The Southern California Sports Club had a handful of absences last Sunday, when the team dropped a 2-0 home loss to Orange County FC.

One of them was defender Taeyoung Kim.  The 23-year-old center back missed the game because he was leading California to win the gold medal at the American Korean National Sports Festival in Dallas, Texas.

The annual event reunites South Korean athletes of several sports who compete representing the places they live in the United States. Kim was one of the players who won the gold medal in the soccer tournament alongside his Californian teammates after they beat Washington 3-1 in the final match.

As a reward, the team qualified to compete in the 98th edition of the National Sports Festival, a prestigious event that will be disputed in Chungbuk, South Korea, from October 20th to 26th. There, they will face teams composed by South Koreans who live in other countries.

“I am very happy because we trained very hard for this tournament for over a year,” Kim said. “The South Korean president will attend the National Sports Festival and it will be an honor competing in front of him and also a great professional opportunity as many teams send scouts there. I’m really excited to see my family too.”

Kim joined SoCal SC prior the 2017 season and made his debut for the team last April. After six months with the club, he is grateful for everything he learned from his teammates and the coaching staff.

“I can see that I improved a lot since I joined SoCal SC,” he added. “I learned so much from everybody in the club, especially about decision making during the games. I’d also like to thank the club for releasing me from the game and allowing me to take part in the event.”

After winning the gold medal at the American Korean National Sports Festival, Kim rejoined SoCal SC and has already started his preparation for next Saturday’s game against Oxnard Guerreros FC. Even though the team is eliminated from playoff contention, the defender still thinks they have a lot to show.

“I was really sorry that I missed last game, but we still have three more to go and we want to finish the season well, even though we cannot make it to the playoffs anymore. I still believe we are the best team in this league and we have to show it.”

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