Samsung Fire head coach Kim Sang-woo expressed his best wishes for Lee Woo-jin (Kyungbuk Cheongwoo), who became the first Korean high school player to play professional volleyball in Europe.
Ahead of the men’s professional volleyball match against Korean Air on Friday at Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon, Kim said, “I’ve been watching Lee Woo-jin since he was a freshman in high school. I hope he does really well,” Kim said.
Lee Woo-jin, a 195-centimeter outside hitter, signed an internship contract with Vero Valle Monza of the Italian men’s volleyball first division and left the country through Incheon International Airport on the same day.
As the Italian league prohibits foreign players under the age of 19 from officially playing in the league, he signed an internship contract for now, and will be able to play in the league from May next year.
Monza has high hopes for Lee, offering him a three-year contract.
With South Korea’s international competitiveness in men’s volleyball declining every year, Kim welcomed the player as one of his own.
“Some people ask me, ‘Why aren’t our players going overseas, why aren’t they frogs in the well?’ The truth is, they weren’t in a good enough situation and didn’t pay attention to foreign countries,” Kim said. “I want more (volleyball prospects) to be discovered by having such a friend go out and play. That’s the way to go (overseas) or not.”
Samsung Fire, which had rattled off five straight wins after losing its opening match and was at one point ranked No. 1 in the league and moving closer to “rebuilding its reputation,” lost its previous match on Tuesday against OK Financial Group, putting the brakes on its rise.
Korean Air is their most daunting opponent, even though they won a 3-2 full-set thriller in the first round.
Kim said, “This season, it’s not unusual for any team to win 3-0. It would be nice to win back-to-back, but no team can win the whole tournament. I ordered (the players) to be prepared and not to get carried away,” Kim said.
“In the last game against OK Financial Group, we made too many errors and lost. If that happens again today, it will be difficult to win,” he said. 토토사이트