Former Seattle Sounders defender Kim Kee-hee announced on Tuesday that he has signed with K-League side Ulsan Hyundai for the 2020 season. Kim, 30, spent two seasons in Seattle, playing an integral role in the Sounders winning the 2019 MLS Cup.
Kim signed with the Rave Green from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua ahead of the 2018 season, joining a defensive group that already included stalwarts like Chad Marshall and Román Torres. The technical, cerebral center back quickly became a fan favorite, starting 64 matches across the MLS regular season and playoffs as he established himself as one of the top defenders in the league.
In announcing his new move, Kim shared a heartfelt post on Instagram, thanking his teammates and the Seattle community for making the club feel like a family.
“As a Korean Major League Soccer player, I was unfamiliar with MLS but was in harmony with the team through the efforts of the consideration of the staff and teammate,” said Kim. “I've almost played 70 games for MLS, CONCACAF Cup through 2018, 2019 season. Eventually hold the 2019 MLS Cup Champion Trophy. I felt honored to play for final match in Century link field with 70,000 home fans.”
#seattlesounders Face to the 2018 season, I transferred to Seattle Sounders FC which is one of the best team in Major League Soccer to challenge new league as well another life environments. As a Korean major league soccer player, I was unfamiliar with MLS but I was in harmony with the team through the efforts of the consideration of the staff and teammate. I've almost played 70 games for MLS, CONCACAF Cup through 2018, 2019 season. Eventually hold the 2019 MLS Cup Champion Trophy. I felt honored to play for final match in Century link field with 70,000 home fans. I would like to thank the Seattle Sounders team especially Head Coach Brian and General Manager Garth for glorious opportunities to join the team. The CB, Big Boy Chad is my perfect pairing partner, Positive iconChristian, best friend Kevin and all teammates are unforgettable teammates. Now my family and I have finished our happy Seattle life. I couldn't forget that The beautiful Seattle night view, Lake Washington, Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park and Crescent Lake excursions. Just keep them in my heart. I'm so excited to play for K-League again with Ulsan Hyundai FC which is the eligible to be Champion in the League, AFC Champions League. Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the fans and Korean immigrants. As well look forward to your continued support for Seattle Sounders I really hope Seattle Sounder to hold the MLS Champion Trophy again. Thanks a lot for Seattle 💚💚💚 Special Thanks to Mr. Soroosh Abdi-Agent Mr. ByeongHwan KIM-Principal
Kim was at the center of some of the club’s top moments across the last couple seasons. The South Korean defender played every minute of Seattle’s record-setting nine-match winning streak during the 2018 season, including a 1-0 victory at the Portland Timbers in August in which he set up the game-winning goal. Kim also played every minute in the 2019 postseason as the Sounders secured their second MLS Cup trophy.
Kim and Ulsan Hyundai will compete for trophies across two fronts this season, having earned qualification for the AFC Champions League.