Gender controversy brewing in Korean women’s soccer

November 5, 2013


Park Eun-seon, left, scored 19 goals for Seoul City Hall squad this year. (Yonhap)

Park Eun-seon, left, scored 19 goals for Seoul City Hall squad this year. (Yonhap)

By Lee Kyutae

All of sudden Koreans are questioning the gender of their own star player in women’s soccer. Park Eun-seon, 27, has only been around the scene for a decade.

Park, who currently plays for the Seoul City Hall squad, has represented Korea many times in the past, including the 2003 Women’s World Cup in the United States and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. However, all other teams in the women’s corporate soccer league have all of sudden raised the question of her “authenticity” as a woman, and have reportedly discussed the possibility of boycotting next season.

Park Eun-seon (Korea Times file)

Park Eun-seon (Korea Times file)

They claim it’s a safety issue, as they fear injuries to much smaller female players. Park does stand almost six feet tall and weigh close to 170 pounds. Park has been a physically-dominating presence in the WK-League and led the league in scoring with 19 goals this season, contributing to a better-than-expected second-place finish for Seoul City.

According to league sources, the head coaches of the remaining six teams in the WK-League met last week and agreed that their teams should boycott the league next season if Seoul City Hall continues to field Park. The coaches, however, didn’t discuss the possibility of requesting a gender test yet.

Seoul City Hall responded by saying, “She didn’t all of sudden show up from nowhere to dominate the league. How would you explain none of them saying anything up until we became a winning team? She is one of us, and we’ll do we can to protect our player. It’s a human rights issue, and we’ll explore our legal options.”

One Korean soccer insider said, “I feel bad for Park. For this to happen when she finally put her off the field problems aside to play so well is terrible. But then, I can also understand the safety issue.”



One Comment

  1. David

    November 6, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    What a stupid question! It must hurt to the young woman player Park Eun-seon. :(