For most Korean football fans, 2002 World Cup star Lee Young-pyo faded from the spotlight after he moved to Major League Soccer in December 2011 by signing with the Vancouver Whitecaps once his contract with Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia expired.
However, the 35-year-old's career is blooming again on another foreign shore, despite his age. Lee has started all 28 matches this season except for one game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sept. 2.
"Manager Martin Rennie gave me a special 10-day break and told me to take a full rest and not go anywhere near the training ground, which is how I ended up missing the game against the Galaxy," he said.
Lee is also one of the team's top stars, and hundreds of Korean fans came to cheer him on in Dallas last Sunday. "Over 800 [of his] fans turned up in Dallas," the team wrote on its website on Wednesday, adding the sub-headline, "VWFC defender a rock star at FC Dallas Stadium."
In his first year in the MLS, the veteran right back helped the team keep a clean sheet for nine matches. He has also scored one goal and made four assists. Vancouver, which finished at the bottom of 18-team league last season, is now in fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points from 10 wins, 7 draws, and 12 losses.
Lee has "cracked the top 20 in the list of best-selling Adidas MLS jerseys for the past six months," ran another article on the team's website.
Lee is known for his strict discipline. "Keeping a well-regulated daily routine is a deal I make with myself. I want to show my best while I still can," he said.