Louisville City FC coach James O'Connor announced Thursday that midfielder Jonghyun Son has left the club to resume his education at Indiana's Holy Cross College, where he played before signing professionally this year.
Son is also required, as with other South Korean males, to serve at least two years in the military before age 35.
"He's decided to use this time to finish his degree and go back to do his national service as soon as possible," O'Connor said. "Obviously, we thank him for his contributions, respect his decision and wish him the very best."
A former member of South Korea's U12 and U13 Youth National Teams, Son appeared in three regular-season games for LouCity, tallying one shot in goal in 225 minutes played.
He arrived to Louisville an all-conference performer at Holy Cross. As a junior, Son scored five goals in 20 games. Playing a more defensive role as a senior, he boosted a team that registered nine clean sheets.
Son is the second LouCity player this season to return to college; goalkeeper Scott Goodwin also made the decision after accepted to Harvard Medical School. O'Connor signed rookie Tim Dobrowolski in response.
The coach said it's unlikely he'll fill Son's roster spot this year "at this stage, unless we pick someone up and see an exceptional talent we will use for next season." Players must see time in a minimum five games during the regular season to participate in the playoffs, according to United Soccer League rules.
LouCity remains in first place in the USL's Eastern Conference with a 13-3-7 record heading into Saturday's 7:30 p.m. meeting with the Rochester Rhinos at Slugger Field.