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Where Are They Now? Daejeon Citizen's 2014 K League Challenge Winning Team

Where Are They Now? Daejeon Citizen's 2014 K League Challenge Winning Team
On 1st November 2014, thanks to a 1-0 home win over Bucheon FC 1995, Daejeon Citizen were crowned as K League Challenge Winners and returning to the top tier at the first time of asking. Four years on, where are those players who brought such joy to the Purple Arena faithful? Where are they now?
(Image via K League)

After finishing bottom of the 2013 K League Classic, Daejeon were relegated to the second tier along with Daegu FC and Gangwon FC. Kim Inwan was the team's manager throughout the majority of that ill-fated campaign before eventually resigning on healthy grounds. The late Cho Jinho took over as caretaker until the end of the season and very nearly kept the Purples in the division.

Alas, with 32 points, Daejeon fell through the trap door despite seeing the season out with six wins and a draw under Coach Cho. It wasn't enough to keep Citizen's heads above water but it was enough to secure the manager's job on a permanent basis for Cho who then went about assembling a squad that would go on to be crowned as K League Challenge Champions.

In 2014 Daejeon went on an incredible run where Cho and his team suffered just two defeats in 26 matches before eventually sealing the K League Challenge title on Saturday 1st November 2014 with a 1-0 home win against Bucheon FC 1995. Jung Seokmin's goal in the 52nd minute will go down in Daejeon Citizen folklore, as will many of the players who pulled on the purple shirt for Daejeon that season. But, where are they now?

1 Park Juwon (28)  - Goalkeeper, 16 appearances 

Park Juwon leading out Asan Mugunghwa in July 2018 (image via K League)
Park Juwon is still with Daejeon Citizen. The 27 year-old went to Asan Mugunghwa at the beginning of 2017 in order complete his mandatory military service but returned in October this year. Whilst at Asan, Park was largely used as backup to Park Hyunsoon. But, after Park Hyunsoon returned to Suwon FC, Park Juwon established himself as Asan manager, Park Donghyuk’s, first choice goalkeeper and made 16 appearances. After two years, Park made his first appearance in a Daejeon shirt, taking his place between the sticks for Daejeon’s 2-0 away loss to Seongnam.

31 Kim Sunkyu (31) - Goalkeeper, 21 appearances

Kim Sunkyu in 2014 for Daejeon versus Chungju Hummel (image via K League)
Kim Sunkyu left Daejeon for FC Anyang during the winter between 2014 and 2015. Kim made just six appearances in 2015 but enjoyed a more successful 2016 for Anyang when he turned out for the Violets on 21 occasions. Kim actually saved a penalty for Anyang against Daejeon in a Children’s Day clash in Anyang that year. In 2017 Kim Sunkyu joined National League side Busan Transportation Corporation FC in 2017 where he made 13 appearances before retiring at the end of last season at just 31 years-old.

2 Kim Hanseop (36) - full back, 18 appearances

Kim Hanseop had two spells with Daejeon Citizen (image via K League)
Left-back Kim Hanseop had two spells with Daejeon Citizen, first between 2009 and 2011 before spending a season with Incheon United, only to return a year later. Kim departed Citizen at the end of the 2014 season for National League outfit Yongin City, spending two seasons in the National League before retiring as a player two years later. Kim worked as a coach for Yongin City before the team disbanded and is now said to be working with FIFPro and the Professional Footballers' Association.

 3 Jang Wonseok (32) - full back, 31 appearances 1 goal

Jang Wonseok in action for Daejeon in 2018 (image via K League)
Jang Wonseok joined Daejeon on loan from Jeju United in 2014 after spending four years on the island. After winning the K League Challenge title, Jang departed for FC Pocheon for military service between 2015 and 2016 before returning to Daejeon in 2017. Before the new season, Jang was made vice captain in 2017 and made 14 appearances during what turned out to be a turbulent 20th anniversary year. In 2018, the 32 year-old was given the number 38 shirt  and has only featured eight times.

15 Rim Changwoo (28) - right back 28 appearances 2 goals

Rim Changwoo (C) now plies his trade in the Arabian Gulf League (image via K League)
After scoring the winning goal in the Asian Games Final 2014 in extra time against North Korea, Rim returned to Daejeon for the rest of the season before departing for parent club Ulsan Hyundai. In 2015 Lim played 27 times for thee Horangi before departing for Al-Wahda of the Arabian Gulf League. Whilst with Al-Wahda, Rim has a runners up medal, two League Cup winners medals, two Super Cups and a President’s. In 2015, Rim was also part of the Korea squad which lifted the EAFF E-1 Football Championships in China.

