Jeong Ho-yeon, “Please spray some water on the field during training,” despite winning streak

Jung Ho-yeon (23, Gwangju FC) has garnered attention for asking his club to improve poor facilities.

The midfielder scored the second goal in Gwangju FC’s 3-0 home win over Hana Citizen in the 25th round of the Hana One Q K League 2023 at Gwangju Football Stadium on Thursday.

Jeong, who started as a central midfielder, scored his second goal in the 13th minute of the first half after his team took a 1-0 lead. Jung wasted no time in finishing with his left foot after Uhm Ji Sung broke inside the left box and crossed to him in front of the goal. Second goal of the season.

After growing up in the Gwangju youth team, Jung Ho-yeon graduated from Dankook University and has been playing for the club since 2022. After scoring one goal (and four assists) in 36 games last season, he has already scored two goals this season, showing clear improvement.

In a post-match broadcast interview, Jung thanked the fans, saying, “Thank you for always coming to the stadium and giving us strength, no matter how bad or good we are doing.” But he really wanted to say something else.

But he had something else he wanted to say. After asking for permission to say something to the club, Jung Ho-yeon said, “The sports field is very poor. There is a risk of injury because we train without water and the ground is dry,” he said, emphasizing, “If you can help us, I hope that Gwangju will become a team that can develop further and face a higher level.”

Gwangju won the K-League 2 title last season and earned promotion to the K-League 1 this season. This comes just one season after they were relegated from the K League 1 in 2021.

The Gwangju club does not have proper training facilities due to the lack of subsidies from the city government. The team is also struggling to attract sponsors, which has left them living on a shoestring.

The club’s owner, Gwangju Mayor Kang Ki-jeong, promised to support the club after winning the K League 2 title. However, there seems to be little support. According to Chung, the K1 team is not able to train properly.

The club has been criticized for its poor training facilities on several occasions. However, the situation hasn’t improved. The team uses three training fields, one each of natural and artificial turf at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium and the Gwangju Football Center, but they are not able to use them properly.

The Gwangju Football Stadium is only used for matches due to the maintenance of the turf, and the Gwangju Football Center, which opened in March 2020 on the site of the former Yeomju Yanggungjang, is reportedly difficult to use when it rains due to drainage problems.

Even when it stops raining in the middle of summer, the waterlogged grass suffers from necrosis. The artificial turf field, which is used by both the professional and youth teams, is also in poor condition.

As a result, the team is forced to train indoors when it rains. It’s impossible for both the main squad and prospective players to train properly indoors. In a recent 안전놀이터 press conference, Gwangju head coach Lee Jung-hyo said, “It’s difficult to develop players because we don’t have a sports field.”

Gwangju has already won its third promotion. The players managed to get a result despite the poor conditions. With the win, Gwangju moved up to fourth place in the standings. Even the merchandise of the team’s unique head coach, Lee Jung-hyo, is making its presence felt. The crowd is following suit, with the highest sales in the club’s history.

As a top-ranked club in the Korean professional soccer league, players should be able to focus on their game through training. However, it’s frustrating that the players have publicly complained about the training facilities, and it’s hard to imagine the extent of the poor training facilities.

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