K League United
·28 March 2023
K League United
·28 March 2023
At Suwon World Cup Stadium in Round 4 of the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1, following a 3-1 victory over Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Daejeon Hana Citizen fans celebrated a K League 1 away win for the first time since 19th August 2015. On that humid summer's day, the Purples picked up a 2-1 victory against Gwangju FC, but where are the players who started for Daejeon that day now?
By the summer of 2015, Daejeon Citizen's team looked almost unrecognisable compared to how it did at start of the campaign. There was a new manager in charge in Choi Moon-sik after the late Cho Jin-ho was harshly sacked in the spring, and many of the players were wearing squad numbers in the 70s and 80s after a summer spending spree and a desperate attempt to avoid the drop.
At Gwangju World Cup Stadium in Round 26, of what was then the 'Hyundai Oilbank K League Classic,' Daejeon fans experienced something that they wouldn't do again until 2,769 days later - an away victory in the top tier of Korean football.
The Purples beat Gwangju FC 2-1 with both goals coming from Wanderson, the first in the 22nd minute with Kim Jong-gook providing the assist, the second in the 76th minute. But where are the players now?
1. Park Ju-won
Park Ju-won, now 32, is currently at K League 2 side Chungnam Asan and remained with Daejeon until the end of the 2021 season. But after falling behind Kim Dong-jun in the pecking order, Park left for pastures new. last year, his first season away from Daejeon permanently, Park made 13 cleansheets, the joint-third most in the division. In total, Park made 105 appearances for Daejeon and kept 28 cleansheets.
Now 35, Kim Tae-bong is with currently in K7 with amateur team Geonyung FC which is based in the Yongsan area of Seoul. Kim left Daejeon in 2017 and spent two seasons with Gyeongju KHNP in the now-defunct National League before a one-year spell with Gimhae Citizen. Kim has struggled with injuries throughout his career, forcing him to drop out of K League. He featured 38 times for the Purples, scored three and assisted four.
29. Kim Sang-pil
Kim Sang-pil retired in 2020 and now, aged 33, runs a youth coaching academy called Feels Football. In 2021 he was registered with K5 team Gwangju Bianam FC but after leaving Daejeon Kim played for Asan Mugunghwa in their 2018 K League 2 title-winning campaign before leaving for FC Mokpo in 2019 then Cheonan City in 2020. Kim played 27 times for Daejeon, 19 in K League 1.
5. Álvaro Silva
Now 38, Álvaro Silva is currently without a club but was recently back in Spain, his country of birth, playing for Antequera CF in the fourth tier. The former Philippines international stayed with Daejeon until the summer of 2016 but was allowed to leave and soon after joined Ha Noi FC in Vietnam. Since then he has played in four different countries for six different clubs including United City in the Philippines, BG Pathum United in Thailand, and Kedah FA in Malaysia. While in Daejeon colours, Álvaro turned out for the club 26 times, seven in K League 1.
72. Geum Kyo-jin
Full back Geum Kyo-jin signed for Daejeon in the summer of 2015 to help steady the ship. Geum played 15 times for Daejeon Geum and, now aged 31, is currently on the books of FC Mokpo in K3 having joined from Goyang KH in January 2023. He left Daejeon in January 2016 and signed for Gyeongju KHNP in the National League but was limited to just four appearances due to injury. That summer he made a surprise move to FC Seoul but as there was no official announcement few fans were actually aware. In 2017, he joined Seoul E-Land before dropping out of K League and into the semipro game with Gimpo Citizen, Cheonan City, and Pocheon. He has won the K4 title twice while completing his military service, once with Goyang KH in 2022 and once with Pocheon in 2021.
71. Son Seol-min
Son Seol-min was another mid-season recruit and joined Daejeon on loan from Gangwon FC in the summer of 2015. He returned to his parent club that December but where Son is now is unknown to most football fans as his last club was Gangneung Citizen in 2019. Now 32, Son left Gangwon in 2017 and joined Incheon Citizen before moving to Gangnenug. Son played just nine times for Daejeon and failed to score or assist even once.
20. Ahn Sang-hyun
Former club captain Ahn Sang-hyun is another who seemed to have just dropped off the face of the earth. Ahn has had more than one spell with Daejeon having also rejoined the club in 2018 but has since dropped out of the professional game after a two-year hiatus and plays for K5 team Seoboo FC in the Daejeon, Sejong, Chungnam regional division. Ahn left Daejeon for the second time in 2019 and played 82 times for Daejeon across the two spells, scoring three and assisting one.
7. Kim Jong-gook
Central midfielder Kim Jong-gook is on the books of K League 2 side Chungnam Asan where he has been since January 2020. Kim joined Daejeon from Ulsan in January 2014 and left two years later for Suwon FC. He returned to the Castle Park club after military service with Asan Mugunhgwa in October 2018. Now 34, Kim has won two K League 2 titles, one with Daejeon in 2014 and one with Asan in 2018. For Daejeon, Kim made 52 appearances, registering two goals and three assists.
81. Gong Tae-ha
Winger Gong Tae-ha, now 35, is another who has dropped out of the professional game. He joined Daejeon in the summer of 2015 from TOT SC in Thailand and played seven times over half a season with the Purples before leaving for Busan Transportation Corporation FC in January 2016. He spent a year there before dropping out of the game and into amateur football.
Brazilian forward Niltinho, now 29, joined Daejeon in July 2015 on loan from AD São Caetano but returned to his parent club at the end of the season. He is currently on the books of Valletta FC in Malta's top division where he joined from Greek second-division side Panachaiki GE in January 2023. Since leaving Daejeon, Nitinho has had a nomadic career in his native Brazil having turned out for six different clubs and even had a short stint in Portugal with Chaves. For Daejeon, Niltinho played 12 times and failed to find the back of the net even once. He did, however, register one assist.
Wanderson is the only player from Daejeon's last K League 1 away win still to be playing in the top division in Korea having rejoined Pohang Steelers in 2022. It's his third spell with the club and has also played for Jeju United and Jeonnam Dragons. Wanderson stayed at Purple Arena until the summer of 2016 but returned to his parent club in Brazil, Tombense. Wanderson, now 33, played 35 times for Daejeon, scoring 15 and assisting four.
31. Oh Seung-hoon, now 34 - Daegu FC43. Lee Woo-jin, now 36 - Without club4. Yun Jun-seong, now 33 - FC Anyang12. Yoo Yeon-seung, now 31 - Hwaseong FC99. Lee Hyun-seung, now 24 - Without club73. Han Eui-kwon, now 29 - Fagiano Okayama (Japan)
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