Koo d’etat

May 23, 2014

25-yr-old Koo Ja-cheol becomes the youngest captain for S. Korean World Cup squad

(Yonhap) — Forward Koo Ja-cheol on Wednesday was named the South Korean captain for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Koo Ja-cheol, left, will wear the captain's band in his  arm in the World Cup. The other player is Ji Dong-won.

Koo Ja-cheol, left, will wear the captain’s band in his arm in the World Cup. The other player is Ji Dong-won.

Head coach Hong Myung-bo said Koo, a 25-year-old attacker for FSV Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga, was chosen as the captain in a team meeting held at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, the national team practice facility.

“Koo Ja-cheol is a responsible player who has good relationships with older teammates,” Hong said. “At earlier tournaments, Koo proved to be a good leader for his young age.”

Koo had earlier served as South Korean captain at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2010 Asian Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics, all of them with Hong as the head coach.

Koo is a versatile offensive player who can roam on either flank or back the striker behind the primary line of attack. He led the 2011 Asian Cup tournament with five goals as South Korea finished third.

Midfielder Lee Chung-yong was named the assistant captain for the 23-man squad. The 25-year-old from Bolton Wanderers is one of five carryovers from the previous World Cup.

Hong, who captained South Korea to the semifinals at the 2002 World Cup, said he fully understands how much stress captaincy can bring to players.

“I hope he takes on the job with a sense of responsibility,” Hong added. “Koo may be the captain but I hope every one of our players will show leadership. They all must be able to share their thoughts off the field in order to play to their capabilities on the field.”

Koo said he was grateful for Hong’s and his teammates’ show of faith in him.

“We’ve had some charismatic captains and also quieter leaders on our national teams,” Koo said. “I want to lead the team by example and do my best in every facet of the game.”

This year’s team is on average 25.9 years old, nearly two years younger than the previous World Cup squad. Defender Kwak Tae-hwi, at 32, is the only player over 30 years of age.