Gangwon FC is the most popular team in the K-League 1 of professional football this season. The team that was in the relegation zone last year is competing for the championship this year.

With 16 of the 38 K-League 1 games played, Gangwon (28 points), led by head coach Yoon Jung-hwan, is fourth among the 12 teams. The gap is also not large with top three players, including Ulsan HD (31 points), Gimcheon Sangmu (30 points), and Pohang Steelers (29 points). Considering that he finished the season in 10th place last year and managed to stay in the first division after even playing the promotion playoff, Gangwon’s cruise is truly a major reversal.

Kim Byung-ji, head of Gangwon Province, said in this newspaper that his team’s key to making a splash is “a new vitality.” The team was able to perform well thanks to new players who joined the team ahead of the 2024 season.

“As new players joined (the team), we created a new atmosphere, and the existing players also became good players,” Kim Byung-ji, CEO of the team, said. “We now have an atmosphere in which anyone (in the top 11) plays his role no matter who enters (the top 11).”

In fact, Yang Min-hyuk, who signed a semi-professional contract ahead of this season, has become the hottest icon in the K-League, and Lee Sang-hun, who joined this year, has also contributed greatly to cruising, competing for the top scorer. Lee Ki-hyuk, who turned into a centerback, and Kim Kang-guk and Kim Lee-seok, who are playing as main midfielders, are also new students.

The existence of Yoon Jeong-hwan, head of the team, and Chung Kyung-ho, head coach, who greatly influences offensive tactics, are also important. Yoon and Chung, who came to Gangwon Province last year, are receiving favorable reviews for changing teams in just a year. Last year, the team focused on defense as its top priority was staying in the team, but this season, the team transformed itself into a soccer with strong attack tendency. Time to own balls has increased significantly.

CEO Kim Byung-ji said, “The two played a big role. The two leaders have different personalities, but Yoon Jung-hwan is soft and Chung Kyung-ho is charismatic. I think they are well-matched.”

The team was understandably shaken by the big changes, with a large number of new faces joining and wearing new soccer. However, Gangwon used the Turkiye winter training camp, which took place between January and February, as an opportunity to rebound.

“After spending nearly a month in the Turkiye, we were close to each other even though there were many new players. I was able to talk about the soccer that (newcomers) wanted to play while easily melting down. What the coach was thinking was clear, and we continued to communicate and talk from the training camp.” Rumor has it that Yoon Jung-hwan’s soccer team has seen the light of day since the beginning of the season, and the team’s faith has grown even more. 스포츠토토

Freedom under the discipline set by the team is another factor for the team’s cruising. “(Coach Yoon Jung-hwan) communicates a lot. During off-season training, he had individual interviews with players one by one. The interview room with the coach is always open,” he said. “Yang Min-hyuk always lives at the club house. When we eat, the older brothers always take care of him. He gives a refreshing impression to him, too.”

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