Protests are expected next weekend at York’s Roddy Darling Stadium as the York FC Highlanders host Richmond City in a match-up of NASL East Division 5th and 3rd place teams. The outrage stems from the celebration of an 87th minute goal by York FC striker Saechon Park-Loo last week vs 1st place Athens (OH).
With the game tied 2-2 Park-Loo chested down a cross from midfielder Lan Schmidt, pivoted to his right and slotted the ball passed diving Richmond keeper Steve Suarez. Park then ran to the corner flag, saluted it, and performed the “Chinese-Japanese-Dirty Knees-Look At These” pantomime before being mobbed by teammates. The game ended with the York FC win.
The Women’s Coalition of York has issued a statement condemning the celebration. “I’m speechless!” says Highlanders supporter and WCY member Diane Ames. “Taunting your opponents by pretending to have female breasts demeans all women.”
Equally upset was York Asian American Foundation president Ken Nishihara. “Any racial stereotype is hurtful, no matter the context.” Mr. Nishihara was not at the game, but noted that the YAAF had seen video of the celebration and feels it must be addressed by the York FC management.
No official comments have been issued by the York FC coaching staff or management, but through an interpreter Park-Loo said “it (the celebration) was invented in Korea as a way to mock centuries of oppression from both Japan and China by questioning both their masculinity and their hygiene.”
Park-Loo is in his 2nd year of pro soccer in the USA, spending last season with the Boise Express of the Mid-West Soccer Federation. He netted 4 goals and 6 assists with the Express. This was his first goal for the Highlanders.
Game time next Saturday the 23rd is 7:00 pm. Official protests by the YAAF and WCY begin outside Gate C two hours before the game. Tickets are available.