Lee Young-Pyo to Play His Last Game on Sunday

October 24, 2013

One of the most decorated Korean soccer players to retire as Vancouver Whitecap 

Former Korean national team soccer player Lee Young-pyo announced his retirement through his Canadian club on Tuesday. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Major League Soccer (MLS) confirmed on its website that Lee, 36, will play his final football game on Sunday at its home stadium against the Colorado Rapids.

“It will be the most memorable game of my life,” said Lee.

Young-Pyo Lee  was an integral part of South Korea's improbable run to the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. (Yonhap)

Young-Pyo Lee was an integral part of South Korea’s improbable run to the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. (Yonhap)

The crafty left fullback was an integral part of South Korea’s improbable run to the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which the country co-hosted with Japan. He also represented South Korea at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and retired from international play in early January. He ranks on the all-time South Korean list with 127 caps.”I have been playing (soccer) for the last 28 years, so I think it’s time to stop,” Lee was quoted as saying on the website. “It is an emotional time for me, but I’m so happy because when I came here two years ago, I never expected to finish my career like this. I’m so happy to retire with a great team and great people. I owe thanks to everybody.”

Lee started his club career in 2000 with Anyang LG Cheetahs (currently FC Seoul) in K-League Classic and later played for the Dutch giant PSV Eindhoven under Guus Hiddink, the former South Korean national team head coach for the 2002 World Cup. Lee was teammates with midfielder Park Ji-sung on PSV, where they won two Dutch league titles.

He later followed Park to the English Premier League, becoming the second South Korean to join the English competition when he signed with Tottenham Hotspur in 2005. After three seasons there, the fullback joined Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga.

The well-traveled man also suited up for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal and made 64 appearances there before joining Vancouver in 2011.

He has played two full seasons with the Whitecaps. After playing the full 90 minutes in all 33 of his matches and missing just one contest, Lee was named the 2012 Whitecaps Player of the Year.

This season, he has appeared in 29 of the team’s 31 games.

Martin Rennie, Whitecaps’ head coach, said “He is a legend, and I think not just because how well he’s done as a player throughout the world but for the kind of person that he is.”

 

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