MVP candidate Yang sticks with Hillstate despite pay cut
Yang Hyo-jin inked a three-year contract worth 1.5 billion won ($1.2 million) with Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate on Wednesday, taking a significant pay cut despite still being one of the highest-rated V League players of all time.
The Korean Volleyball Association (KOVO) announced Wednesday, that Hyundai Hillstate cut a three-year deal worth 1.5 billion won with Yang. She will earn 350 million won in annual salary with 150 million won in incentives each year, a sizeable pay cut compared to last seasons 450 million won salary with 250 million won in incentives.
Yang is one of the top players in the V League. A veteran blocker, Yang has been one of the most popular players in the league for over a decade and a national team regular. Korea's fourth-place finish at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games last year has only added to that popularity.
Yang turned professional in 2007, debuting with Hillstate, and has played for the club ever since. Not only is Yang a franchise star, she has topped the board for the most blocks for 12 consecutive seasons, including this season, recording 0.74 blocks per set. She is also seventh on the table for scoring the most points.
Yang is also likely to be named MVP for the 2022 season after a dominant year for the Hillstate, who topped the table with 82 points after 28 wins and three losses.
The 2022 women's V League season was cut short due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases among players. The premature end to the season meant that for the second time in three years, Hillstate were unable to take the title despite dominating for the entire season and being just one win away from winning the trophy.
Hillstate also failed to win in the 2019-2020 season, which was cut short after the first five rounds. They had topped the table that season after winning 20 matches and losing seven. The last time the team took home the trophy was in the 2010-2011 season, when they won 20 out of 24 matches.
Despite being such a key player for the Suwon club, Hillstate opted to cut 32-year-old Yang's salary in order to free up room in the budget to increase the pay of other players after such a dominant season. Yang's 700-million-won salary last season was the maximum permitted in the V League.
Unsurprisingly, Yang received plenty of attention in the free agent market and received offers, reportedly much larger, from other clubs. Despite the financial incentive, the veteran opted to stay in Suwon.
“I want to try winning the trophy again,” Yang announced through her club.
“We narrowly missed out on the trophy twice, two years ago and this season. Hillstate has always given me the best deal and staying with the club was my priority even as a free agent. I want to clinch some silverware with the team that I debuted with before I retire.”
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]