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A Football Guide to Seoul-ish

When you travel to Korea for the first time, you more than likely arrive in Incheon airport, with the majority of your time being spent in Seoul. Korea has some really famous and beautiful cities, such as Daegu, Busan and even Jeju Island, but the capital is by far the busiest and most visited city in Korea. With that being said, the city is well equipped with multiple football teams, who play in both the top two divisions in the country, K League 1 and K League 2.

This article will go into detail on the teams you can expect to see whilst visiting Seoul, giving information on their history and even how to get there with public transport. 

(All images via K League)

Rules

1. Teams from different cities will be included, such as Incheon, Suwon, etc. The reason behind this is because they are all still very easily accessible on day-to-day public transportation.

2. The starting point for all destinations will be Seoul Station. After arriving in Incheon for the first time, you more than likely make your first transfer there, so it’s a good start-off point.

3. Prices for the KTX and Taxis can change depending on the driver’s route and the time of day you decide to visit, so only estimated prices shall be given for those fares.

4. Estimated time for the subway and taxi will be set to arrive at the stadium for 3:30pm on a Saturday afternoon, as times of Kick off can range from anything from 2pm-7pm on a Saturday or Sunday.

With all that covered we will start with the K-League 1 alphabetically, and then the same rule will apply with the K league 2.

K League 1

Incheon United



It’s only fitting that we actually begin with the team closest to the airport. Incheon United were founded in 2003 and currently play in the top flight of Korean football. The team has two nicknames; Durumi (The Cranes) and Neroazzure (Blue-Black). They play in Incheon Football Stadium, with a capacity of 20,891. It is perhaps one of the more aesthetically pleasing grounds to look at on this list as the stadium only broke ground 10 years ago (2008).

Incheon have never actually picked up any major honours in the Korean game. Their best performance came in 2005, where they finished runners-up in the K League 1. In 2015, they also got to the FA Cup final but fell short at the final hurdle.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Dowon, Line 1 Exit (No transfers)
Estimated time: 1 hour 1 minute
Price: ₩1850

Taxi: Seoul Station- Incheon Football Stadium,
Estimated time: 28-30 minutes
Price: ₩36,000-₩44,000


FC Seoul




The next team on the list is probably the most famous for anyone who does not follow Korean football. FC Seoul has been the capital’s club since 1983, but under the name of Lucky-Goldstar FC. They changed their name to FC Seoul in 2004, after returning back to Seoul from a number of years out in Anyang. You can read more on this controversial history here.

FC Seoul play in the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Opened in 2001, it was host to the famous 2002 World cup semi-final, where the hosts South Korea, lost 1-0 to eventual runners-up Germany. The capacity of the ground is 66,704 and, like Incheon, does not have a running track, a rarity in Korean football.

FC Seoul have dipped in form recently, failing to make the AFC Champions League for 2018, after a poor season last time around. However, the team has had success over the years. The club boasts six K League titles to their name, with the last one coming in 2016. They have also been FA Cup champions twice, in 1998 and 2015.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- World Cup Stadium, Any Exit. Take one stop from Seoul Station to Geongdeok from the Airport railroad line. Then transfer to line 6
Estimated time: 23-25 minutes
Price: ₩1250

Taxi: Seoul Station- World Cup Stadium
Estimated time: 8-12 minutes
Price: ₩11,000-₩14,000

Suwon Samsung Bluewings



Suwon is the next biggest neighbouring city to Seoul, and very easily accessible via subway, KTX, or Taxi. Suwon Samsung Bluewings have been an established club since 1995 and have had a range of success throughout their years.

Nicknamed the Bluewings, Suwon also play in a world cup stadium, the 43,959 capacity stadium, also dubbed 'The Big Bird', is an artistic masterpiece and a must see for any avid football fan, with it's arrangement of seats colors in the ground. The design from above the stadium is also panned out like a bird, hence the name.

Suwon have been very successful within their 23 year history, both domestically and internationally. The four time K League winners last won the trophy in 2008. They also have the same number of FA Cup medals, with the last one being in 2016. Suwon have also tasted Asian glory, winning two AFC Champions League trophies, in the 2001 and the 2002 seasons.

How to get there

Subway*: Seoul Station- Gwanggyo Jungang Station, Exit 2. Take line 4 for 3 stops to Chungmuro, and then transfer onto line 3. Then transfer one more time at Yangja.
Estimated time: 1 hour 6 minutes
Price: ₩3,050

*Unfortunately, this option also includes a 20-minute walk once arriving in Suwon

Bus: Seoul Station- Suwon World Cup Stadium, Number 8800
Estimated time: 1 hour 14 minutes
Price: ₩2,700

KTX+ Bus: Seoul Station to Suwon Station, then either bus 7000 or 7001 from outside the station.
Estimated time: 1 hour
Price ₩3,000-₩6,000

K League 2

Ansan Greeners



The first K League 2 team we will look is actually the newest team to form on this list. Founded in 2017, the team are currently only playing their second season of Korean football.

Nicknamed The Green Wolves, the team plays in the 35,000 seater stadium called Ansan Wa~ Stadium, or “The Wa” for short. As the team are very new to the league, they do not have any major honors but, as of this year (2018), they had been performing very well, until a string of bad results see them fall back down the table.

The club also has a foreign supporters group, which are always welcoming new fans to the ground.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Gojan, Exit 1, Line 4 ( No Transfers)
Estimated time: 1 Hour 4 Minutes
Price: ₩1,950

Taxi: Seoul Station- Ansan Wa~Stadium
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Price: ₩36,000-₩44,000

FC Anyang



FC Anyang are another team on this list that play south of Seoul. Founded in 2013, the team that play in purple are in their 5th season in the K League. The team play in the Anyang Stadium, with a capacity of 18,216.

