There is no giving up despite paraplegia”… Yoo Yeon-soo’s new goal to retire due to drunk driving accident damage
He retired at the tender age of 25. This is the story of Jeju United goalkeeper Yoo Yeon-soo, who became a paraplegic after being the victim of a drunk driving accident.
Yoo announced his retirement through the club on the 9th. The club held a retirement ceremony before the 36th round of the Hana One Q K League 2023 against FC Seoul on the 11th.
Yoo joined Jeju in 2020 and made his professional debut that year, playing one game in the K League 2. Recognized for his potential, he played four games in the K League 1 the following year after being promoted with Jeju. He continued to gain experience in 2022, making three appearances for Jeju.
He was considered the future of Jeju’s goalkeeping, but then something happened. In October of last year, while traveling in a car with his goalkeeping teammates, he was hit by a drunk driver. While the other players were not seriously injured, Yoo was diagnosed with paraplegia. As a result, he could no longer play soccer or walk.
Despite being frustrated and scarred, he didn’t give up and continued his rehabilitation. He accepted the reality and decided to end his career. He informed the club and Jeju decided to hold his retirement ceremony.굿모닝토토 주소
When we met him before the game, his expression was somber. “At first, I didn’t think anything about it, but when I came to the stadium, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m retiring,’ and I felt sad and wanted to play,” he said.
“It was hard at first, but when I realized my physical condition, I thought it would be better than dragging it out, and the club said that if I retired, they would give me a retirement ceremony, so I decided that it would be better to do it quickly,” he explained calmly.
He played a total of eight games in the K League. Due to the nature of the position, it’s hard for a young player to break into the first team. However, he made his presence felt whenever he was given the chance, keeping a clean sheet in both his professional debut and his K League 1 debut, helping his team to victory. “When I came to the K League 1, I played against Pohang and won a clean sheet. My team was winless at the time, but I played and won, so I remember that game the most.”
Although he is retiring as a soccer player, he has a new goal. It started with the first table tennis racket he picked up in the hospital. He set his sights on competing in the Paralympics in Para table tennis. “There was a table tennis table in the hospital and I could play, so I started playing with my dad for exercise. It was fun to play, so I looked into it more and found out that there are Para sports, so I’m thinking about it,” he said.
He even won an award at a competition. “There was a sports competition and I was lucky enough to win first place,” he said. When asked if he thought he had done too much in amateur competitions, he laughed and said, “It’s okay, I didn’t get elected to table tennis.”
In a recent interview, he said he would never be discouraged, and his indomitable spirit can be an inspiration to those in difficult situations. “I had a hard time at first, too. When I was told that I couldn’t walk and that I couldn’t play soccer, it was hard and sad, but I’m not alone, I always have family and friends. If I give up, I’m the only one who loses. If you don’t have to do this, there are other paths, there are different things, you should never give up, and there are many people who will help you and care about you. If you don’t give up, it will get better. If you do that, your mind will change positively,” he said, giving advice to those in difficult situations.
He also showed his affection for Jeju, where he spent his short professional career. “I’ve grown to love it here for three years. If I could come back, I would take the time to come back. You took care of me so well. If you call me anytime, I’ll come,” he said.
Finally, he thanked his fans for supporting him, saying, “I can only say thank you. Thank you so much,” he said, bowing his head.