LAFC’s newest addition to the club is Kim Moon-Hwan, a defender for the Korean National Team who previously played in the K League for Busan IPark. Known as one of the best young defenders in Korea, Moon is heading to Los Angeles excited to make a difference both on the field and in L.A.’s large Korean community.
For the first time, here is Moon discussing his move, in his own words:
The first person who told me about LAFC's interest in me was Lee Young-pyo [a former Korean National Team star]. He told me, ‘LAFC is a really good team. You should go there and challenge yourself.’ Then I decided to sign with LAFC, because even though this is a team with a short history, they've won the MLS Supporters Shield and also finished as runners-up in the Concacaf Champions League. My decision was based on my willingness to join a top team in a good league, so that I can compete, grow and ultimately win trophies.
There have been other Korean players who I know that have played in MLS. Hwang In-Beom [Beom played in Vancouver from 2019-2020] told me that the most difficult part for him in MLS was the amount of time it took for him to travel for away games, but he said that what made it even tougher was dealing with frustrations about losing games. He told me, ‘LAFC is a much better team, and they win most of their games. The travel is tough, but if you play for LAFC, you can come home happy after most away games.’
I am very excited about coming to Los Angeles and a team like LAFC. Carlos Vela is obviously a great player, but I've heard that LAFC has more players besides him who are extremely talented. Joining a team like this could make me more competitive as a player, because I'll be playing with top attacking players, and also play against them in training. To have that experience every week, and then going to the national team will help me a lot.
I haven't spoken to Bob Bradley personally yet, but I am looking forward to speaking with him and getting to know him and the team. First, I'd like to test myself in a new environment. The most important thing is for me to adapt to the style of play that the coach wants me to play. I can only be competitive if I can adapt to the coach's demand, and try to display my own qualities within the team that he builds. And because this is my first time playing abroad, I think I have to improve physically to grow more as a player.
I am excited to adapt to the culture and style of LAFC as soon as I can. As for the Korean fans, of course I want to be able to meet them as soon as I can. I also understand that more teams in MLS would be interested in Korean players if I play well here. I'm going to do my best to fulfill the expectations of the fans in LA. This is my first time playing abroad, and it'll also be my first time going to the US. I've heard that LA is a city where baseball player Chan Ho Park [Park pitched for the Dodgers from 1994-2001] had a great relationship with the Korean-American community. He not only became a source of pride for Korean people there, but he himself was able to overcome difficulties throughout his career because of the support he received from the Korean-American community. I want to communicate with the fans in L.A., and become a player who can give them a lot of strength, but also, I'd like that relationship to give me strength as I challenge myself in a new environment.
--- Kim Moon-Hwan