Gimcheon Sangmu won 2-0 at home against Gimpo FC in 37R of the “Hana One Q K League 2 2023” held at Gimcheon Stadium on the 29th. On this day, Choi Byung-chan started and achieved 100 personal K-League games.
After the game, Choi Byung-chan said, “I really wanted to achieve 100 games in the K League before the start of this season.” I was wondering if it would be possible within this year due to an injury at the beginning of the season, but I’m really happy to be able to achieve it. I will be a player who works harder in the future,” he said.
Choi Byung-chan, who was attending Hongik University, made his professional debut in 2017 through an open test hosted by Seongnam FC. This is a somewhat unusual case rather than universal methods such as the coach’s scouting and rookie contract. At that time, the competition rate for the open test was 255 to 1, which was also called “Miracle Man.”
Although he entered the professional league somewhat uniquely, Choi Byung-chan continued to win right after joining the team. In 2018, the first year since his debut, he played in 19 games in Seongnam and recorded 5G 2AS. His first year as a professional is still a career high record even now in his sixth year. Choi Byung-chan, who was recognized for his ability, was also nominated for the K League Awards at the end of the year. Since then, he has played 24 games in 2019, his second year as a main player.
Choi Byung-chan said, “I worked hard as a rookie in 2018. It was an honor to be able to play in the game itself. So I worked harder. From the second year, he did his best to melt into the K League with a mature appearance. He also explained that Seongnam seems to have developed further as a player because it was promoted to the K League 1 in 2019.
Choi Byung-chan is famous not only for his performance but also for his “professional consciousness.” I cherish all my fans under the belief that they are “professional players who are meaningless without fans.” In particular, we cannot forget an anecdote related to the Fan’s Day event held in Gimcheon earlier this year.
Choi Byung-chan said, “Earlier this year, the club invited fans to the off-season training site and held an open training day. I was really grateful to the fans who came despite the cold weather. After the event, I posted my gratitude on my personal blog, but I had no idea that this would be a hot topic. I’m grateful that you like it,” he said with a smile.
“Fans are indispensable to professionals. The existence of fans itself is the reference point that divides professionals and amateurs. I’m so thankful for the love that the fans always send me. I will do my best to repay the love you send me,” he added.
The dark days have also come for Choi Byung-chan, who was on the rise. In July 2020, when the chances of playing were gradually decreasing, Choi Byung-chan chose to rent to Bucheon, the K League 2. Half a year later, in 2021, he completely moved to Bucheon. Since then, he joined Gimcheon in June 2022 and has been serving in the military.
In Gimcheon, he played 17 games in two seasons. The 2022 and 2023 seasons are also the year when they played the fewest games (10 games) since their K-League debut. At the beginning of this season, he continued to miss out due to injury. In the middle of this year, when he had a chance to play, he was sent off and injured, causing regret. In the match against Gimpo on July 15, his first appearance of this season, he was punished after his exit, and in the match against Anyang on the 31st, he suffered a tear in the top of his eye.
Choi Byung-chan said, “Even after returning home, there were situations where I couldn’t play much. It was a difficult time for both body and mind, but I worked hard thinking that if I work hard, I will have a chance someday. I tried to think as positively as possible even in difficult situations. In addition, I always trained with the idea of showing as much as I could.”
Choi Byung-chan’s mind control eventually worked. In the match against Asan in South Chungcheong Province on August 26, when he overcame his injury, he scored a mid-range shooting goal and made a splendid comeback. It was the first score in 1,044 days since Bucheon on October 17, 2020.
Choi Byung-chan, who was on the rise, scored a hat-trick in an away match in Ansan on Oct. 22, two months later. It is the first hat trick in his career in the K League and the second hat trick in the Gimcheon Commercial Club.
Choi Byung-chan said, “The hat trick was not because I was good, but because of my colleagues.” If I have to pick my ball, I’m a hard worker. I tend to train as if it were a real game and try hard to do well. I think that part was played on the field,” he said.
Choi Byung-chan, who plays in every game, is a later sergeant with less than 50 days left before he is discharged. Just as the late blooming flowers are beautiful, Choi Byung-chan, a later sergeant, is also spending his remaining military life the most splendidly.
Choi Byung-chan said, “There is no significant change in the commander. be living the same way in the army. I am grateful that I can always exercise in a good environment. “As the club is currently competing for first and second place, I will do my best to promote the team to the K League 1 until the end,” he said.
Choi Byung-chan’s 100-game business trip ceremony will be held on Nov. 26 against Seoul E-Land.