FC Seoul Shows Junpiter Futbol K.League Football
The year 2014 has been extremely kind to Junpiter Futbol. Right after we returned from the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we flew to another World Cup country, South Korea to learn from
The year 2014 has been extremely kind to Junpiter Futbol. Right after we returned from the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we flew to another World Cup country, South Korea to learn from their domestic league, K.League! What we did to kick off our Korean football trip was to proceed with some Korean football shopping first!
Prior to the trip, we were told that most Korean football fans do their football jersey shopping via online. That probably explained why we do not see many football shops in Seoul. However, we did locate 1 area in Seoul where Korean football lovers will get to indulge in some real football shopping. That place is Dongdaemun!
Mention about Dongdaemun, everyone is aware that it is one of the most popular places known for fashion shopping but football? Yes, a K.League Official Store is hidden away in a corner of the overwhelmed district and we are going to show you how to get there!
K.League Official Store
We have discovered 2 different ways of getting to this K.League Official Store. Depending on your agenda, if you do not mind visiting some other smaller sports shops along the way to the K.League Official Store, you will have to pay more attention to the Exit-3. Alternatively, the exit-14 could be another option for you.
Taking their most convenient public transportation, Seoul Metropolitan Subway to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park (東大門歷史文化公園驛), station which is on Line 2, 4 & 5. Once you have alighted from the train, look out for signage directing you to Exit-3. Be prepared to do a little walk to this particular Exit-3. After exiting from Exit-3, turn right and you will reach what we would have described as a Sports Paradise! The entire stretch of road is filled with various sports shops selling taekwondo, baseball and of course football! The K.League Official Store will be right there! Just a point to orientate yourself, when you have arrived at that stretch of “Sports Paradise”, the famous silver/grey spaceship-looking Dongdaemun Design Plaza will be across the road on your right.
We have tried exiting from both Exit-3 and Exit-14, the latter exit point has proven to be a better option with less walk for sure. Exit-14 was one of the nearest exit points from Dongdaemun History & Culture Park station. The moment we got up to the ground level via Exit-14, we were already in the heart of some major shopping malls. Turn around facing the “UFO-like” Dongdaemun Design Plaza from Exit-14, you would see the Official K.League Merchandises Store far ahead on the right hand side of your vision.
The K.League Official Store, as big as a typical 2-rooms HDB flat, did have a decent range of K.League Classic (Division I) and K.League Challenge (Division II) jerseys for sales. Strangely, FC Seoul’s was not in their inventory although the store was located in Seoul. So if you are a FC Seoul fan, you will have to try your luck in the Le Coq Sportif outlet in the Shopping Mall such as Lottin Fitin. They do sell authentic FC Seoul home jersey.
Apart from the K.League jerseys, the other merchandises which they offered were teams’ scarfs, some mini badges, mobile phone cases, football equipments and even bio-autography books (in Korean). As a matter of fact, nothing really impressed us except the jerseys displaying. If you are there for the K.League jerseys, it will be a worthy trip.
While searching for this K.League Official Store, unknowingly we discovered another trace of football-jerseys selling ground at the same venue. At the same level where we exited from Dongdaemun History & Culture Park station, we discovered this underground retail shops named Dongdaemun Sports Underground Shopping Center while walking towards the underground entrance of Lottin Fitin’s.
That is probably a place where you might just want to take a quick walk as most of the apparels which they selling are not authentic. However, they sure have got a wide range of products and jersey designs!
The established K.League comprises of top division, K.League Classic and second division, K.League Challenge. We were over the moon when we were informed by K.League that one of their most supported clubs, which is also an AFC Champions League semi-finalist, FC Seoul was willing to host Junpiter Futbol for an exclusive visit!
Seoul World Cup Stadium
Seoul World Cup Stadium can be easily accessible by their subway. You will never miss the Stadium station as the name of the station is exactly the same, just “Seoul World Cup Stadium” on Line 6.
After exiting from the subway station, you might start to wonder if you are in South Korea or in Europe! The reason is, the station has an unique design with the main entrance (exit) reminiscent of a Greek amphitheater which is between Exit 2 and 3. But do not worry, you do not have to climb up the huge flight of stairs as there are few sets of escalators by the sides for you to reach the foot of the famous Stadium.
Seoul World Cup Stadium was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup where the South Korean team made history by clinching the fourth place. Now the well-architected 66,800 seater Stadium is the home ground for the 5-times K.League Championship winner, FC Seoul.
When we arrived at the Seoul World Cup Stadium to meet up with FC Seoul’s Official, we were then told that the Stadium was not supposed to be opened on that particular day of our visit – there was a concert which just ended the night before and they were busy tearing down, getting ready for the K.League match later that evening. Although having explained that, the Stadium visit was still opened to Junpiter Futbol’s visit exclusively by FC Seoul!
Beside the Stadium, we also took some time to visit the 2002 FIFA World Cup Museum. Undoubtedly, the FIFA World Cup Museum’s pride has got to be South Korea’s 4th-place triumph at the 2002 World Cup! Once you are done with the Museum, remember to spend a little time walking in the Museum Shop at the Museum’s exit point. The available merchandises at the Museum Shop looked like a World Cup 2002 Clearing Sales. You might get some good collectables at a bargain! For us, we got ourselves a new collection – an authentic intact World Cup 2002 match ticket!
The big “World Cup Mall” which is located at the Stadium is also worth mentioning too. Basically, it is a huge Shopping Mall which also houses a huge Function Hall catering to the community needs. Apart from that, this “World Cup Mall” comes with a 10 screens and a seating capacity of 1,800 Cinema Complex! All these facilities and services make it so easy and convenient for people like us attending the game. It’s like a modern one-stop location for football!
After collecting our media pass which the club had prepared for us, we started exploring the pre-match activities which the club held for the supporters, to be precise it’s Seoul community. For domestic league community engagement, it’s no doubt that each club has to put in their utmost effort in engaging with their supporters. There in Seoul, we saw their effort!
A mini water theme park was set up by the club at the foot of their Stadium’s entrance. The match was scheduled to kick off at 7pm but there was already quite a significant crowd waiting to enter the Stadium at 5pm! Many families were also enjoying the water theme park activities which included a water slide, a water paddling pool, mini football kick about, DJ providing great K-Pop music by doing some “live” spinning and an encouraging scene for us – FC Seoul merchandise stores! We bought a FC Seoul jersey and done the official numberings’ printing on the spot!
Previously, when we were at J.League, the clubs were sharing with us on how much effort and to what certain extend they have done to engage with the community in order to bring the supporters and their families to the Stadium. That day in Seoul, we witnessed another great effort from another well established Asia league. If I were to compare what we have seen in Singapore’s S.League to theirs, the clubs in Japan and Korea were certainly running the pre-match activities with more ideas and budget.
We returned to the Stadium in the late afternoon for FC Seoul’s domestic league game against Incheon United FC led by former Real Sociedad & Feyenoord’s Lee Chun-Soo. To our pleasant surprise, FC Seoul had actually arranged one of the best seatings for us at the Media Tribune. Once the K.League kicked off, we were just soaking in the marvelous experience enjoying the 20,000 crowd drumming and cheering away in the Stadium. Undoubtedly, it was an exciting game where the Koreans, especially FC Seoul, played a technically high tempo game which obviously was to our delight. Eventually, the home team registered a 5-1 victory over visitor, Incheon United FC!
Special thanks to FC Seoul for the kind hospitality & thank you Puma Singapore.