|Born:||August 3, 1994|
Seoul, South Korea
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||182 lb (83 kg)|
|High school:||Ridgewood (NJ)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Younghoe Koo (Korean: 구영회, pronounced YOUNG-way; born August 3, 1994) is a South Korean-born American football placekicker who is currently a free agent. He played college football for the Georgia Southern Eagles. As a senior, he earned all-conference honors in the Sun Belt Conference. Koo became a starter for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL) as an undrafted free agent in 2017 before being released four weeks into the season.
Koo was born in Seoul, South Korea, to Seungmae Choi and Hyunseo Koo. He played soccer growing up, and won a regional kicking competition. He attended sixth grade in the United States after moving to New Jersey to live with his mother, who had gone to the country two years earlier to become a nurse while Koo's father remained in Seoul as a university professor.
Koo played on the football team for Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was named team MVP his senior season, contributing on both special teams and defense, where he tallied six interceptions.
Koo was a four-year contributor for the Georgia Southern Eagles, earning all-Sun Belt first team honors in his final season, during which he converted 19 of 20 field goal attempts. Koo was also named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the best college kicker in the nation. At the conclusion of his college career, Koo ultimately converted 88.6% of his field goal attempts, a Georgia Southern team record.
Koo signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft. He won the starting job over incumbent kicker Josh Lambo following the conclusion of the preseason. Koo became the fourth player in NFL history to be born in South Korea.[a]
In the 2017 season opener at Denver, Koo's game-tying 44-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game was blocked by the Broncos' Shelby Harris, and the Chargers lost 24–21. The kick had little chance of succeeding after Denver overwhelmed the Chargers' line on the play. An earlier attempt by Koo was successful, but it was called off after the Broncos had called a timeout right before the snap. The following week, Koo missed a game-winning 44-yard attempt in a 19–17 loss to Miami.
The following two weeks, Koo converted both of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra points. However, the 0–4 Chargers waived him after Week 4, replacing him with 10-year veteran Nick Novak. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn stated that he wanted "someone with a little more consistency and experience" than Koo. Lynn added that "I think Koo is going to have a long NFL career. I told him that this happens to a lot of rookies. A lot of rookies get cut early in their career, and they come back and play for a lot of years." "Koo's a very talented kicker," Novak said. "He's got a live leg and a lot of talent." Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports wrote that "At 0-4, it looks like the Chargers are using [Koo] as a scapegoat."
On January 14, 2019, Koo signed with the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). On February 9, he scored the first points in AAF regular season history, making a 38-yard field goal against the Orlando Apollos. After the Legends started the 2019 AAF season 0–3, on March 3, Koo kicked two field goals, including the 33-yard game winner against the Arizona Hotshots to seal the 14–11 Atlanta win. The following week against the Memphis Express, he made all three of his attempts, including the game-winning 35-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining to secure a 23–20 victory, and was eventually named AAF Special Teams Player of the Week. Koo was one of three kickers in the AAF to maintain a perfect kicking record throughout the entire lifetime of the league. The league ceased operations in April 2019.
- "NFL 한국인 키커 구영회, 4경기만에 방출 조치". www.nocutnews.co.kr. October 6, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
- "Younghoe Koo". gseagles.com. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
- Sullivan, Tara (May 11, 2017). "Sullivan: Former Ridgewood kicker Younghoe Koo pursuing NFL dream". Bergen Record. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Yu, Brendan (June 14, 2017). "This Korean-Born Kicker Is Fighting for a Spot on the LA Chargers". NBCNews.com. Archived from the original on July 11, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "5 things to know about new Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo". May 2, 2017.
- Sulivan, Tara. "Sullivan: Former Ridgewood kicker Younghoe Koo pursuing NFL dream", The Record (Bergen County), May 11, 2017. Accessed May 12, 2017.
- "Younghoe Koo - 2013 Football Roster - Georgia Southern Athletics". www.gseagles.com.
- "5 things to know about new Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo". May 2, 2017.
- Henne, Ricky (May 1, 2017). "Chargers Agree to Terms with 15 Undrafted Free Agents". Chargers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
- Alper, Josh (September 2, 2017). "Chargers cut Josh Lambo, keep Younghoe Koo at kicker". profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- Manza Young, Shalise (September 3, 2017). "Rookie Younghoe Koo wins Chargers kicking competition, continuing his fantastic story". Yahoo.com. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Wang, Jack (September 11, 2017). "Chargers' comeback falls short as blocked field goal seals 24-21 loss to Broncos". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Sherman, Rodger (September 17, 2017). "This Time, the Missed Game-Winning Kick Is Younghoe Koo's Fault". The Ringer. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- DiGiovanna, Mike (October 5, 2017). "Chargers waive rookie kicker Younghoe Koo and replace him with veteran Nick Novak". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Henne, Ricky (October 5, 2017). "Chargers Sign Kicker Nick Novak; Waive Younghoe Koo". Chargers.com.
- "Chargers give rookie Koo the boot, sign Novak". ESPN.com. October 5, 2017.
- "Chargers move on quickly and cut rookie kicker Younghoe Koo". sports.yahoo.com.
- Koo, Younghoe [@YounghoeKoo] (January 14, 2019). "Looking forward to this new @TheAAF opportunity. #enjoythejourney" (Tweet). Retrieved February 6, 2019 – via Twitter.
- "Two Former Eagle Players Make AAF Rosters". Georgia Southern Eagles. February 1, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Kercheval, Ben (February 9, 2019). "AAF Week 1 scores, highlights: Spurrier calls 'Philly Special' for TD, Orlando and San Antonio win openers". CBS Sports. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
- Gordon, Grant (March 3, 2019). "Younghoe Koo kicks Legends to first AAF victory". National Football League. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Garcia, Jeff (March 12, 2019). "Commanders QB Logan Woodside named AAF offensive player of the week". WOAI-TV. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
- Swanson, Matt. "AAF Kicking Season Leaderboard". NoExtraPoints. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- Michael Rothstein, Seth Wickersham (June 13, 2019). "Inside the short, unhappy life of the Alliance of American Football". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
- "Younghoe Koo: Won't sign with Chicago". CBSSports.com. Retrieved May 14, 2019.