SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Wednesday, Apr. 26 2017) – After a long wait, the Southern California Sports Club was finally able to add an important piece to its game day lineup last Saturday, in the 4-4 tie with the Oxnard Guerreros. Signed by the club in February, 23-year-old defender Taeyoung Kim played his first National Premier Soccer League (NSPL) match for the club after being sidelined for the first five weeks of the season.
The center back had to deal with a delay on his paperwork coming from his native South Korea and was only cleared to play last week. Despite the excitement for his debut, Kim was not totally pleased as the team conceded four goals at home.
“I’d like to thank SoCal SC’s General Manager Daniel Gamba and my former Korean coaches who worked really hard to help me figuring this situation out”, said Kim. “I was so excited when I was told that I could finally play. I think I played okay, but I feel upset because we made some defensive mistakes which led to three of their goals. We will work hard to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again”.
SoCal SC’s Head Coach Daniel Musatti was also pleased by Kim’s debut. The South Korean is the third Asian player to play for the club, following Palestinian forward Tarek Jamal Nazzal and Iranian goalkeeper Ashkan Ashton Khosravi, who were part of the team’s roster on their inaugural NPSL campaign in 2016.
“Everybody in the club was happy that he was finally able to play. He had a good performance and did not make any mistakes. Kim is a very solid player, who brings the traditional Asian discipline and a huge commitment to our team. It’s a shame we couldn’t win on his debut, but that becomes the goal for next match”.
SoCal SC is the first professional club Kim plays for in the United States after he moved to the country, three and a half years ago, encouraged by a friend who studied in the US. The defender, who started playing soccer at the age of 12, is the captain of Bethesda University’s soccer team, where he pursues a major in Business.
“There are so many opportunities here. I didn’t hesitate to come to graduate and make my dream of being a professional soccer player come true”, he recalls.
In SoCal SC, he found not only a club to play for but also a multicultural group of players to live together. Learning Spanish and Portuguese to be able to communicate better with his teammates, the Korean is excited to compete in the NPSL.
“It’s a privilege to play with players from several different countries. I had a hard time in the beginning because of the different languages and cultures, but everyone was so kind to me that I have learned something from each of them. I am really pleased by this experience. Most of the players in the league have professional experience, so every game is really competitive and intense. Our goal is to make to the playoffs and we play each game as a final. Every time I step on the field, my mentality is to kill or die on it”, commented the center back.
Kim and the SoCal SC will play again next Saturday, April 29, against Albion Pros SC at the Fairplex, at 6PM (PT). Tickets are already on sale.