“He’s a superstar, so we wanted to exchange jerseys.”
Like a shy girl fan, she waited for Son Heung-min to come out. This is the story of Song Eui-young, who naturalized as a Singaporean in 2021 and returned to her homeland to play for the 안전카지노사이트 Singapore national team.
The Singapore national team (ranked 155th in the FIFA rankings) took on Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea men’s national team (ranked 24th) in the first match of Group C of the second Asian qualifying round for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday.
It was a special experience. After graduating from high school in 2012, the Incheon native was signed by Singapore Home United, then coached by Lee Im-sang. His performances in the league earned him the status of “superstar” and he was naturalized, becoming a Singaporean citizen in 2021 and making his A-match debut in November against Kyrgyzstan in an exhibition match.
He was named in the starting lineup and took the field against the Koreans. “I’m very grateful (to play at the Sangam World Cup Stadium),” he said in the post-match mix zone. It was a special experience, and I think the team will definitely grow through this experience. In fact, there are many world-class players in Korea. That’s why I felt a bit of a barrier. I’m looking forward to meeting them at home in Singapore next year.”
There were many mixed emotions. “When I was warming up, I was crying. When I played, I was grateful to be able to play with great players.”
Song waited anxiously for the Korean players to come out after the game. He wanted to exchange jerseys with Son Heung-min, the “captain” of the Korean national team. Song and her teammates exchanged jerseys with Kim Min-jae and Hwang In-beom and took pictures with them.
“Even as players, they’re at a different level than us,” Song said. We’ve been watching them as fans. We are waiting to exchange jerseys because they are superstars. I’ve never done that before,” he laughed, adding, “I’ve heard about how Son Heung-min succeeded as a player, how he trains, etc. When I approached him after the game, he asked me to go inside to talk more.”
The Sangam World Cup Stadium was packed with more than 60,000 fans. The cheering was loud, especially when the opponents committed fouls and played rough. “I felt a lot of pressure while preparing for the match. I was so nervous that I didn’t sleep the night before. When I arrived at the stadium, I was able to relax and focus on the game. It’s true that the Korean fans were cheering for me. I thought they would be happy to see me, but it definitely put a lot of pressure on me.”
The match gave Song another goal: “It’s definitely a different level than Southeast Asian soccer. Playing with great players made me want to play in the K League or in Japan,” he said.