GK Yoo Yeon-soo “I’m going to enjoy life off the field” after a car accident that left him paralyzed

GK Yoo Yeon-soo “I’m going to enjoy life off the field” after a car accident that left him paralyzed

“It’s sad that I can’t play soccer again, but I’m determined to enjoy my second life off the field without getting discouraged,” said Jeju United goalkeeper Yoo Yeon-soo, 25, who injured his lower body in a car accident.

A promising player who joined Jeju in 2020, Yoo was seriously injured when he was hit by a drunk driver in downtown Seogwipo last October, during his third year as a professional. He spent nearly a year undergoing medical treatment and rehabilitation to return to the field, but was forced to hang up his soccer boots after suffering a severe injury that nearly severed the nerves in his lower body.

Jeju, which has retained Yoo’s No. 31 jersey and introduced him as a registered player at every game, will hold a retirement ceremony and fan signing session for Yoo at its home game against FC Seoul at Jeju World Cup Stadium on Nov. 11.

In a call with ‘News1’ on the 8th, when he made his retirement official, Yoo said, “It still doesn’t feel real. I think I’ll feel it when I go to the stadium that day,” he said, adding, “Above all, I’m sad that I won’t be able to play more soccer in the future.”

“At first, I thought, ‘I’m going to get better and play soccer again,’ but then I realized that even if I did get better, I would never be able to play soccer again. Now I just want to be able to move my legs with my own strength.” Today, Yoo is unable to move his legs due to a severed nerve, and he relies on the help of others to get around.

For a player who played every season and had the potential to make the jump to the main squad, this was a devastating reality, but it didn’t deter him.

“At first, it was hard to watch Jeju play on TV and think, ‘I used to play there, too. Why am I lying in bed now?'” he confesses, “But it was soccer that made me forget the pain for a while. I watched all of Jeju’s games and cheered them on, and I overcame my sadness through soccer. I also watched all the other K League games.”

Yoo also expressed his gratitude to the Jeju team and fans. “I was able to overcome all the difficult moments thanks to the support of the Jeju club officials and fans. I have received many messages of support from Jeju fans since the announcement of my retirement. I am very grateful and touched that they remembered the soccer player named Yoo Yeon-soo.”

After retiring from professional soccer without fulfilling his dreams, Yoo plans to start his second life by trying his hand at Para sports and preparing for the Paralympic Games. 캡틴토토

“First of all, I want to experience Para basketball, Para table tennis, Para fencing, etc. and decide which sport is right for me,” said Yoo. “I want to compete in the Paralympics to show that people who have suffered like me can achieve other dreams. If I don’t make it to the Paralympics, I want to give lectures and give people around me a message to never get discouraged.”

On November 11, Yoo will officially hang up her soccer boots at a retirement ceremony. While he may have some regrets, Yoo is more focused on the next chapter of his life.

He said, “I want to enjoy my life, and I can do that. As a retired soccer player, not a person with a disability, I will enjoy a lot of life off the field that I couldn’t enjoy while playing soccer,” he said.


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