Park Ji Sung was appointed the seventh club ambassador of Manchester United, an honor never before bestowed to a non-European. As an ambassador, Park will attend promotional and charity events, as well as partake in coaching work. The decision was announced at the seventh round of the 2014-2015 English Premier League, held on Oct. 5 at Old Trafford.
Prior to the announcement, the club tweeted a photo of Park, hinting at the honor he was to receive. The ambassador position has previously been awarded to players whom the club recognized as having left a legacy. Park’s predecessors include Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Andrew Cole, Dennis Law and Bryan Robson.
“Seeing a Korean represented alongside such legendary figures feels almost unrealistic,” John Kim (11) said. “Park is a great player, but I have doubts that he can equal the previous ambassadors. Many of them are pillars of Manchester United and sport itself. But without a doubt, [Park] will be effective as an ambassador, especially in targeting the Asian market.”
Returning to Manchester United after retiring from the Queens Park Rangers due to a knee injury, Park found the unexpected offer an honor, according to an official interview. Park played on the Manchester United team from 2005 to 2012 as a midfielder, contributing in four Premier League titles and three League cups.
Park was the first Asian player to not only be a part of Manchester United, but also win the UEFA Champions league and FIFA Club World Cup. As the most decorated Asian player, Park is expected to garner support from the Asian fan base.
“One of my earliest memories of watching a soccer game was the 2002 World Cup, watching Park lead the Korean national team,” Eugene Yang (12) said. “Even when Park moved to Manchester United, every game made me anxious and I couldn’t wait to see whether Park was listed in the starting 11. To see Park run around the field in the red uniform made me feel so proud and inspired, and I’m sure other Asian soccer fans can relate.”