Lee Woo-jin (18-Gyeongbuk Cheongo) has signed a contract with Vero Valle Monza of the Italian men’s professional volleyball league.
“We have signed an internship contract with 195-centimeter-tall outside hitter Lee Woo-jin,” Monza said on its website on July 7 (local time). “Top teams in the Korea Volleyball Organization (KOVO) wanted to sign Lee Woo-jin, but he decided to go to Italy without participating in the KOVO rookie draft.”
As the Italian league prohibits foreign players under the age of 19 from participating in official matches, Lee will first sign an internship contract and then sign a formal contract in February next year. The terms of his contract have already been agreed upon, including the salary he will receive as an ‘official player’.
“Lee Woo-jin is an outstanding talent who is being watched around the world,” said Sporting Director Claudio Bonati, “and his decision to move to Italy instead of a stable life in South Korea speaks volumes about his adventurous nature. We strongly wanted him and will carefully evaluate and develop him.”
Lee made a name for himself on the world stage in August of this year at the U19 World Volleyball Championship in Argentina. South Korea finished third for the first time in 30 years, and Lee was named to the best seven. 캡틴토토
Faced with the choice of playing in the Korean professional volleyball league or attending college, Lee chose to play overseas when Monza offered her a contract.
She is the first Korean volleyball player to play in a European league directly out of high school.
Since the inauguration of the Korean Professional Volleyball League in 2005, Moon Sung-min (Hyundai Capital) played in the German League before graduating from Kyungpook National University in 2008.
In the women’s game, Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life) played in the V-League and then went on to play in Japan on loan before playing in the Turkkiye League.
In the past, Park Ki-won, the current general manager of the Thai national team, Cho Hye-jung, the former GS Caltex manager, and Kim Ho-cheol, the current IBK head coach, all made it to Europe after playing for Korean unemployment teams.