FC Seoul
FC Seoul reclaims the throne in 4 years
By gsadmin Date 2016/11/25 Views 15827
FC Seoul reclaims the throne in 4 years

-  New manager Hwang Sun-hong upgrades team performance, earning his second league championship 
-  Seoul advances to FA Cup finals three times in a row aiming at double championship  
- Title of 2016 K League champion made by a concerted effort from fans, club, and players 

FC Seoul has reclaimed their throne of K League championship in four years. In the face of such tough odds, they never gave up, and their unswerving effort paid off handsomely in the end. FC Seoul defeated Jeonbuk Hyundai F.C. in the last round of the 2016 K League Classic, on the back of a decider found by Park Chu-young. The 11 men waited four years for this moment since they won the last championships in 2010 and 2012. Last year, FC Seoul won the FA Cup championship for the second year running. Facing the finals of the 2016 FA Cup, Seoul still got a chance to win both trophies.  

Fans who rooted for their players rain or shine

Seouls championship was not achieved by the club alone. It was thanks to the fans and supporters who rooted for their players through thick and thin. Their trust in the players remained intact even during the rough times when the club was suffering major slumps. Indeed, some 2,000 Seoul fans travelled all the way to Jeonju to witness the historic moment today. While it was an away setting, the stadium was heated up in the presence of the enthusiastic football fans from Seoul. The familiar atmosphere enabled the players to perform well and yield the expected results. 

Unsparing support from owner Huh Chang-soo and GS Group 

Another major enabler of Seouls championship was the unsparing support from GS Group and FC Seoul owner Huh Chang-soo. Mr. Huh, who has cultivated Seoul into the most prestigious football club in Korea through winning K League championships four times since 1998 (2000, 2010, 2012, and 2016), provided ample support for the players and coaching staff, visiting their off-season training sessions every year despite his busy schedule. The employees and executive officers of GS Group made their share of contributions, watching the games on weekends and even on the weekdays,  

The best meets the best. Upgraded performance made possible by Manager Hwang Sun-hongs new strategies  

Seoul suffered a major personnel change in the middle of the season. Dispelling the deep concern, Manager Hwang Sun-hong stabilized his squad quickly. Hwang boosted the teams performance by combining his strategies with the already powerful roster. The new manager also pursued fairer competition by providing more chances to the relatively unknown players. Tasked with leading his team through the three different competitions – K League, ACL, and FA Cup, Hwang proved he knew how to win and showed off his knowhow. In fact, Hwang led Pohangs come-from-behind victory back in 2013, and he made history again, managing to subdue the strong contenders in the top split league competition with four wins and one draw. Since taking the helm of FC Seoul, Hwang has recorded 12 wins, four draws, and six losses, standing at the winning rate of 54.5%.  

Sacrifice and perseverance of players 

Seoul enjoyed the best year in 2016 setting remarkable records both in the ACL and the FA Cup. While the club had to go through a total of 56 games this season, which is a record high for FC Seoul, the players put their team before themselves for the glory of today that they much deserve. 

Best football brand in 2016, the ADePark Trio 
Seoul formulated a truly formidable tripartite combination called the ADePark Trio, referring to the merge in the front line between Park Chu-young, who came back to FC Seoul last season in 7 years, Adriano, who dominated the K League Challenge as top scorer, and Dejan Damjanovic, the living legend who came back to the local league this season. In particular, Adriano boasted elite form throughout the season and led Seouls scoring squad. Dejan showed why he is a household name hitting the mark of 150 goals in the shortest span of time in the K League this season while backing up Adriano as an excellent coordinator. Veteran scorer Park Chu-young served as both a leader and a decider of the game when the chips were down.   

Osrmar Barba, the first foreign captain of FC Seoul

Ormar Barba, the first foreigner to wear a captain badge in history of FC Seoul, fueled Seouls fast momentum throughout the year of 2016, leading his team in and out of the pitch. It was Osmar who helped maintain the stability of the team when it was joined by a new manager mid-season. The Spanish also set up a monumental record by making appearances in 100 matches in the shortest span of time as a foreign field player. Having played full-time in all matches last season, the captain of FC Seoul played in every match this season except for a single game in which he could not take part for accumulated warnings. He boasted superb defense skills as a center back and a defensive midfielder; the number of fouls he made per game was below one, and the total number of warnings over the 37 matches merely stood at six. He was nominated as a potential MVP awardee this season, and the championship in regular season is adding more hopes to the prospect. 

