Melbourne Victory’s final W-League international has been signed, with South Korean Jeon Ga-eul making history.
Jeon becomes the first South Korean born player to join the W-League, with the 29-year-old having starred for Incheon Red Angels back home.
“The exciting thing is that she brings something here that’s a little bit different and never been seen before,” Victory W-League head coach Jeff Hopkins said.
“She’s a game changer and she has that X-factor. She’s a good dribbler, good passer, she’s got pace and is good one v one while also being a free kick specialist.”
Jeon was also the first South Korean born player to play in a North American league, and has made 82 appearances for her national side since her debut in 2007.
While Jeon can play in a number of positions, Hopkins has already pinpointed an area for her to start.
“She can play as a striker, she can play wide and she’s also played centrally, which is probably where she’ll play for us as an eight or a ten.
“She’s very keen to come over and play and I think she’ll be very successful here.”
Hopkins used his prior experience in Brisbane to unearth the possibility of signing Jeon, and the wheels started to move quickly thereafter.
“I’ve worked for a Korean company in the past in Brisbane, and through one of my contacts and good friends there that I worked with really closely, he’s now in player management and recommended her to us.
“When I saw her, she was right up there with real quality and she’s a bit of a celebrity at home as well. As soon as I saw her, I was really interested and been trying to make the signing happen since.”
Hopkins and Victory will be doing everything possible to help Jeon settle in to Melbourne life and hit her stride on the field as quickly as possible.
“Her manager speaks English, so he’ll be here for the first few days to help her get settled in.
“While he’s here, he’ll be organising an interpreter for her and setting up English lessons.”
While Jeon won’t be available for Saturday’s season opener against Canberra United, Hopkins believes the international will take her place in the side for Round 2’s Melbourne Derby against City.
Melbourne Victory W-League roster
Laura Alleway, Melina Ayres, Mindy Barbieri, Angela Beard, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Casey Dumont (GK), Natasha Dowie, Tiffany Eliadis, Jeon Ga-eul, Christina Gibbons, Alexandra Gummer, Gulcan Koca, Whitney Knight, Annabel Martin, Kristen McNabb, Bethany Mason-Jones (GK), Lia Privitelli, Laura Spiranovic, Adriana Taranto