The South Korean defender was applauded during his last ever game for Vancouver Whitecaps
Lee Young-Pyo may have won Eredivisie titles with PSV Eindhoven, graced a World Cup semi-final and even celebrated silverware in the League Cup with Tottenham, but the applause he received during his last ever professional game may rank among his most cherished memories.
Turning out for MLS club the Vancouver Whitecaps the full back, who made 70 appearances for Spurs during a three-season spell with the club, was in his element as the Canadian side romped to a 3-0 victory.
Yet while the 36-year-old’s contribution throughout the game was commendable, the standout moment of the match came in stoppage time.
With Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie keen to ensure the South Korean garnered the appreciation he deserves after a star-studded career as a player in Holland, Germany and England, youngster Erik Hurtado was thrown into the mix, with the former Spurs man making way.
It prompted the kind of standing ovation rarely seen in Major League Soccer and served as an indication of his abilities and standing within the club.
Signed from Al-Hilal in December 2011, Young-Pyo soon set about impressing coaches and fellow professionals alike with his attitude and work ethic, an ethos that ultimately saw him named the Whitecaps’ player of the year for 2012.
Speaking to MLSSoccer.com after the game Rennie was full of praise for the player, describing him as “a fantastic person and character”.
“It’s amazing that someone who has achieved as much as he has is as humble as he is and as solid a character.”
As well as receiving a standing ovation from the packed out crowd, the South Korean defender also found himself presented with the match ball by goalscorer Camilo Sanvezzo, adding to the sense of celebration surrounding the occasion.
Young-Pyo’s plans for the future remain unclear, but if he should decide to move into coaching, he is likely to be welcomed back to Vancouver with open arms.
image: © firepower23