Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Hwang Hee-chan stars in Arena Korea Magazine‘s January 2023 edition lensed by fashion photographer Yeongjun Kim. In charge of styling was Park Ji Young, with beauty from hair stylist Oh Ji-Hye, and makeup artist Lee Seung-Yoo.
As any player will tell you, I think there are many performances that cannot be converted into numbers. As a result, there were seasons that did not show satisfactory numbers to fans. The reason I can keep playing in games is because the coach and all the staff want me to play, and I have confidence in that. Also, it is important to be an entertainer who has to satisfy the audience and viewers, and I think a good player has both skill and interesting performance.
It’s a team (South Korea national team) composed of players who are so skilled that they don’t need much explanation. As a football fan who has been watching the national team for a lifetime, I believe the national team has a special strength to overcome difficult moments. The performance in the recent Qatar World Cup was excellent, and I have confidence that they will continue to grow in the future. I consider the current national team as the golden generation, showcasing 120% of their abilities.
I decided to become a soccer player after watching the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. I thought, “I want to become a player like them.” At that time, I hadn’t even learned how to play soccer, but I was considered good in the neighborhood. Above all, I had a strong competitive spirit and always gave my best to win. Actually, I just loved soccer so much.
I love wearing stylish clothes and shoes, but the places I dress up for are limited to the stadium and the training ground. (laughs) I appreciate culture, including fashion. If you have a hobby you enjoy outside of training, it helps maintain the best condition and seems to have a positive impact on performance. I particularly love Nike sneakers and have collected around 200 pairs.
I started playing soccer because I loved it, and as I continued, I received recognition and became a player performing well nationwide. However, I wasn’t satisfied. I felt it was not enough. I wanted to become a national representative and play in the Premier League. Eventually, at the age of twenty, I became a national representative, and at twenty-three, I became a player in the Champions League. I always looked ahead, gave my best without postponing any training. But this is not the end. There are still goals ahead, and I will work even harder. – Hwang Hee-chan
Photography © Yeongjun Kim for Arena Korea, read more at arenakorea.com