The team, like Ansan, also have no honors in their name, being knocked out of the FA Cup every year in the round of 32 and never making the play-offs. The team's motto is "Esperanto: Civitano, Paradizo, Feliĉo" meaning "Citizen, Paradise, Happiness (or Felicity)" and it is printed on the emblem.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Beomgye Exit 3, Line 4 (No Subway transfer, but you will need to get onto bus No 5 for a further ten minutes once you arrive at the station. The bus stop is beyond the crosswalk of exit 3)
Estimated time: 1 Hour 7 Minutes
Price: ₩1,650

Taxi: Seoul Station- Anyang stadium
Estimated time: 22 minutes
Price: ₩23,000-₩28,000

Bucheon 1995



Bucheon 1995 actually has a rather interesting history to their formation. Between the years of 1997-2006, the team in Bucheon was known as Bucheon SK. However, in 2006, the team was moved to Jeju island and renamed Jeju United, a far cry from the city of Bucheon.

The current team was formed in 2007 by former supporters of Bucheon SK, and they played their first five seasons in the K3 League and Challengers league. They made the jump to the K League 2 in 2013. Their best performance was in 2016, where they finished 3rd in the K League 2, and even made the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Currently playing at the Bucheon stadium, with a capacity of 35,456, the team is set to move into a new stadium next door by the end of the season, with the seats from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics being used to form the terraces.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Onsu Line 1, then Transfer onto line 7 for two stops until you arrive at Bucheon Stadium, Exit 2.
Estimated time: 42 Minutes
Price: ₩1,550

Taxi: Seoul Station- Bucheon Stadium
Estimated time: 19 minutes
Price: ₩20,000-₩25,000

Seongnam FC



Seongnam Football Club is the most decorated and successful club in Korean football. Formed all the way back in 1989 as Ilhwa Chunma, the team only recently changed its name to Seongnam FC back in 2014.

The team play in Tancheon Stadium, a ground with a capacity of 16,146. The club is also nicknamed the Magpies, Seongnam has the most K League 1 titles, with seven to their name. They also have three FA Cups and two AFC Champions league titles.

The predominant club found themselves in hard times of late, when former owner Rev. Moon Seon-myung passed. The City of Seongnam then took over the club but could not pump the same amount of money that the businessman once did.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Dongdaemun History and culture park, Line 4. Then transfer onto line 2 until Wangsimni. Then the last transfer will be on the Bundang line, with the arrival station being Yatap, Exit 3.
Estimated time: 1 Hour 21 Minutes
Price: ₩1,650

Bus: Seoul Station- Trancheon Sports Complex, Number 9300
Estimated time: 1 Hour 14 min
Price: ₩2,400

Taxi: Seoul Station- Trancheon Stadium
Estimated time: 21 minutes
Price: ₩25,000-₩31,000

Seoul E-Land



Next comes a team ideal for any fan who is into multiple sports. Seoul E-Land plays in Jamsil Sports Complex, with the beauty of being next door to the baseball stadium. Although the sport of baseball is solemnly spoken on this website, it certainly is something to be taken into consideration.

Nicknamed The Leopards, the football team may only be in their 4th season as an outfit, but they play in a stadium steeped in history. They play in the Seoul Olympic Stadium, with a capacity of 69,950, and home to the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Even though they have struggled to tip over 500 in attendance at times this season, it’s the biggest football stadium in all of the Korean leagues.

Seoul E-Land have never won any major honor’s in their short time of operating, and the team have been situated rather low on the totem pole in the last couple of seasons. However, their stadium is only a few stops from Gangnam and Jamsil’s Lotte tower, so it is a must for ticking off a few must-see’s in Seoul as well.

How to get there

Subway: Seoul Station- Dongjak Line 4. Then transfer onto line 9 until you get to your destination of Sports Complex ,Exit 5 or 6.
Estimate time: 46 Minutes
Price: ₩1,450

Taxi: Seoul Station- Seoul Olympic Stadium
Estimated time: 14 Minutes
Price: ₩16,000-₩20,000

Suwon FC




The last team on our list brings us once again, out of Seoul, and back into the city of Suwon. The team was formed in 2003 and are currently spending their second season back in the bottom flight after relegation in 2016. Suwon FC currently plays in Suwon Sports Complex and have the same circumstances as Seoul E-Land. The team play a stone's throw away from Suwon Baseball Stadium, home to the KT Wiz.

The football stadium has a capacity of 11,808 and has an oval athletics track style around the field. The club boasts some of the cheapest season ticket prices in all the league, with prices as little as ₩60,000.

How to get there

Subway + Bus: Seoul Station-Seonbawi, Line 4, Exit 2. Then the bus Number 3000
Estimated time: 1 Hour 4 Minutes
Prices: ₩2,500


Taxi: Seoul Station-Suwon Sports Complex
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Prices: ₩33,000-₩39,000

Final thoughts...

And that just about does it for all the teams in and around Seoul. As you can tell, some teams have the beauty of having either a bus stop or a subway station outside their stadium and some do require much more effort. It will be easy to work out which mode of transport is easiest for whichever team you decide to visit.

This was only a vague description of how to get there and a little bit about the many teams that play here in Seoul. Hopefully, it also brings some background knowledge for you for when you do eventually decide to check out a team in the local area.

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