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Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil Part 2

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil Yun Wonil
Following on from part one of K League United's exclusive interview with former Daejeon Citizen captain Yoon Weonil, the 2014 K League Challenge Title winner discusses what made him hang up his boots at just 29 years of age, what he's up to at present, and what the former centre back's post-playing career aspirations are.

Q: You decided to hang up your boots the year after winning the title and at such a young age, what were the deciding factors?

A: During my playing days I had to have quite a bit of surgery on my knee and so I wasn’t left with much choice other than to stop playing. I had to have surgery for me to be able to play again, there wasn’t anything else for me to do but to have surgery, but it was difficult to recovery from. And so, just so that I could make the decision without any regrets, I went to see a lot of doctors but they all told me the same thing and that to retire was a the decision that I had to make. 

I didn’t get to achieve all the things that I wanted to as a player but as time went on my objectives and aims changed. The last thing I wanted to do was that, if I couldn’t perform to the best of my abilities anymore, then I would call it a day. And so, because that ended up being the case, I was left with no choice but to retire and reassure myself for the future.

Q: Are still in contact with any of that 2014 team?

A: Yes, absolutely. Especially my friend Jang Wonseok, who’s still with Daejeon, we talk about the future a lot.

However, from our title winning team, almost all the players have since left the club. Even though Jang Wonseok left and came back, almost all have left so we have to share the nostalgic memories from afar by keeping in touch with each other.

Actually, if some of the more experienced younger teammates from that title winning team were still with the team now then we’d be able to reminisce a lot more. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a shame that that isn’t the case.

Jang Wonseok in action for Daejeon in 2018
Q: You are working as a coach now, do you miss being a player?

A: When I think about my days as a player they were the happiest times of my life, they were like a dream and I miss it. There is nothing that a former player could miss more than their playing days. But thankfully, in my playing days I spent all my time focusing on football so, in terms of regrets and things that I miss, there aren’t that many.

So, even in my life after retiring, I’m not looking back but merely concentrating on what’s ahead. And, although I am concentrating on my life in football as a coach at the moment and into the future, I know that I take with me many happy memories thanks to football. Someday, as a leader I want to have those kinds of experiences and feelings. I want to become a proper leader. But at the moment I don’t have enough experience to do that. 

Q: What aspirations do you have as a coach?

A: At the moment with Ulsan Citizen, it’s a new environment in which I am learning alongside the manager and other coaching staff and gaining some experience. I want to learn as much as possible. My goal after that is to try and become a manager.

Yoon Weonil (R) as a coach with Ulsan Citizen (Image via Ulsan Citizen Facebook)
Q: Finally, Daejeon made it to the playoffs this season, what do you think their chances are of winning promotion again in the future? Have you been watching their games?

A: Daejeon will always be a club that gave me a lot of happiness. I have always kept an interest in the team and see them as a team that I should root for.

But, to answer the question of whether I think they can win promotion again, I think I would have to rephrase it slightly. I am a fan who would love to see Daejeon go up and I believe the players have it in them to do it. 

I hope that the players get chance to experience that feeling of the winning, the atmosphere. When the time comes I hope that the players can feel the support from the terraces enough for them to make the Daejeon Citizen fans smile.

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil Part 1

Daejeon Citizen's 2014 K League Challenge Title Winning Team: Where are they now? 

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