Simon to play for South Korea club side Chunnam

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GOSFORD, Australia (AP)

South Korean club Chunnam Dragons has signed striker Matt Simon from Central Coast Mariners, the Australian team announced Friday.

The 25-year-old made his way into the A-League in 2006, having given up on his job as a plasterer, and has made two appearances for Australia's national team.

The tall striker will play against Gold Coast United on Saturday and Melbourne Victory on Wednesday before leaving for his new K-League team in Gwangyang next Thursday.

Central Coast is in first place in the A-League. Chunnam finished in seventh place in the 16-team K-League this season, 20 points behind champions Jeonbuk.

Mariners chairman Peter Turnbull said his club could not match the lucrative offer for Simon, which he estimated to be about $400,000 a season.

''I don't think any A-League club is able to, under the current financial model, compete with the big overseas clubs,'' Turnbull said. ''This is an opportunity for Matt to set himself up for life with a three-year contract and a salary to match that opportunity.''

Simon said the offer was made just two days ago.

''It is a little bit blurry at the moment,'' he said. ''I'm really grateful to the (Central Coast) club, and how easy they made it for me in my decision to go. It was too good (an offer) to turn down.''

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