Park Ji-sung announces retirement at age 33

first_imgPark Ji-sung has called time on a trailblazing career that was launched in South Korea’s unlikely run to the World Cup semifinals and really took off during his seven seasons with one of the world’s biggest clubs.The long-time Manchester United midfielder told a news conference Wednesday at a stadium named in his honor that he has retired from top-flight football. In his immediate plans are two friendly matches later this month and a wedding date in July.The 33-year-old Park played his last season on loan with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league. He retired from international football in 2011, after representing South Korea at three World Cups, and rejected calls for a return to help the squad at Brazil 2014.A high-energy, hard-working midfielder, Park followed manager Guus Hiddink from the national team to Eindhoven after the 2002 World Cup, then became the first South Korean to make an impact in the Premier League after signing with Manchester United, where he won the 2008 Champions League and four Premier League titles.At the time of negotiations for his last contract at Manchester United in 2011, manager Alex Ferguson said the Korean’s “career at United has been nothing but excellent, a tremendous professional.”Park left Old Trafford in 2012 after seven seasons to make an ill-fated move to Queens Park Rangers. After the team’s relegation from the English Premier League, Park was loaned to PSV Eindhoven, where his European journey had begun in 2003. “I’ve been mulling retirement since February, and I’ve concluded that my knee won’t hold up for another season,” the domestic Yonhap news agency quoted Park as saying. “I have no regrets about my career. I do think about what might have been if I hadn’t been injured, but I have no feelings of disappointment or sorrow as I leave the sport.”Park had operations on his right knee in 2003 and in 2007. He was sidelined for eight months after the second surgery and had occasional trouble with the knee in recent seasons.He told a gathering Wednesday that he’d accomplished more in football than he’d imagined possible.He sent many benchmarks for Asian footballers, including being the first to score goals at three World Cups.When his country co-hosted the World Cup with Japan in 2002, Park netted the winner in an upset 1-0 victory over Portugal in the last group match to get South Korea into the knockout stage for the first time. The South Koreans were the first from Asia to reach the World Cup semifinals. In 2006, he scored the equalizer to hold eventual finalist France to a 1-1 draw and, in 2010, he scored in the 2-0 win over Greece that helped South Korea reach the Round of 16 for the first time on foreign soil.Park and PSV Eindhoven are due to face two South Korean club teams in friendly matches later this month.last_img read more

PCC’s Movsisyan has MLS hooked

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaMLS officials think so highly of the 6-foot, 180-pounder that they signed him to a contract last week along with Maryland forward Jason Garey, winner of the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy as the top Division I college player in the country; Indiana midfielder Brian Plotkin; and Santa Clara midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to find out which club selects him in the draft, which will be held in Philadelphia at 9 a.m. Also working in Movsisyan’s favor is that he will take up a youth international spot on an MLS roster and not count against a club’s salary cap. Movsisyan, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and came to the U.S. about five years ago, said it doesn’t matter where he winds up later this week. But he did admit he would love to play in Southern California. “Of course, I want to stay here in L.A., Galaxy or Chivas,” he said. “I’m a fan of soccer. It doesn’t matter for me … either team would be good. Any team that takes me, I’m ready to go and give it my all.” His coach at PCC and in high school, Cherif Zein, said Movsisyan is one of the best prospects he’s seen in his 30 years in the sport. “Mentally, he’s very focused despite his age,” Zein said. One of a number of players looking to advance his draft prospects at the combine was Princeton defender/midfielder Darren Spicer, a former standout at Diamond Bar High School. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder led Princeton in scoring in three consecutive years (2003-2005) and was a first-team All-Ivy League selection the last two seasons. The 22-year-old majored in international politics and jokingly was asked if he wants to become a world ruler some day. “I want to be a professional soccer player first,” he answered with a grin. Spicer, who was invited to participate in the combine about a month ago, worked out with Chivas USA almost two weeks ago and said he thought the sessions went well. He hoped his performances over the weekend strengthened his chances to be selected. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2272 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I like him, I like him a lot,” Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said. The team owns five picks, including the 12th, and final, choice in the first round on Friday. “We’d obviously like to have him stick around (in the draft). Athletically, I think he can compete at this level, and he’s far from reaching the peak of his athleticism. “We know he’s a top prospect, and deservedly so.” center_img CARSON – Almost 75 players took part in last week’s Major League Soccer Player Combine at Home Depot Center. Prospects ranged from UCLA defender Marvell Wynne, rumored to be the No. 1 pick overall by Chivas USA in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft, to 16-year-old forward Josmer Altidore, a member of the United States’ U-17 team that advanced to the quarterfinals of last year’s FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru. There also was Pasadena City College’s Yura Movsisyan, who may not be as well-known as some of his peers nationally but has drawn enthusiastic responses from various coaches who praise his ability despite his age (18) and lack of experience (Arcadia High School and one year at PCC). Galaxy and Chivas USA coaches have thought enough about him to bring him in for recent workouts. He also has been contacted by officials with the Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire and New England Revolution and figures to be a high pick. last_img read more