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It’s been a cold winter for professional soccer team Suwon Samsung, who suffered the humiliation of being relegated to the K League 2 (2nd Division) for the first time since its inception. The team hasn’t been able to announce the appointment of a head coach, and players have been quitting. Even though the team has recently appointed a CEO and a general manager, there are many worries about how to draw a new blueprint.

After finishing last in the K League 1 last season, tied with Gangwon FC in the final match, Suwon’s goal for the new season is to win promotion to the K League 1 for the first time since its inception. However, even as the year turns and the team is supposed to be focusing on reinforcing its strength and preparing for the season, it has had a “quiet” winter compared to other clubs, raising questions.

Along the way, the team has lost a number of key players. First of all, many players who became free agents (FA) left the team.

Central defender Ko Myung-seok moved to Daegu FC, midfielder Han Seok-jong moved to Seongnam FC, and on the 7th, Kwon Chang-hoon (pictured), who was called the “son of Suwon” and loved by Suwon fans, moved to Jeonbuk Hyundai. The departure of Kwon, who made his debut for Suwon’s youth team Matango and went on to play overseas and for the national team, came as a huge shock to Suwon fans.

Also, although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, Ulsan HD is close to signing Suwon’s key midfielder Ko Seung-bum after paying a transfer fee.

While the departures are troubling, the bigger issue is that the club has yet to announce who will lead the team. It’s been reported that Yeom Ki-hoon, who served as acting head coach at the end of last season, will remain in charge, but there’s no definitive answer here either.

And for good reason. It was too late for the club’s top brass to be appointed to make decisions such as hiring a coach and signing players. Suwon was responsible for relegation last season, and CEO Lee Jun and general manager Oh Dong-seok resigned. There should have been a follow-up, but after a month of silence after the season ended, the club announced on the afternoon of Aug. 8 that it had appointed Kang Woo-young, vice president of Cheil Industries, as CEO and Park Kyung-hoon, former executive director of the Korea Football Association, as the new head coach.

A Suwon official said, “The CEO and head coach must be appointed first so that everything else can be done in order. In the meantime, everything was pushed back due to the delayed appointment.”

With the appointment of the CEO and head coach, the team is expected to accelerate its progress. However, compared to other teams, the team has gotten off to a slow start in all areas, including player recruitment.

Many of the team’s main players have already left. First and foremost, the team needs to make a decision on a head coach right away.

Suwon will leave for a training camp in Bangkok, Thailand on the 12th, and the coaching staff, including the head coach, needs to be finalized soon so that the training camp can be organized properly.

After the Gangwon game last season, the team promised a “reinvention” level of reorganization, and a blueprint for this should be presented as soon as possible. We have a lot of work to do to get promoted.


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