It’s only been a month since his arrest. I still don’t know what’s what. I only hear the occasional story that trickles through the Chinese media, and because of the secrecy and asymmetry of information, I don’t know much. All I know is that he’s been detained in China on bribery charges. That’s where the story of Junho Son (31, Taishan, Shandong) stops.
Son Junho was with South Korea in a friendly match against Uruguay in March. (Photo: Yonhap)
But his soccer story continues. He was included in the roster for the national soccer team’s June trials. Naturally, he couldn’t make it to the national team’s call-up day, but they kept his name on the roster. It’s probably the first time in the history of the national team that they kept a player on the roster who couldn’t be called up, so it’s symbolic.메이저놀이터
Son Jun-ho engages in an aerial ball fight during the World Cup Round of 16 match between Brazil and Qatar (Photo: Yonhap)
Klinsmann said that by keeping Son on the roster, he wanted to show that “our soccer is in this together,” which is basically a sign of solidarity. It’s a show of support for a player who we don’t know what he’s done wrong, and if he’s done anything wrong, we need to ask if it’s clear. It’s also a way of saying that it’s hard to fully accept the unilateral detention of an athlete by the Chinese government, and that no matter what the suspicion of a crime, Son should be able to fully use that defense.
Klinsmann knew Son was unavailable, but he didn’t take him off the roster. (Photo: Yonhap)
In that sense, Klinsmann must have felt that Korean soccer needed to remember Son Jun-ho, and he did so by including him in the national team roster. And by keeping his name on the roster until the end, even though he knew he would be unavailable, he sent an additional message.
The national soccer team convened in Busan to show solidarity for Son Jun-ho, who could not be with them (Photo: Yonhap)
Klinsmann was the first coach to use his power to select players for the national team for something other than soccer: to remember Son.
Soccer isn’t just about winning. It’s also about the applause at the moment of defeat. What people notice is whether the soccer is attractive. With Son, Klinsmann may be bringing out a little more of what soccer can do.
The South Korean national team has been called up with the best of the best, including Lee Kang-in and Hwang Hee-chan. (Photo: Yonhap)
In the hot month of June, South Korean soccer will face Peru (June 16) and El Salvador (June 20). The team will feature the best of the best, from Son Heung-min to Lee Kang-in to Hwang Hee-chan.