“It is the process of restoring the ‘Feeling of FC Seoul’.”스포츠토토
Coach Ahn Ik-soo (58), who met on the 15th at GS Champions Park in Guri-si, Gyeonggi-do, where the professional soccer FC Seoul training ground is located, said about the good performance at the beginning of this season, “I want to please the fans with good results and contribute to the growth of Korean football.” .
In other words, saying that ‘FC Seoul is recovering’ means that ‘it has not been like FC Seoul in the past’. FC Seoul, which won the league championship six times, is a prestigious club representing the K-League. However, if you look at the results of the last three years until last season, it was far from a prestigious club. 9th in 2020, 7th in 2021, and 9th in 2022, finishing the season in the bottom ranks for three consecutive years. There are 12 teams in K League 1 (first division).
Coach Ahn, who took over as FC Seoul command tower in September 2021, said, “The team has been on a downward trend since 2016. As a team related to Seoul, I have thought that it should be a team that gives a good message to Korean soccer, but it hurt my pride.” FC Seoul also narrowly avoided relegation to the second division by finishing 11th in 2018.
This year, in the third year of manager Ahn’s appointment, FC Seoul has changed. As of the 19th, after 13 games per team, they are in second place with 23 points (7 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses), following leader Ulsan (34 points). It has the same number of points as Jeju and Pohang, but it is second in terms of points. Ahead of the season opening, coach Ahn said, “We will make it a year for both players and fans to regain the pride of FC Seoul.” So far, this promise has been kept well.
FC Seoul scored 27 goals (average 2.1 goals per game) in 13 matches this season. This is the highest score among 12 teams. Last season, FC Seoul scored 43 goals (average 1.1 goals) in 38 matches, ranking only 11th in team scoring. Coach Ahn expressed satisfaction with the scoring ability, which had improved nearly twice compared to last season, saying, “A goal is the result of all the players’ efforts, and it is also a process in which the team becomes one.” Na Sang-ho (27) is at the forefront of FC Seoul, which has strengthened firepower this season. Na Sang-ho ranks first in scoring and attack points with 10 attack points (8 goals, 2 assists). Coach Ahn said of Na Sang-ho, “He was originally a player who had a lot of good energy. If he stays the way he is now, he will be able to fly higher.”
Coach Ahn started his professional career in earnest only when he was in his second year of high school, much later than his peers. He did not enter college as a special education student, but entered through exams. He started playing soccer late, but became a professional player and wore the Taegeuk mark. He also participated in the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Coach Ahn said, “I started playing soccer later than others, so I split my day into ‘morning, morning, afternoon, and night’ and trained four times a day and studied soccer.”
Coach Ahn’s theory is that the amount of time the ball is stationary during a game should be as small as possible. That way the fans can have fun and keep their eyes on the game. It is because of this football philosophy that the so-called ‘Iksoo Ball’, which constantly presses the opponent and allows the ball to move organically from the goalkeeper to the forward striker, was born. The doctoral dissertation he received in 2010 also compared actual playing time between the K-League and the English Premier League (EPL). Known as a director who reads a lot of books, he said that he is also reading books related to conversational artificial intelligence (AI) ‘ChatGPT’. Director Ahn said, “I can’t read a lot of books because of the fierce competition for rankings, but I want to think about how ChatGPT can help soccer when the season is over.”