Kim Ki-Dong, the K League’s ‘mastermind’, to take the helm of FC Seoul…

Kim Ki-dong (51), who led the Pohang Steelers to a second-place finish in K League 1 and the Korean Football Association (FA) Cup in the 2023 season, is in talks to take over as the head coach of FC Seoul.

“We are negotiating a contract with Kim Ki-dong as a candidate for the next manager,” a Seoul club official said on Nov. 11.

Kim Ki-dong is a coach who has made a name for himself as a “mastermind” of the K League with his achievements at Pohang, where he began his professional career.

In 2019, his first year in charge, he led Pohang to a fourth-place finish in the K League 1, followed by a third-place finish the following year.

Pohang finished ninth in the league in 2021, but finished as runners-up in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League, and finished third in the K League 1 last year and second this year, finishing in the top half of the table for most of Kim’s tenure, including winning the FA Cup this year.

Kim, who is also known as “maneuvering magic” for his leadership and ability to produce results despite his meager living conditions, won the K League 1 Coach of the Year award in the 2020 season, a rare honor for a manager of a third-place team.

Prior to taking charge of Pohang, Kim served as the national U-23 team coach from 2013-2016 and Pohang’s head coach from 2016-2019, and played for Yugong (now Jeju United) and Pohang.

Seoul, which played the remainder of the season under acting coach Kim Jin-gyu after the resignation of former head coach Ahn Ik-soo in August, has been searching for a new coach to oversee its rebound.

Seoul led the charge this season, drawing a total of 439,290 fans in 19 home games, the first time the club has surpassed 400,000 in single-season home attendance since 2018, when the K League started tracking only paying fans, but finished seventh in the final standings.

After finishing in the bottom half of the table in four consecutive seasons, including this one, the club is in desperate need of redemption and appears to have identified Kim, who is regarded as one of the league’s best tacticians, as the right man to lead the charge.

While the deal has yet to be finalized, Seoul’s signing of Kim is expected to be one of the biggest transfers in the nascent K League Stove League.

Meanwhile, Kim signed a new contract with Pohang in December last year, which ran until 2025. 파워볼


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