Lee So-dam, a representative midfielder in women’s soccer, entered the US stage in 2021. Although her challenge was over after one season, she gained a lot. Lee So-dam, who returned to Korea last year through Gyeongju Hansuwon (Korea Hydroelectric Power Resources), is trying to stretch her in the second year of her return.
Lee So-dam is currently working hard with her team, Hansuwon, in Donghae-si, Gangwon-do. Lee So-dam said, “It’s been a long time since the last interview I did before leaving for the United States. It seems like it’s been over a year.” After graduating from Ulsan Science University, Lee So-dam made her professional debut in 2015 through the Daejeon-Gumi Sports Toto. She played until 2017, then moved to Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels, the strongest player in the WK League in 2018, and played an active role. Based on her form at this time, she advanced to her American stage. She is Gotham FC, New York. However, her American career did not last long, and she returned to Korea after only one season. It was through KHNP.
Her return to Korea at KHNP was not easy. The plague of injuries overtook him. Early in the season he suffered a major injury (a cruciate medial ligament rupture in his left knee) and even had to have surgery in April. In September or October, he quickly returned to the team and tried to work with his teammates, but his injury worsened as he used muscles that he didn’t use. Because he transplanted someone else’s tendon, he pushed for a comeback at the point where it took more than a year to settle down, but in the end, it didn’t help the team either.
Lee So-dam was soaked in guilt. He recalled that time, saying, “Every day was painful. Of course, I was sorry to my colleagues. I was really blind.” Director Song Joo-hee and the club supported him. He did it. I also thought that doing my best to come back and contribute to the team would be a reward for that. He rehabilitated hard while whipping himself. I am only grateful to the team,” he said, expressing his gratitude to the club.
Then, how about the current state? It started in earnest during the training in Jeju, so it seems to have come up about halfway. In fact, even if the form is good, it is not easy to improve after taking a year off. The same goes for sight. However, when I catch the ball during training, my teammates are considerate of me when I have to put pressure on them, so I am improving. If you make a mistake, encourage them by saying, “It’s okay.” No consideration in the US. Our players are nice and have great personalities. Respect each other. I learn more by watching them. There are many young players on our team, but there are many good things. I feel that I am not alone in this team.”
As mentioned at the beginning, Lee So-dam is an overseas leaguer. He continued his good form at the time of Hyundai Steel and advanced to the American League, one of the world’s top stages. His American career was short and there were regrets left, but he learned a lot. Lee So-dam said, “The United States has the opposite style to Korea. Probably because of their large physique, they are not only strong but also have excellent speed and are reckless. Both the center back and the goalkeeper are both tall and quick. Korean players) kick it well. Korea and Japan kick it cutely. That’s why I think it works even if our players go out. In fact, a lot of Japanese players go abroad, such as Germany. For us, (G) Soyeon unnie made a good foothold. When I meet my sister, she gives me a lot of advice, such as, “You can do it too. The world wall is high, but if you bump into it, you can overcome it.” , and what he hoped for from the players.
What I envy is the infrastructure and interest. When I heard that a clubmate from my club was appearing in a CF, the marketability was exhausted. Lee So-dam said, “Even though it’s women’s soccer, it seems that tens of thousands of fans come in each game. A lot of women’s national team and Portland games come in. A lot of rural teams also come to watch. In the US, there is a perception that a soccer field is a place where families can go to watch. Even large stadiums are often full, but at least 10,000 people are filled in American women’s soccer. However, the Korean market has also risen a lot. Compared to developed countries, it is not below the level. Unless you are a top star, Korea is much better in terms of money. . It seems that each has its own strengths and weaknesses,” he said, expressing his experiences and feelings.
Now, it is Lee So-dam who must lead the championship by dissolving what he has learned in KHNP. And he said he had received enough faith from the club last year. Lee So-dam said, “Even though he was injured, he trusted and waited for him. Thanks for this alone, he even gave him the title of vice-captain. It was considered as proof of trust, saying, ‘I had a long hiatus because of an injury, but it’s okay’. A player who can lead the players or have a good influence among the staff and players. It seems like you saw it. It’s hard to lead Minji unnie alone. It seems that the teachers made a thoughtful decision to make a good team together. I will repay you with grades.
Since the team was made up of only women, it seemed that there would be difficulties that the male team could not feel. Lee So-dam, who became the sixth or seventh senior in a team of about 20 people, said, “The atmosphere in the team is very good. However, there is no discord between women. . If Minji unnie gives me a carrot, I tend to whip her (laughs). Even on the field, I don’t just praise. Sometimes when things are messy, I have to be able to tell the players to stay alert. It’s hard for unnie alone. The vice-captain ( Kim) Hyeyoung has a good personality. She went through middle school, high school, and university and went through unemployment, and she says everything she doesn’t want to say. That’s why we share our worries a lot. But I make the choice (laughs).
Lee So-dam, who said, “I want to run, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t,” said, “It’s not 100% in the beginning, but I think I can do it with a good physical condition. Being an athlete, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. If you take a two-week break, you have to invest twice as much time to build your body. Personally, it helps me as the main axis to get the best results without injury.
As a member of Hyundai Steel, he said, “It is true that Hyundai Steel has the most outstanding players. They have the most players in the national team and recruit good players every year. On the contrary, Suwon FC Women have always been the hardest. This season, Hyundai is not the only goal. Suwon has strengthened too much, and there are many veterans such as Ji So-yeon and Shim Seo-yeon. There is no team,” he said.
KHNP, which has secured its position as the No. 2 player since the appointment of coach Joo-Hee Song, aims to normalize. However, Lee So-dam insisted that even the achievement of Lee In-ja should not be underestimated, and that his efforts should be fully recognized. Lee So-dam said, “It is true that I missed the championship every time. However, I think I did well to win the runner-up. People only hear about the title, but the players go through great efforts to achieve it. Of course, I do not intend to be satisfied with this. To the fans,’ I won the runner-up, so please know that I will repay you with a championship. 안전놀이터
Lastly, I asked if there was a story that I wanted to include in the interview. Lee So-dam said, “I want to say thank you to the club and coaches who believed in me and waited for me. Oh, and I hope you will include this story. My family always saw me playing in the stadium, but last year it was difficult because they couldn’t do that. It hurts as much as it hurts. I will make my body again and show you how to run well, so I hope you look at me happily.” Let’s look forward to Lee So-dam’s play that will bloom with the new season and spring.