There are just over three weeks left before the end of the calendar year, so it’s time for voting for year end awards. Vote below for your favorites/most deserving picks. You can vote as often as you want. If there is someone not nominated for an award, but you think they are deserving, write in’s are allowed in the comments. Make sure to include: the award, player, and why. *Please do not make up completely new awards, unless you have several deserving candidates and a good reason why the award should be included in our “prestigious” set up. Voting is open until December 31.
Best Moment of the Year – The most memorable and, in theory, happiest moment of 2013
– Korea qualifying for Brazil, the ultimate goal. It wasn’t pretty, but Korea made it, and in the end that’s all that matters.
– The day Hong Myeong-Bo was unveiled as the new head coach was a great day for many. While some may have preferred a foreign manager or one with more top-flight experience, for most Hong was an ideal choice to take control of a team in disarray.
– The Brazil match, yes it’s quite strange to have a 2-0 loss on the best moment list, but that match seemed to signal a turning point. A point where the team started to believe that they really could be good and compete with the top.
– For many the best moment of 2013 may have been when Choi Kang-Hee announced that he would not renew his deal with the senior national team. Few thought he would, but it was certainly a heavy burden off the shoulders when the announcement was made official.
Worst Moment of the Year – The moment when it seemed like nothing else could go wrong
– The 4-0 loss to Croatia was a terrible moment for Korea. The mood had been decent going in, but the team was badly embarrassed by Croatia. The fact that the match was at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in London seemed to make things worse as the team was humiliated on foreign shores.
– In the last match of qualifying, the team fell to Iran 1-0. Korea dominated possession, but one defensive slip up and a team hopelessly lost in attack cost them. The team, and fans, watched through their fingers as Uzbekistan was running up the score in their match and almost passed Korea in the table.
– Losing 2-1 in a relatively meaningless tournament isn’t too bad, but when it comes to archrivals Japan . . . Plus Japan was able to celebrate their title in Seoul, further rubbing salt into the wound. The match was fairly even as a contest, but Korea’s lack of incisive goal scorers cost the team as Japan took their two chances. A wonderful goal from Yoon Il-Rok was only a consolation.
– For many the whole of Choi Kang-Hee’s tenure at the helm was a nightmare that never seemed to end. The team was lost tactically, players didn’t perform for him, and there seemed to be little hope.
Bidone d’Oro (Worst Player of the Year) – Awarded to a player or manager who had a forgettable year
– It pains me to put him on here, but Park Chu-Young certainly had a 2013 to forget. A poor second half of the season with Celta Vigo, where he failed to take his chances after Iago Aspas picked up a five game ban, and he has since failed to re-assert himself into the Arsenal squad.
– Jung Sung-Ryong had a decent first half of 2013, but the second is one to forget. A series of defensive howlers for Suwon and Korea have seen his position come under threat. Not something you want to happen in the year before a World Cup.
– Kim Ho-Gon is the manager of Ulsan Hyundai, and if it wasn’t for the last five days of the K League Classic season, who wouldn’t be anywhere near this award. But his inability to put away a midtable Busan side with nothing to play for and then playing an ultraconservative final match against Pohang lands him here.
– Choi Kang-Hee successfully led the national team to World Cup qualification, but the games were dire to watch and in the end it was only one goal that kept Korea out of the intercontinental playoff. A wasted year under the Jeonbuk manager, and one that possibly set the team back even more.
Team of the Year – Awarded to the outstanding K League or national team
– FC Seoul never seriously challenged in terms of defending their domestic title, but they exceeded expectations in Asia. The team went all the way to the finals and pushed monied giants Guangzhou Evergrande to the limits, only losing on away goals.
– Pohang Steelers completed a fantastic comeback against Ulsan to be the first Korean team to ever do the domestic double (Korean FA Cup and K League). The team did it all with Korean players as well, which is an interesting little side note, as K League teams are traditionally heavily dependent on foreigners, particularly in attack.
– It was a good year for army team Sangju Sangmu as well. The army team was forced to play in the second division last season by league officials (citing the club’s finances), but managed to make it back up just a year later. They battled their counterparts, Korea Police FC, all season, but ultimately eased to the title, then beat K League Classic side Gangwon FC with relative ease 4-2 on aggregate.
