CARSON, CA - Los Angeles Galaxy and former Korea Republic national team defender Hong Myung Bo announced today that 2004 will be his final season as an active Major League Soccer player. At the conclusion of the present campaign, Hong and his family will remain in the United States as he pursues his master degree coursework for the next 3 - 4 years. Hong will then begin a career in soccer in his homeland of Korea as well as the world at large. In the interim, he will be focusing on his studies and youth soccer development in the U.S.
"After a great deal of consultation with my family, I have decided to bring my career to a close at the end of the Galaxy's 2004 playoff run," Hong said. "I wish to thank the entire Galaxy organization and the Korean community in Southern California for all they have done for me since I arrived here almost two years ago."
Hong came to the Galaxy prior to the 2003 MLS season after a stellar 10-year professional career in Korea and Japan. He is one of only a handful of players in history to participate in four FIFA World Cup finals (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002). Additionally, he was named to "The 100" earlier this year - a list of the top 125 active living footballers, as compiled by FIFA and the legendary Pele.
"We would like to offer our deepest thanks to Myung Bo for his endless work both on and off the field," said Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. "He has been a great addition to our club over the last two seasons and has made the Galaxy a household name in the Korean community in Southern California. We wish him all the best as he pursues his new goals off the field."
As he moves into the next phase of his life, Hong has decided to begin the process of earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in either sports management or public administration. Upon earning his degree, he will pursue his goal of working as a coach, sports administrator, professor or for a non-profit entity.
Already active in the community, Hong established the Bo Foundation in April 2004 in an effort to assist disadvantaged and at-risk youths out of a bad cycle in their life through youth soccer programs. The Bo Foundation's mission is to encourage kids to have a life goal such as collegiate soccer student-athlete or professional soccer player, but most importantly to provide them with more opportunities in their life in order to achieve their life goals. In addition, participants are eligible to participate in a soccer scholarship program specifically designed for minority players. The foundation is run under the partnership with college athletics and non-profit organizations that has a rehab program for the at-risk youths.
The 35-year-old Hong began his career with the Galaxy as an allocated player on November 4, 2002 after playing an integral role in Korea's run to the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002. After participating in all seven of Korea's matches there, he received the adidas Bronze Ball for his outstanding play.
The first Korean to ever play in Major League Soccer, Hong has appeared in 38 regular season games with the club, including 34 starts. He has logged 3,154 minutes played and recorded two assists in two full seasons in a Green and Gold uniform.
After a year of great success in 2003, one in which he played in and started 25 matches for his new team, the venerable defender has suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2004, appearing only 13 times and making nine starts.
Prior to his time in Los Angeles, Hong starred in both Korea's K-League and Japan's J-League, the top professional leagues in each of those countries. He began his career in 1992 in his homeland with Pohang Steelers, a team he would play with until leaving for Bellemare Hiratsuke (Japan) in 1997. By 1999, he had moved to Kashiwa Reysol, also of the J-League, before returning to Pohang Steelers for the 2002 campaign.
Among the many accomplishments of his long and storied career for club and country are 135 caps with the Korea Republic national team, an Asian Club Player of the Year Award in 1997, a place on the K-League Best XI five times and a J-League Most Valuable Player selection while with Kashiwa Reysol.
The Los Angeles Galaxy's next match at The Home Depot Center will be on Saturday, October 9 in a battle with the Dallas Burn. All fans in attendance will be treated to a post-game fireworks spectacular, courtesy of the Daily Breeze and Capri Sun. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Galaxy ticket off toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.
Major League Soccer Career YEAR TEAM GP GS MIN G A PTS SHT SOG BK FC FS OFF CK C E 2003 Los Angeles 25 25 2296 0 2 2 7 0 0 27 17 0 7 4 0 2004 Los Angeles 13 9 858 0 0 0 1 1 0 12 2 0 0 2 0 Totals 38 34 3154 0 2 2 8 1 0 39 19 0 7 6 0 YEAR POSTSEASON GP GS MIN G A PTS SHT SOG BK FC FS OFF CK C E 2003 Los Angeles 2 2 186 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0
K-League/J-League Career YEAR TEAM GP G PTS 1992 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 32 1 2 1993 Pohang Steelers (KOR 12 1 2 1994 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 17 4 8 1995 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 31 1 2 1996 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 34 0 0 1997 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 6 0 0 Bellemare Hiratsuke (JAP) 10 0 0 1998 Bellemare Hiratsuke (JAP) 32 0 0 1999 Kashiwa Reysol (JAP) 29 5 10 2000 Kashiwa Reysol (JAP 29 2 4 2001 Kashiwa Reysol (JAP) 15 0 0 2002 Pohang Steelers (KOR) 19 0 0
Korea Republic National Team Career YEARS TEAM GP G PTS W L T 1990-2002 Korea 135 9 18 60 31 31