24 hours are not enough. Head coach Lee Se-yeon, who says he has over 200 ‘sons’ and says that his life is taken over by the lives of the boys he's training.
Cheonan FMC FC U15, which he coaches, is a club that has produced many talented players. Many of the club’s past and present contingent have gone on to play for universities and professional teams, as well as representing the national team at various ages.
We even had to ask Lee See-yeon to stop mentioning all the names of his boys who have gone on to achieve great things!
Please introduce yourself and tell us how Cheonan FMF FC started.
I've directed the boys for 17 years. I did get an offer to undertake a master's degree in football from UK and Australian graduate schools when I was working for a professional team, but I wanted to contribute to youth football in South Korea, so I established Cheonan FMC FC. A lot of players and also coaches from this team are having good careers after graduating from this team.
The Cheonan FMC boys seem to study football analysis together, not just play the sport.
There's two reasons why I gather the boys together, the first is to review their own plays and the second is to develop their English skills.
An experienced coach can only remember 30% of the key factors that determined the result of a match. That's why a review is essential. We spend time reviewing our performances, simultaneously watching videos and reviewing data to review play. This inspires the players, helping them understand what to do in certain situations where they have to make quick judgements and work on their shortcomings. Our coaches also share ideas in a team meeting, reviewing videos and data to help them create useful training sessions.
“I guess all coaches previously struggled to edit clips from match video. I can tell that the video and data used together can help make a big improvement to the team.”
The second reason to gather the players together is to improve their language skills. One of my friends Ronnie, who is from Zimbabwe and played in Germany and Russia, is teaching the boys to give them an extra benefit. Learning English through football is more interesting than the normal language lessons. I believe these language skills make them think more widely in the future.
You seem to have a special affection for your players…
I believe there are no coaches who don't have affection for their boys. I have two daughters, but I can say I have over 200 sons!
Even the graduates come to my mind, some often contact me and tell me their news. The growth and advancement of all the boys I've worked with is the dominant thing in my life!
Besides coaching the team you seem so busy!
I am currently completing a PhD in sports match analysis because I still feel I have shortcomings as a coach. Personally, I am thinking about writing a doctoral thesis on youth players using Bepro data. I want to provide feedback according to each player's personality and position.
Only relying on coaches' own perspectives to direct players is now old-fashioned. The reason that sports experts use data is simple - they want to improve performances. Although we might meet many obstacles, we need to find and implement new ways to help the boys' lives as players, and also support their parents.
You also share your opinions on social media about various issues in sport.
I don't want to be a revolutionist, but I do think we always need to work together to find good ways to make our sporting lives better. I want to be an adult who considers how society can be improved for the next generation.
What are your goals for yourself and the club?
FMCFCU15 is not the best team in the world and we cannot win every time. The team's philosophy, focusing on growth whilst serving as a bridge for whatever they want to do in future, will never change. Our biggest goal is to discover and nurture young players to reach their potential.
Personally if I have a chance, I would like to be a public educator in sports after graduating from my PhD. Through that, I want to help foster the dreams of my younger students.
"The meaning of my name my father gave me is 'the pond of the world'. I want to be a generous pond for my students through football, and I think that's what can bring value to my life."
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