Kang on form for locals

But that’s not the only reason this young striker catches the eye.
His ability on the ball, his willingness to take on any player and an incredibly high work rate have all contributed to the 22-year-old making himself a recognisable figure locally.
Now, competing in the OFC Champions League Preliminary at home in Pago Pago, Kang is being noticed by a much wider audience.
The author of his side’s only two goals in this competition he also scored one of the fasted in the history of the tournament when he found the back of the net just 30 seconds in against Tupapa Maraerenga.
Fortunately celebrating a goal is one of the reasons he loves this game.
“I enjoy the goal ceremony I guess. Whenever I score, I look to the audience and tell myself soccer is a game for everybody – and to enjoy it,” the youngster says.
It’s been an interesting rise to the top of the game for the Korean-born Kang who only recently returned to the Pacific island nation.
“I just returned from Korea, from the military actually,” he says.
“It’s south Korea, since I’m not from the north and it’s two years mandatory to join the army there. I just recently finished so right now I’m back taking classes here and playing soccer at the same time.”
While army service invokes images of regiment and screaming sergeants Kang says it was an enjoyable experience which saw him take on the role of boot camp instructor.
“I used to play soccer there as well with the boot camp people. I had a lot of experience because I used to play here in American Samoa so they let me play in that league too,” Kang recalls.
“I had a really good experience.”
Involved in the game since high school Kang previously played with 2013 FFAS National League champions FCSKSBC. The side this year ended a three-year run of league titles for Pago Youth but Kang doesn’t regret joining the side which has made him feel welcome from the outset.
“They’re all so nice. I think they’ve been nice to me because I’m the MVP,” he laughs.
“No, the coaches are all really good, they’ve taught me a lot and I’ve learnt a lot from these guys.”
As for playing an international competition on home soil, Kang says it’s been great not only for his team, but also other clubs who have been able to see the standard of football in the neighbouring islands.
“The level has been much higher than I expected or anticipated. These teams are all really good,” he says.
“I think we need to put the level in our league up a bit higher now so we can have a better competition and compete with the other teams too. I think it’s really struck the local sides and the message has gotten into their heads that we need to lift ourselves.”
While winning the tournament is out of Pago Youth’s reach now, Kang is hoping the final day will see his side earn their first win – or at least provide him with another chance to score.
“We were losing anyway in that first match and we knew we were going to lose so at least scoring would make me feel better. I felt really good about it – and the team did too.
“I just want to keep having fun and will try and win for the team and for our local fans.”


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