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Like soccer? Check out South Korea's K-League!

SteveInKorea

2016 October 06

The K-League is South Korea's highest tier soccer league. Composed of 23 teams split into 2 leagues called Classic and Challenge, there is a soccer team in practically every major city. I'll go over what to expect and see when you go to a game and how to find out when teams are playing.

Where to find schedules/tables. 

So, you've got time for a game, but you want to know when the games are held.

  • The easy way: 
    • Go to the league website (http://eng.kleague.com/eng/main.asp) and look at the top row. It will tell you the day, start time and location of the week's games. If you don't see your current city in the Classic board, click on Challenge and the city's team might be in there.
  • The lazy way:
    •  Type your team's name into your Google or Bing and it will show you the team website (Bing) or the most recent match and schedule (Google). From there you can easily find the next match.

 

Getting to the stadium

The stadiums in Korea, in general, are reasonably well-connected by public transit from the city center. Seoul, Busan, and Incheon, for example, have their stadiums connected to the subway line. The rest of the cities have city buses connecting to the stadium. For the most part, even if you went with the taxi option, you won't have to pay much from the city center to the stadium.

 

The stadiums

The games tend to be played in the stadiums that once hosted the 2002 World Cup matches with Japan. This means that, with the exception of championship games, the stadiums tend to be almost completely empty and cavernous. Sellouts are rare. When you arrive, just follow the small to medium sized crowds heading to the ticket booths. If you don't see a crowd, just look for the sign 매표 and you'll be able to get tickets there.

At the stadiums I've been to, ticket prices average between 8,000w to 10,000w for regular seats. Hardly a budget breaker. 

The style of play

Growing up in the US, I did not pay much attention to international soccer. I'd watch a World Cup match on the big 3 networks, or read about a team in Sports Illustrated magazine or whatever. When I first came to South Korea, I was fortunate in that my host city had a team. It was a great opportunity to learn and watch in person, in the words of many like Pele, 'the beautiful game'. So, how do Korean teams play the game?

 

Kicking the ball

 

Step 1: kick the ball. Step 2: Repeat until goal. 

You'll notice some quirks and recurring themes in the way teams play as you watch them.

 

                             Overreliance on the foreign player/superstar

 

 

 

            Offenses don't shoot much outside of the box. 

 

Defense collapses because they think a penalty occurred, leaving the goal defenseless. 

 

While it's not EPL soccer, but if you're interested in sports, or want to watch a game and drink/eat/chat with friends, or if you've got 2 hours to kill, then you won't be bored. Even a 0-0 tie in this league has exciting moments. 

These fans were having a good time, until the team coughed up a goal. 

 

  • South Korea
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