Published Mar-2023, [No.286]
Subject Heung-min Son and his father

 The South Korean national football team has advanced to the round of 16 in the "2022 Qatar World Cup" by defeating Portugal in their third group stage match. After recording a draw and a loss in the first, second matches, a miracle was needed for enter the round of 16, but they managed to achieve a thrilling 2-1 victory over Portugal in extra time, thanks to a precious comeback goal. Despite conceding an early goal just 5 minutes into the game, South Korea showed their fighting spirit by Young-gwon, Kim's goal in the 27th minute, and eventually securing their victory with a dramatic goal from Hee-chan, Hwang in the additional time after 90 minutes of regulation play. Heung-min, Son sprint to catch the ball from a header and the precision pass that set up Hwang's goal between the defender's legs excited the spectators, and his last-minute effort while playing with a mask due to a facial injury demonstrated his world-class ability. After the third match, Son posted a photo of himself celebrating with his teammates and wrote on social media, "We did not give up, and you did not give up on us either. I love South Korea."

With Son becoming the first Asian player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, his stock as an advertising model has soared, and there are expectations that he will soon reserve a place as the 'advertising king'. According to the 'evaluation of the Korean Corporate Reputation Research Institute' based on big data, Son's brand value has surpassed that of second-place BTS and third-place singer Young-woong, Lim placing him at the top. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has analyzed and evaluated the economic ripple effect created by Son as a staggering '1.5 billion USD'. In addition to his value in the European football market, his direct and indirect economic effects, such as a 230 million USD increase in exports of consumer goods to Europe, and 680 million USD in production-induced effects and added value, are predicted to increase even more.

The one enjoying the most benefits is the global sports brand 'Adidas'. The response to the 'X' football boots worn by Son is so hot, and sales of 2022 World Cup's official ball named 'Al-Riyal' have also jumped several times which modeled with Messi. He is active as an advertising model in various fields, including Volvo, Hana Financial, CJ, Nongshim, Binggrae, Coca-Cola, SK Telecom, TS Shampoo, Gillette, and Bodyfriend, and is estimated to earn over 1 million USD per advertisement, with annual advertisement income of over 10 million USD. You can see Son everywhere, whether you turn on the TV or go to Gangnam Intersection, and he has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives, appearing in advertisements for Shin Ramyun, ice cream and Korean beef burgers, shampoo and razors, massage chairs and coffee, and more.

Living in the era of Son, we feel happy. We find ourselves interested in news articles and advertisements about him, and often watch his 'Tottenham' matches on TV or YouTube. His always smiling face, bright personality, and humble demeanor demonstrate his exceptional character and qualities. He seems to prioritize the team over personal gain, plays as a team player, respects his colleagues, and forms warm relationships with them. Above all, we feel that he loves and enjoys football, while always striving to learn and improve.

Watching Heung-min Son, who is full of competitive spirit, enthusiasm, and passion, makes us feel the energy and passion of life ourselves. As a model son who followed his father's teachings without complaint and is always grateful to his parents, we can see that everything leading up to his success today stems from his upbringing in his family.

"Success is prepaid. That's for sure. When I paid for something prepaid 10 or 15 years ago, there's a possibility that success can come 10, 15, or 20 years later. If I haven't paid before, success won't suddenly come to me one day. When I asked about Heung-Min's day and encouraged him, he listened to my earnest request. Heung-Min worked hard, endured, and adapted." This is the opening statement of the book Everything Starts with Basics written by his father, Woong-Jung, Son.

His father was teaching his son, Heung-Min, the very common truth that success is not a postpaid, but a prepaid thing when time and effort are invested. He also scolded and encouraged his son, saying, "Don't be complacent. Nothing changes just because you scored a goal." "You are not world player" He emphasized that soccer is not played alone but with the team and colleagues, and that individuals must excel to devote to the team. When the team is devoted to me, I shouldn't burden the team, but rather give up my spot. He also emphasized that people come before soccer, and always keeping a humble mind and maintaining the beginner's mindset.

Heung-min, Son's father, Woong-jung, Son has joined the ranks of stars as his son became the top scorer in the English Premier League (EPL), and his book has become a bestseller. Born in 1962, he had a particular love for soccer and played as a forward for a professional team after graduating from Myongji University. However, he had to retire from his playing career at the early age of 28 due to frequent injuries.

He then worked odd jobs such as day labor, manual labor, and personal trainer to make ends meet for his family, but he never neglected exercise and reading, which he considered as crucial parts of his life.

In his book 'The Illiterate's Reading Method', he wrote, "If I were to take away soccer from my life, the only thing that would remain is reading. Soccer and reading have been the pillars that supported my life." He said that he reads about 100 books a year, and emphasized that while it is important to learn and awaken oneself, it is equally important to indirectly experience knowledge and wisdom through books. He prepared three pens - black, blue, and red - while reading, underlining and rereading each page three times and then notes to his reading notebook. He recommended that his son, Heung-min, read the underlined parts in red. It is evident that he deeply loved and educated his children.

Manager Son Woong-jung emphasizes the importance of mastering the fundamentals in order to become a great soccer player. He says that players should be so skilled that they can handle the ball with ease even in a dark room where they can't see. He expresses disappointment in coaches and parents who try to achieve results and titles without first building a solid foundation of basic skills. He compares this to taking a child who can't even walk to a track and field competition.

He argues that just as one must know multiplication and division in order to study calculus, a child must learn to fall and get back up hundreds or even thousands of times in order to learn to walk. He reportedly wore a sand vest on his upper body and a sandbag on his legs while running on the field, and even inserted a thumbtack into his right soccer shoe to experience extreme pain in order to practice left-footed shooting. He demanded that his players always start with their left foot when putting on socks, their left leg when putting on pants, and their left shoelace when tying their shoes, as well as when entering the field for a game.

Like U.S. President Lincoln, who said he would spend four hours sharpening his axe if he had six hours to cut down a tree, Son believes that long hours of preparation are necessary to achieve something. It took Heung-min Son seven years to refine his skills, practicing every day without a break, and he learned the value of 'humility and diligence', which he should never forget even in death.

While reading Woong-jung, Son's book, I could feel that Heung-min Son's success and character came from his upbringing at home. In teaching children, the goal should be their own happiness, and rather than pursuing short-term achievements, they should approach things from a long-term perspective. It is important to have the right moral character and personality, rather than just success. Woong-jung teaches this to his two sons, and his example of always living according to his beliefs, regardless of difficult situations and circumstances, while maintaining daily routines such as cleaning, reading, and training, earns him the admiration of others. He emphasizes that the home is the first and greatest school, and children learn from observing how their parents behave before listening to what they say.

Heung-min Son became the first Asian to win the Premier League's Golden Boot and was the league's top scorer, making us all happy. We remember his character and philosophy of happiness, such as his nickname 'Smile Boy', who tries his best to be happy every day. The quote "talent takes you to the top, but character keeps you there," from the legendary American basketball player and coach John Wooden's book 'There is nothing stronger than gentleness', is the most appropriate __expression__ for Heung-min Son.

* Reference: 'Everything Starts from the Basics' - Woong-Jung Son


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