Professional volleyball, which finished the 2022-2023 season, showed opposite aspects in the male and female divisions in the FA (free agent) market that was held afterwards. The men’s division was quiet, but the women’s division was active.
In the men’s division, Na Gyeong-bok (29, 198 cm), who is considered the best outside hitter in Korea, was the only one who changed his uniform. On the 13th, he left Woori Card and signed a free agency contract with KB Insurance for an annual salary of 800 million won (600 million won in annual salary, 200 million won in options). 안전놀이터
Na Kyung-bok, a graduate of Inha University, joined Woori Card with the first pick in the first round of the 2015-2016 draft and won the rookie award that year. In the 2019-2020 season, he was selected as the regular league best player (MVP) and is showing off his top-notch skills by being selected in the V-League Best 7 twice.
Since Na Kyung-bok enlists in the military on the 24th, it is not an immediate sense of power for KB Insurance. However, KB Insurance expects Na Kyung-bok to further enhance the team’s strength from a long-term perspective. If you are selected as a national representative for the upcoming 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games and win a gold medal, you can immediately join KB Insurance.
Other than that, all men’s divisions succeeded in cracking down on rabbits. Korean Air, which achieved a combined championship for three consecutive seasons, captured all three internal free agents: Lim Dong-hyuk (24), Cho Jae-young (32), and Yoo Kwang-woo (38). Hyundai Capital, the runner-up team, also signed new contracts with all three players, Heo Soo-bong (25), Moon Seong-min (37), and Park Sang-ha (37).
In accordance with the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) regulations, KB Insurance provided compensation equivalent to 200% of Na Gyeong-bok’s annual salary for the previous season and one player excluding the 5 protected players. The card must be rewarded. Accordingly, Woori Card chose middle blocker Park Jin-woo (33, 197cm) as a compensation player for Na Kyung-bok’s free agent transfer. With Woori Card’s nomination as a compensation player, the men’s FA market was finished.
In the women’s division, which concluded FA negotiations on the 22nd, 5 out of 20 players moved teams. The remaining 15 remained with their original team.
Heungkuk Life Insurance, which caught ‘Volleyball Empress’ Kim Yeon-kyung (35) for 775 million won, the upper limit of the women’s reward, also left Libero Do Soo-bin (25) and thoroughly cracked down on internal FA. In addition, middle blocker Kim Su-ji (36) was recruited to supplement the height, which was considered a weakness this season. He showed a strong will to challenge again to win the championship match, which he unfortunately missed this season.
Korea Expressway Corporation, the winning team in the championship match, had as many as five key players released as free agents, and had to be content with catching three. Bae Yoo-na (34), Moon Jeong-won (31), and Jeon Sae-yan (27) remained, but local ace Park Jung-ah (30) left for Pepper Savings Bank, and veteran middle blocker Jeong Dae-young (42) left for GS Caltex. Since then, voices of concern about power leakage are emerging as the FA market has been completed without external recruitment.
Hyundai E&C also failed to prevent a power leak. While aiming to recruit Kim Yeon-kyung, he missed Hwang Min-kyung (33), the starting outside hitter. Hwang Min-kyung headed to IBK Industrial Bank. Fortunately, the rest of the players, including Kim Yeon-gyeon (30), Hwang Yeon-ju (37), and Jeong Si-yeong (30), were caught. KGC Ginseng Corporation also held key players such as Han Song-i (39) and Yum Hye-sun (32), but outside heater Chae Seon-ah (31) left for Pepper Savings Bank.
On the other hand, the youngest team, Pepper Savings Bank, which ranked at the bottom for two consecutive years, was unconventional. Following Park Jung-ah, Chae Seon-ah was recruited, and internal free agents Lee Han-bi (27) and Oh Ji-young (35) were all captured. In particular, Park Jung-ah attracted attention by signing a contract with Kim Yeon-kyung, who remained at Heungkuk Life Insurance, for 775 million won, the upper limit of the women’s remuneration.
After GS Caltex recruited Chung Dae-young, both internal FA resources, Civil Hwa (28) and Han Su-jin (24), were retained. IBK Industrial Bank of Korea left Kim Soo-ji, but brought Hwang Min-kyung to prevent a power leak. In addition, he decided to continue to accompany franchise star Kim Hee-jin (32), who is having a hard time with an injury.
Pepper Savings Bank has emerged as a big hand in the free agent market this time, predicting a blast next season. On the other hand, clubs that were in the top ranks this season, such as Korea Expressway Corporation and Hyundai E&C, failed to crack down on domestic rabbits and were put on emergency alert. The result of this FA market is expected to shake the game next season.
Clubs that have lost players in this free agency market can select compensation players just like the men’s division. After the club that recruited the player presents the protected player on the 23rd, they have time to think about the compensation player for three days until the 26th.