“Thank you to Colin Bell and everyone who supported us. We will come back in the best condition with a good team.” Yoon Young-geul is a goalkeeper who has represented Korea’s women’s soccer along with ‘current legend’ Kim Jeong-mi (Hyundai Steel). Equipped with a field player’s build-up ability, quickness, strong mentality and solid physicality, she was the main gatekeeper of Gyeongju Hansuwon in the WK League. Ahead of the Women’s World Cup in 2023, she was determined to further enhance her competitiveness by facing strong European forwards. However, she decided to return home early as the local training environment was not as good as she thought and she was not given the opportunity to participate as she had promised. Since the WK league was in full swing, she could not join a team with a fixed goalkeeper lineup, so she went through rigorous individual training alone without her team. Colin Bell, the coach of the women’s national soccer team A, who believed in and wrote Yoon Young’s writings even before her commanding debut, volunteered to be her personal coach and provided her with a training ground and supported her physically and mentally. Ahead of the New Zealand away A match in November last year, she directly guided Yun Young-geul’s training with coach Matt Ross in the Paju NFC. Manager Bell, who cherishes FA Yoon Young-geul’s talent and soccer passion more than anyone else, spread word of mouth to European women’s soccer clubs and supported the ‘find a team’, and right after the Lunar New Year holiday, ‘Happy Calls’ flew in. The contract with BK Heken of Sweden was concluded.
Yoon Yeong-geul (36), the national team goalkeeper for women’s soccer in Korea, will challenge the Swedish league in the ‘Year of the Women’s World Cup’. From the new year, Yoon Young-geul will play for BK (Volkruben) Heken, a prestigious women’s soccer club in Sweden (FIFA ranking 3rd). Her contract runs until the 2023 FIFA World Cup Australia-New Zealand, which kicks off in July.
BK Hecken is the strongest club in the Swedish women’s soccer league based in Gothenburg, the capital of Sweden. Sweden, which has participated in all nine Women’s World Cups, is ranked third in the FIFA rankings after the United States and Germany, and is a women’s soccer powerhouse that won silver medals at the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is a strong team that does not miss the 1st or 2nd place of the season. Goalkeeper Jennifer Falk (29), who will be Yoon Young-geul’s teammate, is the goalkeeper of the Swedish national team.
In an interview after the transfer was confirmed, Yoon Young-geul said, “I had a lot of worries while I was an independent. Coach Bell paid a lot of attention. He also gave me goalkeeper training in Paju. You took care of me so meticulously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he bowed his head. He said, “I’m ready to give my all for the coach. This transfer was also decided only by looking at the World Cup.” He said, “The contract period was until the World Cup, and I didn’t ask for any other conditions. I only thought of a competitive environment where I could maintain my best body condition until the World Cup.”
“I don’t know how many games I can play, but competing with good Swedish goalkeepers and training with good players is a big learning in itself,” he said. “My goal is only the World Cup. I want to continue to grow while hitting my body through training, and I want to help the team by participating in the World Cup in the best condition,” he said with strength. He also clearly stated his goal for the World Cup. “Most of us aim for the round of 16, but Coach Bell is looking at a higher place. We also want to go beyond the round of 16 and go higher.”
For ‘veteran goalkeeper’ Yoon Young-geul, the French Women’s World Cup four years ago is a painful memory. While preparing for the World Cup ambitiously with the best skills, he suffered an unexpected knee injury and fell off the horse. At the age of 36, the opportunity of the World Cup, which I decided to challenge after twists and turns, is even more precious. Yoon Young-geul said, “I am in better shape than I was four years ago. If given a chance, I am confident. We will meet FIFA 2nd place Germany in the group stage. It can be pushed back, but if the goalkeeper protects it well, we will never lose. We will definitely repay coach Bell’s trust and I want to,” he said, eyes shining. Right before leaving the country, Yun Young-geul visited high school juniors who were training with his senior and mentor, director Hwang In-seon, in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. There, I also met Sangmu and coach Lee Mi-young, who is in training. “The encouragement from senior coaches was a great source of strength for me ahead of the new challenge,” he said with a laugh. “Director Lee Mi-young said, ‘Hold on until the end.’ I like the advice, ‘Like (G) So-yeon endured, junior goalkeepers follow your path. It touched me,” he said. 스포츠토토
Yoon Young-geul did not forget to say hello to the women’s soccer fans who sent unwavering support. “Every time the national team list was announced, the fans were very worried about the ‘independent’ sign, and cheered them on, saying, ‘It’s cool to be selected even though I’m an independent’. From my point of view, I’m very sorry. Now I have a team. I will come back with more maturity than before. I will do my best to show a good image at the World Cup.”
On the night of the 29th, goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul, born in the Year of the Rabbit in 1987, departed for Mallorca, Spain, where BK Hacken was training. Ahead of a new challenge in the new year, he smiled, saying, “I hope this year will be my rabbit year and the most wonderful year in my football life.”
Meanwhile, the women’s national soccer team led by coach Bell will start the first convocation training of the new year in Ulsan on the 30th and depart for England, where the Arnold Clark Cup will be held on the 10th of next month. They will face England (Milton Keynes) on February 16, Belgium (Coventry) on February 19, and Italy (Bristol) on February 22. Goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul and England players Lee Geum-min and Park Ye-eun (above Brighton Women) plan to join the national team locally.