The Asian Quarter has finally taken its first steps.
Following the non-face-to-face selection of players for the women’s division on April 21, the men’s division had a face-to-face tryout in Jeju Island for three days and two nights from April 25. The reaction of the clubs, which had been reluctant until 23 women and 36 men applied, gradually changed. Without missing a golden opportunity that effectively reinforced the necessary parts of the team, even the lowest ranked team exercised the nomination right. Of course, it was the first time, so there were some regrets, but this is a problem that time will solve. Now, the Asian quota is an irresistible trend. The V-League first introduced foreign players in the men’s division in the 2005-2006 season, at the beginning of its launch, to create the current framework. The men’s and women’s Asia Quarter, which begins ahead of its 20th anniversary, heralds another change.ㅋㅋㅋ벳
●The men’s players who showed their desperateness that the V-League had forgotten about
The 24 applicants who gathered in Jeju Island were desperate. He tried to show his ability even once more while playing 7 sets of 15-point 1-set matches in a row. Amondep Konhan of Thailand national team. Thanks to coach Park Ki-won’s opportunity to participate, he took a two-day vacation and boarded a plane to Jeju. Although he is noticeably smaller, he hits Spike with all his soul. Batsuri Batur, a Mongolian national, plays in the Azerbaijani League. After a whopping 24-hour flight, I stepped on Jeju land. It was a difficult journey from Azerbaijan to Turkey to China due to visa issues. He showed his earnestness by overcoming the fatigue of a long flight with a will to run. On the other hand, seven Indonesian national team players were not allowed to participate by the association, so even the opportunity to participate disappeared.
Most of the applicants for the Asian Quarter said that the V-League was “the dream stage they longed for.” It was not easy for everyone to come to Jeju Island, but despite many difficulties, they dreamed of a Korean dream. Their attitude towards volleyball has been compared to that of native players who have lost their sense of urgency due to the bubble of richness and popularity. Will our V-League be able to regain its former ardor and earnestness? At some point, the Asian Quarter applicants gave a big resonance to our players, who lost their spirit of challenge due to the large salary and popularity bubbles, and even the pure passion to revive the popularity of volleyball disappeared.
●Expected effects of catfish
It seems that 3-4 of the men’s Asian quota selected on the 27th will soon become the team’s main players. Even in the women’s division, some players seem to be more competitive than the team’s main players. Their annual salary is $100,000 including tax. Excluding taxes, the actual money in hand is about 80 to 90 million won. If you consider the salaries of the current key players in each team, it is easy to compare how excellent the cost performance is. Supply has not been able to keep up with demand, so now the V-League is in the position of player A and club B. Due to the poor human resources of amateur volleyball, native players are now enjoying tremendous benefits. You don’t have to put in a lot of effort to become a starter, and once you occupy a position, you are guaranteed a large salary without losing it easily.
The competitiveness of the league, which is gradually deteriorating, is expected to change with the introduction of the Asian Quarter. Now, native players have to compete for seats with foreign players who look similar. I expect that I will work harder than before because I could lose my job. It is the ‘catfish effect’ created by the Asian Quarter. A club official said, “If they succeed, we have to admit that the policy we have been doing is wrong. In that respect, I am honestly afraid of what the Asian quota will lead to,” he confessed.
The popularity is skyrocketing now, but many people are concerned about the poor performance of the women’s team. While Kim Yeon-kyung is in the V-League, she may not be seen as an optical illusion effect, but her fateful hour continues to draw near. Today of the women’s national team, which fell to the bottom after Kim Yeon-kyung was missing, could be the tomorrow of the V-League. It is now difficult to guarantee a medal in the Asian Games, let alone compete in the Olympics, on the international stage. In the midst of this, it is futile to shout to the players to work hard. When reality is comfortable, humans are instinctively satisfied and demand more comfortable things. Predators must be present to create a healthier V-League ecosystem. Unlike foreign players who are limited to a specific position, Asian quarter players have the same skin color and similar body shape. Skills will be compared more easily and directly.
