The South Korean national soccer team gives an interview before training for an exhibition match at the
National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, on the afternoon of Nov. 11. The Klinsmann’s will face
Tunisia on Oct. 13 and Vietnam on Oct. 17.
“Honestly, I’m still scared. But I’ll play without the mask.”
Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk), who returned to the national team four months after suffering an orbital fracture, vowed to overcome his fears and play well.
The national team, coached by Jürgen Klinsmann, trained at Paju NFC on Nov. 11 ahead of their exhibition
matches against Tunisia (Seoul) on Nov. 13 and Vietnam (Suwon) on Nov. 17.
Kim Jin-soo suffered an orbital fracture in an exhibition match against El Salvador in June and did not
return to the field until October. He has been playing for his club, Jeonbuk, but is not yet fully recovered.
Kim Jin-soo of South Korea tries to make a tackle during the Hana Bank Invitational Football Tournament
between South Korea and El Salvador at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea, on June 20.
“To be honest, I’m still scared of getting hit by an elbow or a ball. When I touch the injured area with my
hand, I can feel the pins and imagine how much it would hurt if I collided with them,” he explained.
Nevertheless, Kim plans to play without a mask in the upcoming A match. “I’m a defender, so I have to
keep competing. The mask is different from the one Heung-min (Son) wore. I broke my clown together,
so my right side is covered more,” he said, adding, “It’s better not to wear it because it blocks my vision too much.”
Kim Jin-soo, born in 1992, made his debut for the A team in July 2013 and is now in his 11th year with the
national team. While he was once described as a “young and enthusiastic defender,” he is now a solid senior member of the team.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the national team, but it’s always a new honor,” Kim said, “I have
more responsibility than before. There are few seniors now. I know what I have to do. I will do what I can.”
Having realized his dream of playing in the World Cup in his third attempt at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in
Qatar, Kim now has another goal in mind for his national team career: winning the Asian Cup.
“I was in my 20s when we finished runners-up at the 2015 Asian Cup,” said Kim Jin-soo. Now, in my 30s, I’m
going to the Asian Cup again, but this time I want to do better and I have faith that I can win,” he said.
Kim also weighed in on the recent criticism of the national team and head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
“I don’t worry too much about it because I know the players and coaching staff have a lot of trust in each
other. It’s just that there are more voices (criticizing) because the results are not good,” he said, adding,