Cerezo Osaka announced yesterday that young South Korean goalkeeper Ahn Joon-Soo has joined the club. He has become the third South Korean goalkeeper who starts a professional career at Cerezo Osaka after Kim Jin-Hyeon and Gu Sung-Yun (currently playing at Consadole Sapporo).
Ahn is a 18-year-old goalkeeper who has several experience to represent his country at U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-18 national team. He has also participated in Cerezo’s training session several times since he was a junior high school student, suggesting the club have put their focus on him for years.
What is notable about his playing career is that he has played at not a youth team of a professional club but what may be called “machi club” - which can literally be translated as amateur “city club” in English. He has been nurtured at Uijeongbu FC (not FC Uijeongbu) where his father’s friend was taking charge of. That club didn’t (or perhaps don’t) have a goalkeeper coach, so he hasn’t had professional and systematic coaching, while yet being selected for the national team, which may suggest how enormous his potential is.
He has reportedly attracted attention from European club(s) too, but he chose not to move to Europe or play at domestic professional or university club, but Cerezo Osaka. One obvious reason is the presence of Kim Jin-Hyeon who Ahn considers as one of his idols. Other reason is that Cerezo have their U-23 team, which means young player can accumulate playing experience in a competitive match.
Welcome to Cerezo Osaka, Joon-Soo!
Source: Cerezo Osaka Official Website