TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS:Signing
The Vancouver Whitecaps looked across the Pacific to make a big splash on Wednesday, announcing the signing of South Korean international midfielder Hwang In-beom as a Young Designated Player.
The Whitecaps acquired Hwang via transfer from South Korean club Daejon Citizen. He is signed through 2020, with club options for 2021 and 2022.
“Hwang is an exciting young talent who we identified early as one of our primary targets,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos in a statement. “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.”
Hwang, 22, is fresh off his first senior international tournament, having just featured for South Korea in the 2019 Asian Cup. He played in all five of the team's games (four starts), though they were shocked by Qatar – who will face Japan for the title on Friday – with a 1-0 loss in the quarterfinals. Prior to his participation in the Asian Cup, Hwang was also a key part of South Korea's Under-23 squad that won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. In total, Hwang has earned 12 caps and scored one goal for the Taeguk Warriors' senior side.
At the club level, Hwang has spent the majority of his career at Daejon Citizen, where he turned pro in 2015 and quickly became the youngest goalscorer in club history. Daejon were relegated that year, and have played in the K League 2 since. In total, he has over 100 professional appearances in his four years as a professional and was named to the K League 2 Best XI in three consecutive seasons.
In 2018, Hwang started the two years of military service required of all South Koreans and went on loan to fellow second-division club Asan Mugunghwa, which is comprised of players serving their military duty. However, he was discharged from the military and returned to Daejon after winning gold in the Asian Games.
The Whitecaps will open their season on March 2 at home against Minnesota United.