Kyushu club Sagan Tosu have captured Kim Jung-Ya (Defender, 24) on loan for the entire 2013 season, being the first North Korean to be confirmed in their squad for the coming season. He joins a repertoire of South Koreans for the surprise package of 2012 in J1.
Kim joined Gamba in 2011 from Komazawa University but struggled to make any impact under Nishino, Serrão and Matsunami. He made just a total of ten league appearances in the last two seasons and added eight more in cup and ACL games, scoring no goals. In terms of league games, he made just 422 minutes worth of appearance time and only started four matches. Furthermore, he was an unused substitute in 22 games. He was always going to be down the packing order with players like Yamaguchi, Nakazawa, Konno and Iwashita in the team. Additionally, he failed to pull your attention when he did play, sometimes looking a bit out-of-place and unsure of what the word “defence” actually means.
Sagan Tosu is certainly a team where he can learn his trade a bit better and get some more playing time. The Korean influence in the club might just help him feel more comfortable and there will be less pressure on him at a team like Sagan, which is no offense to them. This year will see whether they have the metal to survive “second season syndrome” and hopefully Kim will be an important part of that battle. Good luck, Kim!