In an interview with S-league website, Korean winger Park Tae Won talk about his decade with the S-league where he has played for Jurong FC, Balestier Khalsa, Woodlands Wellington and SAFFC.
Park credited the league for moulding his never-say-die character and turning him into a man with nerves of steel.
“You need tough mental strength to do well here,” he remarked.
“While the S.League standard is lower than back home, it is never an easy league to play in.”
The respect he has shown to Singapore football has led to his consistent willingness to do his best, and in turn, his reputation has steadily increased over time.
That is why local fans, regardless of club affiliation, have come to see him as one of their own as he became one of the most consistent and reliable foreign imports in the league’s 15-year history.
In 2008, he was finally rewarded as it saw him become the eighth player in S.League history to score 100 goals, the momentous feat coming in a league game late in the year against Gombak United at Jurong West Stadium.
In term of trophies, that moment of glory that had been particularly hard to come as he only lifted the inaugural League Cup with Woodlands Wellington and a League title with SAFFC in 2009.
His exploits were reported by the media in his home country.
But now, he may not be able to do this for much longer, though, as ten years of hard work and dedication have taken their toll on his 1.77m frame
His current two-year deal with SAFFC runs out at the end of the season, and the uniformed derby against Home United on 10 November might well be his swansong – if he is picked for the matchday squad.
Calling time on his career could be hard after all the highs he has enjoyed, but Singapore’s most famous Taeguk warrior was had no doubt what matters to him most.
“Sometimes I am tired, injured, especially a serious injury I suffered three years ago with Woodlands,” he recalled.
“My wife is concerned because now, I keep getting injured. As a player becomes older, his body is not so strong, and he cannot play after one big injury.
“My wife and family are my biggest considerations, and she has stayed by my side for the past seven years.
“10 years is a very long time to be here. Now I think, maybe I have played enough.”
Should he really stop now, though, what comes next?
“Playing football has been my only professional career in my life so far,” he reflected.
“Maybe I can only take up coaching here when I retire. But if I go back home, I have other options. I can do coaching, I can do football-related stuff there. I have many options and ideas, and I have been exploring and writing them down.
“But I like everything I have experienced here. Every year, every club, every moment, I have enjoyed. Every club I have played has been good to me.
“I work hard and score. Football has always been my dream. I work harder, that’s why I can score 100 goals!
“I am very happy with what I have achieved in my ten years here, and everyone I have met in Singapore has been very good to me,” concluded Park.
“When I go back to Korea, I will never forget my time in the S.League.”
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