“A tree that has the potential to grow is recognized from the cotyledon.” It is our proverb that means that a person who will succeed has an unusually promising future from an early age.
Gwangju FC Yeong-geon Um Ji-seong fits this phrase perfectly. Born on May 9, 2002, he is already showing off his ability to grow into a great talent even at the age of Yao Yao (弱冠: 20 years old). It is a potential that is evident even in winning the K League 2 Young Player Award in the 2022 season, when he was in his second year as a professional.
Gwangju has gone through ups and downs over the past two years. It fell from K League 1 to K League 2 and then returned to K League 1. Um Ji-seong, who jumped into the professional yard in the 2021 season, shared an honorable time with the team. As Galmad faced Sakpung (relegation) and Hunpung (promotion), his skills developed as well as his mental maturity.
Um Ji-sung’s growth has also been proven internationally. He proudly set his face on the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Men’s U-20 team selected by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). He was recognized as the third objective eye of Koreans, not the subjective point of view, that he is a great fish to play in the big water. This is the background of Um Ji-seong, who inflates his pride and promises 2023.
Named as the protagonist of the right winger… On the afternoon of the
29th (Korean time), IFFHS selected and announced the AFC Men’s U-20 Best 11. In the U-20 team, which is made up of prospective players who will carry the future of Asian football, Umji-seong is the only K-League to occupy a spot. He was selected as the right winger of this team, which was formed in a 4-3-3 format, and kept the pride of the K-League.
◆ AFC U-20 team selected by IFFHS
▲ GK = Masato Sasaki (Japan) ▲ DF = Joshua Rollins (Australia) Jasem Gaber (Qatar) Chase Anrie (Japan) Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Australia) ▲ MF = Cameron Peupion (Australia) Alexander Aoraha ( Iraq) Zajarbek Zalolidinov (Uzbekistan) ▲ FW = Um Ji-seong (Korea) Abdullah Radif (Saudi Arabia) Kharib Suhail (UAE)
Australia showed a strong showing that 3 out of 4 defenders (Joshua Rollins and Jordan Courtney-Perkins) vomited spirits and all 3 were selected. Japan followed suit with GK Masato Sasaki and two other names. The other six places were occupied by Korea, followed by Qatar, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), each occupying one spot.
Um Ji-seong made his professional debut right after graduating from Kumho High School, a youth team in Gwangju. It was a move worthy of the leading role that he played ‘Kumho High Renaissance’ with Jung Ho-yeon, Heo Yul, Jo Seong-kwon, and Joo Young-jae.
In the 2021 season, his rookie season, he showed a piece of great fish. He appeared in 37 games and collected 4 goals and 1 assist. For his rookie, it was an acceptable record. However, it was a result that did not live up to his name.
The 2022 season has changed beyond recognition. He scored 9 goals and 1 assist in 28 games. Although he played fewer games, his offensive contribution was doubled. Also, he scored the most goals among domestic players, excluding Hayes (12 goals), a foreign player. Needless to say, Gwangju was the number one contributor to K-League 1 promotion with the most points in the club’s history and overwhelming points (86).
Last year, he was active as a member of the ‘Taegeuk Corps’. He participated in the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup held in Uzbekistan wearing a Taegeuk uniform. 안전놀이터
Prior to this, in 2019, Umji Sung made his first relationship with Taegeuk Mark. He played a key role in helping Korea reach the quarterfinals at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. In particular, in the 26th minute of the first half against Haiti, he took the lead in winning the match (2-1) by scoring the first goal from a wonderful free kick.
Um Ji-seong, who spent 2022 as an incisive judge, is chasing the ‘two rabbits’ this year. He is aiming for the best 11 in the K-League and also aims to re-select Hwang Sun-Hong division. The hunting ground to drive the first rabbit is K League 1, and the hunting ground to chase the second rabbit is the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held in September, which has been postponed for one year.
The foundation to spread the wings of a leap has already been laid. By showing his face to the AFC U-20 team selected by IFFHS, the motif was prepared. Another ‘hunting instinct’ of Um Ji-sung flashes.