January 11, 2013 11:58
Suwon Samsung Bluewings held a ceremony to welcome North Korean striker Jong Tae-se to the club on Thursday.
At the press conference, Jong, who showed up with his hair dyed gray, praised the physical style of play in South Korea. He also vowed to improve his Korean language skills by watching entertainment shows on TV. "I cut my hair short and dyed it to symbolize a fresh new start," he said.
Jong broke his serious demeanor by smiling when Suwon's managing director Lee Seok-myung handed him his new No. 14 uniform.
When asked why he picked Suwon, Jong said, "I heard good things about the team from Ahn Young-hak, my teammate in North Korea who formerly played in Suwon. I was also attracted to Suwon's big fan base and stadium. I hope to contribute to the team's title run by scoring at least 15 goals in my debut season."
Jong, who was born in Japan to a North Korean mother and a South Korean father, is the fourth North Korean to play in the K-league. After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he moved from Japan's J-League to Bochum in Germany's second-tier league. He then moved to Cologne last February but failed to win a starting position and decided to seek his future in South Korea.
Other North Koreans who played in K-League include Ryang Kyu-sa, who signed with Ulsan Hyundai in 2001, Kim Yong-hui, who joined Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma one year later, and Ahn Young-hak, who played for Busan IPark and Suwon from 2006 to 2009.
Jong said, "I think there are many South Korean fans who may be curious about me. I hope to see many of them at the stadium."
In addition to football, he said he hopes to see boy band JYJ perform live. Jong got to know band member Kim Jae-joong at a charity match in Vietnam organized by Park Ji-sung in June 2011.
"When I was in Germany, it was really fun watching foreign players perform Psy's horse-riding dance to celebrate scoring goals. I'll think about whether to do that, here," he joked. After the press conference, Jong left for Guam to join the team's training camp there.
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