‘General’ Yoon Young-sun returns home to his family

Yoon Young-sun has always had the name of Seongnam FC in his heart. After six years away, Yoon thanked the fans for their hospitality and vowed to help the team win promotion this year.

Seongnam FC announced the signing of Yoon Young-sun on Saturday. Yoon, who played for Jeonbuk Hyundai until last season, was a free agent after his contract expired. Yoon returns to Seongnam after nearly six years since leaving the club in 2018.

Also known by his nickname “General,” which means general, Yoon made his professional debut in 2010 with Seongnam, then known as the Seongnam Ilhwa Cheonhwa. Aside from his time in the military, Yoon played for the club until 2018, winning one Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League title and two FA Cups during the club’s golden era.

His national team experience has made him a household name even for soccer fans unfamiliar with the K League. First called up to the national team under Uli Stielike, Yoon was called up by Shin Tae-yong for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He was part of the “Kazan Miracle,” starting in the third group match against Germany in a game that is still talked about to this day.

Yoon Young-sun, a promising young center back, returned to Seongnam at the age of 35, in the twilight of his career. Seongnam fans met Yoon before the club’s 2024 season kickoff ceremony on Sunday at Seongnam City Hall in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do.

“I’m grateful to be back in Seongnam. From the club president to the coach, I am grateful to those who helped me return to Seongnam in many ways,” he said, starting the interview with his feelings about his return.

Since leaving Seongnam in 2018, Yoon has played for Ulsan Hyundai (now Ulsan HD), FC Seoul, Suwon FC, and Jeonbuk, but Seongnam has always had a special place in his heart. It was the team where he made his professional debut and the team where he spent his heyday.

“I don’t know if Seongnam contacted me first, but I always had the idea that I wanted to spend my last days with Seongnam,” said Yoon. I kept telling my agent about it,” he said, adding that he wanted to play for Seongnam at the end of his career.

Before we interviewed Yoon, we could hear Seongnam fans outside chanting his name. When we brought it up, he said, “I’m so grateful. I didn’t expect to be so welcomed. I checked the fans’ reactions on the club’s social media, but I’m really grateful for the fierce welcome on the field.”

He also said, “There are definitely a lot of fans who are nostalgic for the old Seongnam. I’m really grateful to the old fans,” he said, adding, “I’m still in a position to prove myself as a player. I will try my best to see the fans at the stadium and prepare for the promotion we are aiming for,” he said.

During Yoon’s time away, a lot has changed at Seongnam. Starting with the owner and CEO, the head coach, the coaching staff, and most of the players have changed. The clubhouse (Seongnam Football Center) was built, and the commute to work was changed from Tancheon to Jeongju.

“Everything has changed, from my accommodation to my commute. It’s hard to adjust. There are no players I was with when I played for Seongnam before, except for (Cho) Sung-wook. I think it’s natural to change because times have changed. I can only adapt to the team,” he laughed.

After six years, Seongnam is a completely different 토토 team, and while it’s technically a comeback, Yoon is like a new player for the club. Now it’s Yoon’s turn to adapt to the team.

He said it was important to get close to the players in order to adapt. “I know a few players, but I don’t think the younger players will be able to approach me easily because of the age difference. I think I need to make the first move and try to make them feel comfortable with me,” he said, adding that he will try to get closer to younger players.

The players Yoon mentions are also his competition. Even if you’re from Seongnam and are an experienced veteran, competition is a process you have to go through. Yoon was ready for it, but as the most senior player, he also wanted to help the younger players outside of the game.

This was possible because they had a clear goal of promotion. “No matter which team you go to, there is competition,” Yoon said, “but if we can get promoted regardless of who plays or not, I would like to help a lot as a senior. This year, I plan to focus on that aspect.”

We asked him about his current physical condition. Yoon replied, “I don’t have any pain, and I played almost all the games for Jeonbuk’s B team last season, so I don’t think you need to worry about my physical condition. However, after the season ended (I became a free agent), I had a long hiatus, and I’m worried about that. I joined the team yesterday, so I think I can slowly build up my body.”

At the event, Yoon was the last of the players to enter the venue. The club organized the event so that he could receive a warm welcome from the fans after returning to Seongnam after a long absence.

When Yoon’s name was called, the Seongnam fans chanted even louder. Some fans even brought Yoon’s old jersey. It was a great way for the fans to see what kind of player Yoon Young-sun is.


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