– The men’s U-20 team had a good summer, with their strongest showing at the U-20 World Cup in recent memory. The team went out in the quarterfinals on penalties to Iraq after a thrilling 3-3 match.
– The U-19 women’s team won the AFC U-19 championship led by outstanding forward Jang Seul-Gi. Jang scored 8 goals in the competition, with five coming in one match against Myanmar. The team went unbeaten in the five match tournament, winning four and drawing one.
Manager of the Year – Awarded to the manager who led their team successfully
– Hwang Sun-Hong led Pohang Steelers to a domestic double in his second year in charge of the club. The team was strong throughout the year, despite concerns about a lack of depth. Credit to him, even when it looked like Ulsan would win the title, his team never gave up.
– Choi Yong-Soo will be disappointed with the club’s domestic showing, ultimately finishing fourth after running away with the title last season. However, an above average showing on the continent will help soothe that. Despite being paid a fraction of what Lippi earns, and not having the international pedigree, Choi showed that he could manage with the best of them.
– Hong Myeong-Bo came in at a difficult moment. The team was in bad spirits, and there were cracks between the groups of players. But Hong proved to be a much needed tonic, helping bring the squad back together and form them into a more cohesive unit that believes they can make an impact next summer in Brazil.
– Choi Kang-Hee may be a strange nomination here (considering he’s also nominated for worst manager/player of the year), but he did (barely) get the team to Brazil, which is what he was hired to do.
Breakout Player of the Year – A player who became a “name” in Korean football
– Kim Bo-Kyung has become a vital cog for club and country this past year. With Koo Ja-Cheol injured for large stretches, Kim Bo-Kyung has helped fill the void and then some.
– Ha Dae-Sung is a K League veteran, but has emerged as a potentially very valuable member of the national team, and his strong starts for FC Seoul in the AFC Champions League have finally earned him some respect.
– Hong Jeong-Ho has been a key player for Korea at the youth levels, but his calm and assured performances for the senior side earned him a move to Germany. There he hasn’t played too much, but filled in admirably for the Augsburg defense.
– Han Kook-Young is another player who did well at the youth level, but finally emerged as an important senior level player. His energy and defensive capabilities helped keep Neymar down in the friendly against Brazil, and the team seemed a bit less composed without him in subsequent matches.
K League Player of the Year – Awarded to the best player in Korea’s domestic league
– Many doubted Ulsan’s credentials after they lost Lee Keun-Ho and Kwak Tae-Hwi in the offseason, but the one they held onto, Kim Shin-Wook, was able to take the Horangi to almost the league title. His absence on that final day may have been the difference. Kim Shin-Wook finished the season as joint top scorer in the league.
– The other man who finished joint top scorer was FC Seoul’s Dejan Damjanovic. The big striker was key for Seoul as they surged out of the bottom half early in the season, and made their AFC Champions League run. His goals against Guangzhou Evergrande gave Seoul and Korea hope that an upset was in the books, although unfortunately it didn’t happen.
– One man who did pick up some silverware was Pohang midfielder Lee Myeong-Joo. Lee was an everpresent force in the Pohang midfield. His energy and tenacity a key to their league and cup double.
– Kim Seung-Gyu emerged as a force between the sticks for Ulsan Hyundai. He stepped in for longtime custodian Kim Young-Kwang, and didn’t miss a beat. Helping Ulsan keep a league best 37 goals conceded, and recorded 12 clean sheets on the way.
Overseas Player of the Year – Awarded to the best Korean player playing in Europe or Asia
– Son Heung-Min has been steadily growing over in Germany and 2013 was his best year to date. A vital part in Hamburg’s team, the youngster moved to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, and has held his own in a much stronger team.
– Ki Sung-Yueng had a start-stop 2013, but when it was ‘start’ it was very good. An important part of Michael Laudrup’s slick passing Swansea side, and now a key part of Gus Poyet’s Sunderland.
– Kim Bo-Kyung was key in helping Cardiff achieve promotion from the Championship last season, and has put in some good performances in his Premier League debut, most notably his equalizing goal against champions Manchester United.
– Kim Young-Gwon was a defensive rock in Marcello Lippi’s all-conquering Guangzhou Evergrande side. The Chinese giants strode to another Chinese Super League title and a first ever AFC Champions League crown.