Charlotte (NC) — On Friday, the Charlotte Independence, a United Soccer League (USL) professional soccer team, announced the retirement of Independence and South Korean international defender Jungsoo Lee. Jungsoo’s illustrious, 16-year career was highlighted by stints in the top flight of Korean, Japanese and Qatar leagues, as well as a historical run in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“It was fantastic having Jungsoo be a part of the team,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “He's a really classy individual and a positive guy. Not only was he a good guy within the group but most importantly, we were a better team when he was on the field. His ability to move the ball and make the right decision on the ball, keep plays going, and to step in a make defensive play was huge for us.”
This season, the 38-year-old logged 13 games played, with 12 starts and 1,059 minutes played. From 2008-13, Jungsoo appeared in 54 international games for the Korea Republic National Football Team including four starts in the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, where his scores versus Nigeria and Greece helped South Korea advance to the knockout stage. Jungsoo defended against some of the world’s top talents including Argentina's Lionel Messi, Spain’s Fernando Torres, Uruguay's Luis Suarez, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, and Japan’s Keisuke Honda.
The Charlotte Independence professional soccer team wishes Jungsoo and his family the best of luck in his next endeavor and thanks him for his diligent performances and bright approach on a daily basis. His retirement follows the recent discovery of a medical condition.
“A medical condition came up that we were not aware of and at this point in his career, ” said Jeffries. "It made sense that he retire from the game due to that."
The Independence will next be in action this Saturday, September 29th as the Pittsburgh Riverhounds visits the Sportsplex at Matthews. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET. The match will be preceded by the 4th Annual Charlotte Fire Department vs Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department match at 4:30 PM ET. Tickets purchased for the charity match will benefit the Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund and the CMPD Hope Foundation, and will also gain entry to the Independence match to follow. Tickets are available by calling 704-206-1515 or purchasing online at charlotteindependence.com.