30 Song Joohan (30) - defender 30 appearances 1 goal

Song Joohan (L) in action for Daejeon against Gangwon in 2014 (image via K League)
Song Joohan stayed at Purple Arena following the club’s promotion in 2014 and made 12 appearances in the K League Classic the following year. However, mid-season, Song joined Gyeongnam FC where he spent two seasons before joining FC Pocheon to fulfil his military service duties in 2017 where the team won the K3 Advanced title.

33 Yoon Weonil (32) - centre back,  27 appearances

Club captain Yun Wonil retired at the age of 29 (image via K League)
Club captain for Daejeon Citizen’s first piece of silverware since the 2001 FA Cup win, Yoon Weonil stayed with Daejeon until the end of the 2015 season. However, after making just three appearances, Yoon announced his retirement and just 29 years-old. Since retiring, the former Jeju United defender became a coach at Ulsan University in 2016 before joining Hyundai High School a year alter. Yoon is now a coach with K3 Basic side Ulsan Citizen.

5 Ahn Youngkyu (28) - centre back, 34 appearances 1 goal

Ahn Youngkyu (C) in action for Gwangju vs Asan in 2018 (image via K League)
Ahn Youngkyu mad more appearances than any other Daejeon Citizen player during the 2014 title winning season. However, in 2015 Ahn joined Gwangju FC before beginning his military service with Ansan Mugunghwa in 2016 and later Asan Mugunghwa in 2017, making 18 and 10 appearances respectively. In 2017, Ahn returned to Gwangju where he is a key player. This term, the 28 year-old has made 33 appearances.

7 Jung Seokmin (30) - centre midfield, 33 appearances 5 goals

Jung Seokmin (L) scored the winning goal vs Bucheon to seal promotion (image via K League)
Central midfielder Jung Seokmin will be remembered by Daejeon fans for his goal that sealed the K League Challenge title in a 1-0 win over Bucheon FC 1995 on 1st November 2014. Jung departed Daejeon for Jeonnam Dragons ahead of the 2015 season where he spent two seasons. In his first campaign, the former Pohang Steelers and Jeju United midfielder racked up 26 appearances but found playing time hard to come by in 2016. Eventually, Jung departed Korea and signed for Pulau Pinang of the Singapore Super League. In 10 appearances, Jung scored five goals before retiring at the end of the season at just. He currently runs a screen golf place in Ulsan.

8 Kim Jonggook (29) - midfielder, 22 appearances 1 goal

Kim Jonggook in the yellow of Asan against Daejeon in 2018 (image via K League)
Kim Jonggook joined Daejeon from Ulsan in 2013 and remained a Citizen player until 2016 when he joined Suwon FC. Playing in the K League Classic following Suwon’s playoff triumph over Busan in 2015, Kim turned out 26 times, including four appearances in the Suwon Derby, before departing for Asan Mugunghwa to complete his military service. In 2017 the 29 year-old played 17 times but this season, whilst sealing the K League 2 title, Kim has featured 30 times and has scored two goals. The former Gangwon man is due to return to Suwon FC in February.

11 Hwang Jiwoong (29) - winger, 28 appearances 1 goal

Hwang Jiwoong (C) made a brief return to Daejeon before joining Gyeongju KHNP (image via K League)
Hwang Jiwoong began his career with Daejeon Citizen in 2012 but broke into the first team in the Club’s first relegation season in 2013, making eight appearances. In 2014, Hwang made 28 appearances but only seven from the start, scoring one goal. The Seoul-born winger made 14 starts and 21 appearances overall the following year before beginning his military service with Ansan Mugunghwa and later Asan Mugunghwa in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Whilst on military service, Hwang made 23 appearances over two years before returning ti Purple Arena towards the end of last season. Deemed surplus to requirements by Ko Jongsoo, Hwang joined National League outfit, Gyeongju HNP. The two-times K league 2 winner has made 20 appearances for Gyeongju who look set to finish top of the Korean third tier.
16 Hwang Jinsan (29) - midfielder, 21 appearances 1 goal

Hwang Jinsan (L) for Bucheon vs Ansan Greeners in 2018 (image via K League)
Midfielder Hwang Jinsan departed Purple Arena for FC Pocheon in 2015 as part of his mandatory military service. After two years with the north Gyeonggi Province side, Hwang signed for Gimhae Citizen of the National League. In 2018 former Daejeon Citizen youth coach, Jung Gabsuk, brought Hwang back to the K League with Bucheon FC 1995. In the red of Bucheon, Hwang Jinsan has made seven starts, 13 appearances over all.

