IRVINE, Calif. – USL Championship club Orange County SC announced on Thursday the award of the first USL educational scholarship to 15-year-old Sunheon Hwang of Irvine. Hwang becomes the first recipient of the Bellevue University scholarship under the partnership between the USL, its clubs and Bellevue University in the program’s history.
“This is another landmark moment for our pathway to pro and we are grateful for the partnership between the USL and Bellevue University,” said OCSC President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. “Sunheon is a special soccer talent and a first-class student and there could not be a more deserving player for the first ever OCSC educational scholarship! We are looking forward to developing Sunheon in our professional environment while supporting his ongoing education!”
For OCSC, awarding the first Bellevue University scholarship represents another first for the club with regards to youth soccer players and the club’s commitment to providing the best pathway to professional soccer around the world.
“It’s been amazing playing for OCSC 2 and just being in a professional environment as a younger player,” said Hwang. “Every day, I learn more from high quality coaches and players around me that push me to do more all the time. I hope to continue working with this team and play the game I love at a high level.”
Hwang is an honor roll student at Crean Lutheran High School, and currently plays for OCSC2. Prior to joining the club, Hwang played for OCSC Youth Soccer Network affiliated club West Coast FC. In May, Hwang was selected to compete in Orange County SC’s USL Academy squad which competed in the USL Academy Cup Tournament in Tampa, Fla.
15-year-old Sunheon Hwang competed for Orange County SC at the 2021 USL Academy Cup in Tampa, Fla., and on Thursday was announced as the first recipient of a USL Bellevue University Scholarship. | Photo courtesy Morgan Tencza / United Soccer Leagues
“Helping students like Sunheon achieve both their dreams – of earning a college degree and having a professional soccer career at the same time – is what Bellevue University does best,” said Dr. Mary Hawkins, university president. “Sunheon exemplifies our hard-working students and we’re very excited to see him take advantage of the opportunity to achieve his goals on and off the field.”
“This exciting announcement for Sunheon represents the purpose of the USL and Bellevue University partnership,” said Josh Keller, Sr. Vice President of Partnerships at the United Soccer League. “This scholarship is the result of a continued commitment from the league and its clubs to provide a unique and impactful professional player pathway, which includes a world-class education from Bellevue. We look forward to celebrating more of these stories across the league in the coming years.”
The USL scholarship was established in July of 2021 and each member club of the USL Championship and League One are granted one full scholarship annually to award to a player to pursue their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Bellevue University is the Official Education Partner of the USL.