Kim keen to follow in dad’s footsteps

Peter Howe

Jayden Kim has been in a spin since he arrived in Australia in December last year with his parents to begin the next phase of his life.

A rising baseball prospect in his home country, the 16-year-old’s dreams have continued in Australia.

He dreams of following in his father’s footsteps, David Kim, who is currently a scout for the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball and has played baseball for Victoria and in the Australian Baseball League.

Kim played his early baseball in South Korea for his Little League city team, Ilsan West. Kim was often picked as the most valuable player and went on to win the record five championships in one year.

“In South Korea, we don’t really play a regular season, but many tournaments,” he said. “I started playing when I was 10 years old after a short stint playing soccer and tennis. I like them both but I love baseball.”

Kim had no time to settle into his new school at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy before he was selected to play baseball for Victoria at the under-16 level after try outs in January.

He went through a selection process of eight games and following those games, Kim was selected to represent Australia at the World Baseball Softball Confederation under-18 World Cup in Florida in September.

“I was selected from 40 players and was privileged to be selected in the Australian team,” he said.

“We played 10 teams from around the world including the USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and South Africa.”

From that tournament Kim was the youngest player chosen by MLB to join a world select team to play various professional and university teams in Arizona.

“It was an amazing time,” Kim said. “I was coached by MLB coaches some who had coached for over 17 years.

“It was a great opportunity for me to learn about different languages ​​and cultures. I also learned about the way other countries play baseball.”

Kim is very dedicated to being the best he can be, wanting to get into a university in America and become an MLB player.

He trains every day at home, while he also trains three days a week at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy.

Kim plays his weekend baseball for Sandringham Royals in both the under-18’s and seniors in the Baseball Victoria Summer League. The Royals are his dad’s David’s team.

Kim, who currently plays shortstop, has made quite an impression at both his school and his club since he arrived in Australia.

“It was hard at first,” he said. “I was born in Korea but have Australian citizenship too.

“I wasn’t sure how I would be able to adapt. Thankfully, my parents and my sister help me a lot.”

Kim is this month’s Don Deeble Sports Award nominee. The Don Deeble Sports Star Award is sponsored by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, Strathmore Community Bank, the Deer Park Club, Ascot Vale Sports and Trophies and The Star Weekly Newspapers.

To nominate someone or attend the monthly dinner, contact swrsportsclub@gmail.com or 0408 556 631.

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