The K-League, the training season is about to begin… Ulsan Hyundai to Portugal, Jeonbuk Hyundai to Spain
The professional soccer K-League, which welcomed the new year in 2023, is stretching. Starting in January, we will begin full-scale training at home and abroad while preparing for the new season.
K League 2 (Part 2) Ansan Greeners started off-season training in Jeju Island early on the 28th of last month, while Daegu FC took the first step in winter training in K League 1 토토 (Part 1). Daegu has been training in Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do since the 2nd, after completing a solid foreign team from Brazil by reinforcing Edgar, Serato, and Baselus in existing Cesingya and Pena.
Overseas field training, which had been blocked for a while due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, has also been reopened. This winter, 18 out of 25 clubs in the first and second divisions of the K-League will go abroad. Among them, 14 clubs are heading to Thailand, a popular training ground. K League 1 Incheon United, Gwangju FC, Jeju United, Suwon FC, and Daejeon Hana Citizen are leaving for Chiang Mai. Gangwon FC (Chonburi) and FC Seoul (Huahin) are also preparing for the new season in warm Thailand.
Seongnam FC, which was relegated to K-League 2 after finishing at the bottom of the league last season, will also regroup in Chiang Mai. Seongnam is making efforts to reconstruct the team under the direction of new head coach Lee Ki-hyung, although many key resources such as Kim Min-hyuk, Yoo In-su, Yeon Je-woon, and Park Soo-il have left.
First of all, the resumption of overseas training is welcomed at the site. It is expected to have a positive impact on league performance. In the winter weather in Korea where the mercury plummeted, players had a hard time improving their physical condition in the winter training that started in January. It was not easy to make the body fit for the opening of the season in the chilly temperature that made the body shrink. There were also injuries due to the frozen ground and poorly maintained turf conditions.
The rivals of the Hyundai family leave for Europe side by side and draw attention. The two teams in the neighboring country of the Iberian Peninsula burn a sense of rivalry even before the start of the season. Defending champions Ulsan Hyundai, who reached the top of the league in 17 years, will leave for Portugal on the 21st, and Jeonbuk Hyundai, who failed to win the league championship for 6 consecutive seasons, will leave for Spain on the 16th.
The race to recruit players in the off-season heats up, foretelling a fierce competition to win. Ulsan recruited Joo Min-gyu, who was a top scorer, from Jeju, and also brought in Kim Min-hyeok, the ace of Seongnam FC, a relegation team, to reinforce the native attacking team. Jeonbuk hired Jun Amano, a key striker from rival Ulsan, on loan, and embraced Dong-jun Lee, who played for Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga.
Incheon, which is participating in the Asian Football Association (AFC) Champions League for the first time since its foundation, is also stepping up efforts to reinforce its strength. Incheon trains in Chiang Mai for a month from the 3rd, and then starts the second battery training in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do from the 6th of next month.