnam needs to have international competitiveness in order to reach the apogee of Asia and get to the international level,” Park said. “I will create a foreign exchange program through which youth players can play overseas more. I think this will surely lead to the development of Vietnamese football.”
Park has not taken a managerial role since his resignation in January, although he said earlier this year that he intends to continue his managerial career, if there is an opportunity from a country besides Korea and Vietnam.
BY PAIK JI-HWAN [email@example.com]