Kim Su-ji (36) watched the game as a special commentator for SBS Sports in the 2022-2023 V-League Women’s Playoffs from the end of March.
IBK Industrial Bank, his team, finished the season without spring volleyball in 6th place in the regular league. Kim Su-ji, who visited the court as a commentator from the playoffs, showed off her volubility in the championship match between Korea Expressway Corporation and Heungkuk Life Insurance. And the championship was won by Korea Expressway Corporation. Heungkuk Life Insurance, who took first place in the regular league, suffered a loss in front of the integrated championship.
Kim Su-ji, who watched this scene, became a piece of the puzzle for Heungkuk Life Insurance’s goal.
Kim Su-ji, who qualified as a free agent (FA) after the season, agreed to a three-year contract with Heungkuk Life Insurance in the middle of last month for a total compensation of 310 million won (annual salary of 270 million won, option of 40 million won).
Kim Su-ji, who was active in Heungkuk for three years from 2014 to 2017, contributed to the 2016-2017 season by contributing to the 1st place in the regular league. As for Kim Su-ji, she returned to her parent team after 6 seasons.
Kim Soo-ji, who is taking a break after the free agent market has come to an end, said in a recent interview with Sports Trend, “After the season, I suddenly became a commentator, so I was distracted. After that period was over, I was able to think about it, but there was no such worry as ‘I have to transfer’. He told the story, “As the free agency negotiations began, he was matched with Heungkuk and signed a contract.”
Heungkuk Life Insurance first made a recruitment offer to Kim Su-ji. He offered Kim Su-ji a role as his veteran, saying, “I want you to play the role of an older sister.”
Suji Kim appeared in all 36 games in the regular league last season and ranked 5th in blocking points (0.693 per set). Heungkuk Life Insurance ranked 6th out of 7 clubs with 2.058 per set in terms of blocking points. Kim Suji was the right person to fill in the missing parts of the team.
And the fact that ‘best friend’ Kim Yeon-kyung, who obtained FA qualification together, remained at Heungkuk Life Insurance also affected Kim Su-ji’s transfer.
Kim Yeon-kyung is the most talked about player in the FA market. As Kim Yeon-kyung announced that he would extend his active career, the free agency market became hot as well, as attention was focused on whether or not to retire at the end of the season. And Kim Yeon-kyung decided to remain at Heungkuk Life Insurance.
Kim Su-ji looked back, saying, “When (Kim) Yeon-kyung signed the contract, I also thought, ‘I can play a role when I come to this team’, so I think the decision was a little easier.”
In the process of making this contract, the two touched each other’s hearts to the extent of simply asking each other’s well-being. Kim Suji said, “Rather than talking in detail, ‘Let’s do this or that’, we talked about ‘how are you feeling?’. Even after the FA contract was over, I just said ‘I worked hard’ rather than saying big words.”
Since we keep in touch so often, it doesn’t feel real that I’m playing for the same team. Kim Soo-ji said, “I didn’t join the team and train together, and as usual, I see my face from time to time and just keep in touch as usual. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel it yet, even though I belong to the same team,” he laughed.
The reason why the two wear Heungkuk Life Insurance uniforms next season is the same. Because of the desire to win. Off the court, Suji Kim watched her best friend get frustrated ahead of the combined championship.
Kim Su-ji said, “When I first commented, I thought I had to do well so as not to be harmed.” When I watched the last scene of the championship game, I had to talk about it while watching it from the park, not the court. It made me feel a little bit regretful.”
He said, “I thought that if I had a better season, I could have played there. I also made a promise for the next season,” he said.
Suji Kim, who didn’t think she could be on the team until she became a commentator, now plays in a pink uniform. He said, “As much as I came here, I think I should try to fill in the part that was lacking a little at the end.”
Heungkuk Life Insurance will start preparing for the next season in earnest from June. Kim Su-ji said, “I don’t know how much I can fill yet, but I think I’ll have to prepare hard enough to fill it.” I’m looking forward to that part a lot, and after the season begins, I think I’ll have to think more quickly about how to solve a matchup with any team.”
Last season, the axis of the box office in the women’s division was Heungkuk Life Insurance. Even when Heungkuk Life Insurance went to an away game, a pink wave continued in the stands. Heungkuk Life Insurance mobilized a total of 75,598 people in 17 home games this season. The average attendance is 4447. This is about 2,000 more than the average crowd of 2,476 for the women’s division. There is also a big difference from the average male spectator of 1,553. Kim Yeon-kyung stood at the center of box office success, but Kim Su-ji, who played a leading role in the Tokyo Olympics, is also a star who can attract fans. Kim Suji also gets excited when she thinks of meeting fans at Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon.
Kim Soo-ji, who felt the love of many fans at IBK Industrial Bank, said, “A lot of fans came even when I was in Mars. Isn’t the home stadium of IBK Industrial Bank of Korea in Hwaseong a bit difficult to come by? Even when we went to away games, there were fans who followed every game. When I see people like that, I feel very grateful and amazing.” At the same time, he recalled, “When I came to Samsan World Gymnasium, there were so many people that I thought, ‘Is it sold out today?'”.
The only thing that can repay fans’ love is grades. Kim Suji said, “There are people who like us like idols,” but also added, “Isn’t idol singers popular because they show a pretty image on stage and dance well? Since it is the love we receive as players, we think that we should work hard on the court as much as we have opportunities, and we should feel that much gratitude. I have to have good performance so that I can keep the fans who come to me.”스포츠토토
A good performance is a basic prerequisite for victory after all. Kim Su-ji, who expressed her desire to win 100%, said, “Heungkuk Life Insurance is a team that is thirsty for winning now more than anyone else. I want to help if there is anything that can be helpful so that there can be synergy with other players. All players must be ‘100%’ to be possible.”