“My strengths are aerial balls and my ability to make saves.”
The Ulsan Hyundai U-15 team defeated FC Seoul 4-2 on penalties in the final of the 2023 GROUND.N K League U-15 Championship at Cheonan Stadium on Nov. 21 to lift the trophy. It was the first time Ulsan has won the U-15 Championship, which was established in 2018, after the U-14 team finished as runners-up the previous day. The U-15 Championship played a full league without a tournament in 2019 and 2021, and was canceled in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Goalkeeper Choi Joo-ho was the “hero” of the day, stopping back-to-back kicks from Seoul’s No. 2 and 3 kickers in the penalty shootout to secure the win. He read the direction perfectly. Ulsan was without their number one kicker, Park Hyun-soo, so Choi’s saves were even more important. “It was my father’s birthday on the 19th, and it’s so nice to win with two saves in the penalty shootout,” Choi said, “I think I was able to stop them because I was desperate. I was confident in the penalty shootout. When it comes to saves, I tend to believe in myself,” he said confidently.
Ulsan had a chance to end the game early. They took the lead in the third minute of the second half. They conceded just before the end of the second half to extend the game. Coach Kim Hoyu pointed to “10 seconds of complacency.” Choi Joo-ho said, “I didn’t do a good man-to-man check. There should have been a defender in front of the opponent. I wasn’t focused and made mistakes, but I was desperate. I watched the U-14 runners-up the day before and saw that the winning team 메이저놀이터 was excited. I thought, “Let’s try to win one too,” he recalled.
Ulsan has national team goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo. Choi Joo-ho said, “He has a similar body type to me, so I try to learn from him. He seems to have excellent save ability, and I also like David de Gea. He’s tall and has a similar body type,” he said, adding, “I think my strengths are competing for aerial balls and making saves.”
Choi Joo-ho was born in 2008, but he is a tall goalkeeper at 192 centimeters. He has room to grow as he is young. At the beginning of this year, he was 7 centimeters taller than his profile height of 185 centimeters. “I hope I don’t get any taller,” he laughed, “I want to build up my strength, and I want to become a national team player through hard work,” he added with a twinkle in his eye.