“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, despite the age of 20, he is already showing off his ability to grow into a big player. 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 (demotion) and Hunpung (promotion), his skills developed as well as his mental maturity.
Um Ji-sung’s growth has also been proven internationally. He proudly showed his face to 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… The only K leaguer
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.
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-sung graduated from Kumho High School, a youth team in Gwangju, and made his professional debut right away. It was a move worthy of his leading role in opening the ‘Kumho High Renaissance’ with Jeong Ho-yeon, Heo Yul, Jo Seong-kwon, and Joo Young-jae.
In the 2021 season, when he was a rookie, he showed a piece of the big fish. He appeared in 37 games and collected 4 goals and 1 assist. For a rookie, it was an acceptable record. However, it was a result that did not live up to his name. 안전놀이터
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.
Prior to this, in 2019, Um Ji-seong made his first relationship with the 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.