Connect with us

News

Vancouver Whitecaps add exciting midfield talent Hwang In-Beom

South Korea's midfielder Hwang In-Beom, left, controls the ball during the AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match between South Korea and Philippines at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

VANCOUVER — South Korean midfielder Hwang In-Beom is going to join the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

The 22-year-old, 5-foot-10 midfielder from the South Korean K-League 2 club Daejeon Citizens is one of the most sought after and exciting prospects in Asia at the moment. He is dubbed the Korean Iniesta. 

Hwang has agreed to a two-year contract through 2020, with club options for 2021 and 2022, as a Young Designated Player. He will occupy an international roster spot and officially join the club’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and work permit.

Before the official announcement Wednesday, the Caps started to build anticipation that the deal could be imminent by posting a series of tweets on the club’s official Twitter account.

The first tweet showed a quote by Marc Dos Santos that read: “I think it’s a player with an incredible gift…”

On Monday, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi told Vancouver-based television station CTV that a deal to sign Hwang was almost done. Hence, the second tweet published by the organization almost killed all anticipation.

The tweet showed a quote by former Whitecaps player Young-Pyo Lee that read: “I think he is among the top three most talented midfielders in Asia right now.” It then switched over to showing a South Korean flag pretty much giving away that the impending announcement would be for Hwang In-Beom. 

One hour later, the Whitecaps revealed Hwang was indeed the latest signing to join the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

“Hwang is an exciting young talent who we identified early as one of our primary targets,” Dos Santos said. “He’s a creative midfielder who is incredibly gifted technically and was coveted by a number of clubs around the world. He fits into the style we want to play very well. We’re excited to work with Hwang and help him reach his full potential.”

The midfielder has scored seven goals and five assists in 33 K-League 2 games this season. Hwang, among others, caught the interest of Bundesliga 2 side VfL Bochum, but the German club ultimately did not bid for the player. 

Playing for a second-division side in South Korea makes Hwang In-Beom a bit of an outlier. But the example of Shinji Kagawa, who excelled with Cerezo Osaka in the J-League 2 in 2009 before becoming a star in Germany with Dortmund, highlights that there is plenty of depth in the lower divisions in countries like South Korea and Japan.

China's defender Chi Zhongguo tackles South Korea's midfielder Hwang In-Beom during the AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match between South Korea and China at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

China’s defender Chi Zhongguo tackles South Korea’s midfielder Hwang In-Beom during the AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match between South Korea and China at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

This is underlined by the fact that the 22-year-old represents his country despite not playing in Korea’s first division. The midfielder was called up to represent South Korea at the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

At the tournament, Hwang had a standout performance. Playing in all five of his country’s games at the tournament, Hwang In-Beom averaged 98.81 actions per 90 minutes, of which he completed 76.8 percent successfully. 

His Asia Cup performance highlights why he has been compared with former Barcelona great Andres Iniesta. Hwang managed to complete 87.3 percent of his on average 76.55 passes per 90 minutes. 

At the time of South Korea’s elimination — defeated 1-0 by finalists Qatar — Hwang was among the tournament’s top-10 leaders in both chances created (9) and total passes (322). He ranked second with nine goal-scoring opportunities created, behind Tottenham Hotspur superstar Son Heung-min’s 10.

Comments

comments

Advertisement

Vancouver Whitecaps Schedule

Get Whitecaps Tickets

Newsletter

Vancouver Whitecaps Gear

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

More in News