●Influx of new audiences and internationalization of the V-League
Korean Air was the only choice in the men’s tryout. Mark Espejo was selected from a team that had two outside hitters for the national team. An official from the club said, “It was a similar reaction to when Vijena was selected in the tryout.” During the interview, when I told him, “Korean Air has two national team competitors,” Espejo proudly said, “I am also a Philippine national team player.” The proud man reminded me of Park Chan-ho, the first major leaguer. The reason that our baseball fans became familiar with the major leagues was when Park Chan-ho started playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 130-year-long history of the major leagues began as a ball game played by a few white people, but it wrote a successful history by embracing players of various origins. The emergence of iconic major leaguers such as Lou Gehrig (Germany), Stan Musial (Poland), Joe DiMaggio (Italian), Jackie Robinson (Black), Fernando Valenzuela (Hispanic), Hideo Nomo, and Park Chan-Ho (Asian) has been led to the stadium and led to the purchase of major league broadcasting rights.
Espeho said, “I want to become a tool to increase the popularity of volleyball in the Philippines.” I hope that dream succeeds. The other players selected this time are all symbolic in the volleyball world of that country. If they play in the V-League, the interest of volleyball fans in that country will also increase, and the V-League can rise to an international level. And that’s not all. Currently, there are many multicultural families in Korea beyond imagination. There are also many foreign workers who do hard work in the dark. They need someone to comfort them in their hard life in a foreign country. If a symbolic presence to soothe nostalgia for their home country plays in the V-League, they will find the stadium without being told. The Asian Quarter will surely succeed when fans from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Mongolia fill the stadium to cheer for their players.
● Will the Asian Quarter really dry out the seeds of native players?
The Asian Quarter took a five-year grace period to execute even after the first luck. It was because of public opinion. The club and the Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO) hesitated to claim that the seeds of native volleyball players would dry up if they appeared. But it was just the opposite. Already, more foreign players are active in student volleyball than in the V-League. Mostly from Mongolia, they enter the country on student visas and play as players for their respective teams. If you are worried that the seeds of native volleyball players will dry up because of them, you should stop them first, but in reality it is the opposite. No one in the amateur volleyball world, including the Korea Volleyball Association, even mentions it. Without these international students, there are not enough resources to play volleyball to the point that a team cannot be properly formed. As much as that, the absolute number of children who want to exercise is insufficient in Korea now.
In the meantime, volleyball has been guaranteed easy employment due to limited resources for native players. The high employment rate recorded by the rookie draft every year proves this. However, this is a mirage created by the low competitiveness of the V-League. The odds of a current college graduate getting a good job are far less than that. The 40% employment rate in the V-League is a miraculous figure. There are also examples of other stocks abroad. According to statistics researched by the American Baseball Eagle, only 10.5% of the approximately 36,000 players playing in the American collegiate baseball league in 2020 were selected in the major league draft. The odds of a high school player being selected in the draft were a much lower 0.5%. Nevertheless, the major leagues judged that the supply of players was insufficient with this alone, so another draft was conducted targeting promising players from all over the world.
The V-League also has to be chosen now. We need to think seriously about whether to stick to the current way, where the future is bleak, or whether we will look to promising foreign players to enhance our competitiveness. A veteran coach said, “In order for our volleyball to increase its competitiveness in international competitions, opening the door to new bloodlines is more important than technology.” Now, many countries are competitively promoting naturalization for the national team.
●At the stage for our players who still need it,
the Asian quota starts now. It is necessary to revise the regulations a little more elaborately in various areas. First of all, the scope of participating countries should be expanded. The braver the better, considering overseas market development, balance of forces, and arousing new interest. Salaries should also be raised. I will admit that there is a certain difference with native players, but it will be difficult if the gap widens too much. The parties will lose their motivation and the number of applicants will decrease. Fairness is also an issue. A sense of balance must be maintained so as not to feel that only foreign players are discriminated against based on their nationality.
It doesn’t matter to ace players, but there will definitely be native players who are hurt by the appearance of Asian quarter players. We also have to find a way to give them a chance to play. Clubs that consider efficiency versus investment are burdened with the launch of a second-tier league. If so, we need to gather wisdom to see if there are other ways to give more opportunities to native players without putting additional burden on the club, and if so, what. The Asian Quarter will be supported by fans only when it shows the results of such considerations.