87 Maranhão (28) - winger, 16 appearances

Maranhão (R) made 16 appearances for Daejeon in 2014 (image via K League)
Brazilian winger Maranhão was brought in during the summer transfer window to help get Daejeon over the line and seal the K League Challenge title. In 2015 Maranhão returned to Brazil and has turned out for Chapecoense, Fluminense, Ponte Preta, and his current club, Goiás. In 2016, Maranhão lifted the Catarinense 1 trophy, as well as the Goiano 1 in 2018.

9 Vanderlei (31) - forward, 23 appearances 7 goals

Vanderlei (C) in action against Daegu in 2014 (image via K League)
Daejeon’s number nine for the 2014 season was Vanderlei Francisco, or simply Vanderlei as he was referred to by the Purple Arena faithful. After departing Daejeon, Vanderlei returned to Brazil to play for Caxias, São Caetano, River Athletico Clube, Botafogo PB as well as Kazma of the Kuwait Premier League. In 2016 Vanderlei won the Piauiense with River as well as the Federaion Cup in Kuwait with Kazma.

10 Adriano (31) - forward, 32 appearances 27 goals

Adriano celebrating winning his second K League title (image via K League)
The 2014 K League Challenge MVP was given a new contract at Purple Arena in a bid to help the club stave off relegation from the top flight. In 17 starts, Adriano scored seven times, including a brace in a 2-1 win over Suwon Bluewings at Big Bird, However, after the sacking of Cho Jinho, ir was rumoured that Adriano refused to train and was later allowed to leave on a free transfer after his contract was terminated.

Midway through the 2015 season, Adriano joined K League Classic giants FC Seoul where he went on to score eight times in 13 league appearances and lifted the FA Cup, scoring in the final against Incheon United in a 3-1 win. The following season, Adriano scored 31 goals in all competitions, 17 in the league and 13 in the AFC Champions League. Whilst with FC Seoul, Adriano won the K League title before departing for Chinese Second Division side Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, scoring 10 goals in 24 appearances before returning to Korea with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. In 2018, Adriano scored eight league goals in 12 starts on Jeonbuk’s march towards the title.

14 Seo Myeongwon (23) - forward, 26 appearances 4 goals

Seo Myeongwon has found first team football hard to come by since leaving Daejeon (image via K League)
Seo Myeongwon remained at Purple Arena up until 2016 and, after the Club’s second relegation in three years, departed for Ulsan Hyundai. In two seasons, Seo managed just 10 league appearances, only one of which was from the start, before joining Gangwon in 2018. In the orange of Gangwon, Seo has featured just once.

18 Kim Eunjung (39) - forward, 17 appearances 3 goals

Kim Eunjung during his testimonial in 2016 (image via K League)
Striker Kim Eunjung became a Daejeon Citizen legend when he fired in the winning goal for the Purples in the 2001 FA Cup final against Pohang. Six years with Daejeon came to an end in 2003 when the man they nicknamed “Sharp” left on loan to Vegalta Sendai in J.League 1. In 2004 Kim joined FC Seoul, winning the League Cup in 2006 before departing for Guangzhou R&F (then Changsha Ginde) before returning to Korea with Jeju United, Gangwon FC, and then Daejeon Citizen as player/coach before retiring at the end of the season. Kim began coaching with Belgian side AFC Tubize before taking over as caretaker manager in 2017. Since last year, Kim has been a coach for the Korea U23 set up.

20 Kim Chanhee (28) - forward, 27 appearances 8 goals

Kim Chanhee (R) has featured just four times this season (image via K League)
Striker Kim Chanhee played just five times in 2015 after picking up an ankle injury and didn’t play for Daejeon again until 2017. In 2016 and 2017 Kim Chanhee completed his military service with FC Pocheon, winning the K3 title in 2016 and 2017 before eventually returning to Daejeon Citizen. Kim Chanhee scored on his return to Daejeon in a 2-0 home win over FC Anyang. He went on to score three more in 18 appearances. In 2018 Kim has just four appearances to his name, two from the start.

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