Return of veteran Kwak Tae-hwi adds stability to Seouls defense 

Veteran Kwak Tae-hwi joined the team mid-season to complement the already strong defense of FC Seoul. Having returned to his home team for honorable retirement, Kwak served as the linchpin of the team and offered his ample experiences to FC Seoul. Kim Nam-chun, who forged a staunch wall of defense along with Kwak, boasted a full-blown performance this season, adding stability to Seouls watertight defense. The rest of defenders including Kim Won-sik, Kim Dong-woo, and Jung In-whan too made their share of contributions.  

Best year for Yun Il-lok, Ju Se-jong, Go Yo-han, and Takahagi

Yun Il-lok carried Seouls championship this season, pulling off a total 13 attack points (six goals and seven assists), the best record since his debut in 2011. Winning the weekly MVP in August by finding the only goal in the Super Match, Yun was always there whenever the team was facing a critical juncture. Je Se-jong, who joined a much-cherished team that was FC Seoul, had the best season this year. Ju prove himself to be a decider as well, finding the net for several games during the last phase of the league characterized by a fierce competition among leading groups. Go Yo-hwan too injected vitality into the team, dominating the pitch with active engagements. Yojiro Takahagi led the midfield with his signature pinpoint passes and precise control of the ball. 

Wingers who live on the touchlines, Ko Kwang-min, Kim Chi-woo, and Lee Kyo-ro 

The 2016 season was the best year for Ko Kwang-min as well. Ko, who has been increasingly seen on the pitch, has boasted remarkable performance both in offense and defense over the 33 games he appeared in, securing a berth at the national team. Having celebrated his 100th game in the K League during the 37th round against the Jeonnam Dragons, Ko is raising the hopes that he will be a core component of his team in the future. A 13-year veteran Kim Chi-woo served as indispensable winger for FC Seoul on the back of his pinpoint crossing skills. Kim, who played his 300th game this year, provided a sense of stability to his teammates depending on him on the left side. Both Ko Kwang-min and Kim Chi-woo made it to the list of candidates for the K League Best 11. Lee Kyo-ro, who came back to FC Seoul this summer, bolstered Seouls flanks with his experiences.

Protectors of FC Seoul, the Double Yoo, Yoo Hyun and Yoo Sang-hun

Filling the gap in the final line of defense for Seoul were goalkeepers surnamed Yoo – Yoo Hyun, and Yoo Sang-hun. A later bloomer Yoo Hyun joined the team this season and saved his team from crisis many times, boasting his animal instinct as goalkeeper. Dubbed as god of penalty shootout, Yoo Sang-hun proved himself to be a protector of FC Seoul; his boldness in a spot kick setting paid off not only in the FA Cup competitions but in the memorable game against Incheon on July 17 when he saved his team in a penalty kick with super reflex. The two goalkeepers played their role as shield faithfully, contributing to the games alternately. 

Unsung heroes and future hopes of FC Seoul 

Yun Ju-tae would surprise the opponents with thunderous mid-range efforts, sending shudders down the spines of many during the last minutes of the game. Lee Seok-hyun boasted superb attacking capacity, with an emphasis on coordination between offense and defense. Sim Woo-yeon, who came back to Seoul this season, dominated the air with his towering presence. Shin Jin-ho went to the army after stirring sensation for his team during the early phase this season, and Choi Hyun-tae finished his military duties to come back to FC Seoul this year, preparing for yet another takeoff. 

Simply the best both in performance and in popularity 

It wasnt just championship that Seoul accomplished this time. Seoul also proved why they are the most popular football club in Korea. The team gathered the biggest audience this season by attracting 47,899 football fans in the Suwon match on June 18, and they also topped the competition in the total number of spectators this season by gathering 342,134 fans. Having surpassed the mark of 300,000 spectators for seven consecutive years, FC Seoul became a bona fide number one in the local football league both in performance and popularity. 

Looking forward to the Double 

FC Seoul has reached the milestone of winning the 2016 K League Classic, and yet another challenge is waiting for them. Seoul, a defending champion of the FA Cup, is aiming at achieving double this season by winning the championship both in the K League and the FA Cup. The FA Cup final, which will be the very first Super Match taking place on the ultimate stage, is drawing heated attention from all football fans in Korea. Standing tall as champions of the K League, Seoul will make their final endeavor to reach the apex of Korean football.
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