Kim Ki-dong, 52, a renowned K League coach, will finally leave the Pohang Steelers to take the helm of FC Seoul. It’s a “new challenge” for Kim, who took over as Pohang’s head coach in 2019, about five years after his appointment. As he was loved so much in Pohang, Kim wrote a heartfelt, handwritten letter to say goodbye to Pohang fans. He also expressed his determination to “recreate the glory of the club” to his new family, the Seoul fans.
Seoul FC officially announced the appointment of Kim Ki-dong to the vacant head coach position on April 14. He will be the club’s 15th head coach. Seoul played the remainder of the 2023 season with Kim Jin-gyu serving as acting head coach after Ahn Ik-soo resigned due to poor performance. The club’s search for a new head coach began as soon as the season ended, and they turned to Kim Ki-dong, who has successfully led Pohang. The club reportedly guaranteed Kim one of the highest salaries in Korea to secure his appointment.
It is widely considered to be a “mega-transfer” before the curtain has even been raised on the K League transfer market for next season. It is also a testament to the symbolism that Kim Ki-dong holds for Pohang and the K League. As much as the Seoul club, which is looking to rebound and win the K League title, chose Kim as its next head coach, Kim’s decision to leave Pohang came as a huge shock to K League fans and the soccer world.
Moreover, the sudden departure of Kim, who signed a three-year contract with Pohang around this time last year, must have complicated the feelings of Pohang fans. There are mixed emotions, including gratitude for the team’s success under difficult conditions such as dwindling parent company investment, and regret for the team’s sudden departure to another club.
Understanding this, Kim Ki-dong said goodbye to the Pohang fans in a heartfelt, handwritten letter. According to the letter released by the Pohang club, Kim Ki-dong said, “I’m going to tell you something that’s hard to say. I have lived in Pohang for 24 years, from 2003 until now, and I have loved the city of Pohang, and I think I have lived my life with only the Pohang Steelers in mind. When I took over as the first head coach in 2019, I started with many difficult tasks. However, I gained courage and hope from the fans’ support, enthusiasm, and interest,” he wrote.
Kim continued, “I will be moving to FC Seoul after this season. I had offers from several clubs after the season, but I made the final decision to join FC Seoul after considering all the circumstances around me. “It will be another set of challenges and tasks for me, and it was a difficult choice,” he said, “I hope you can understand why I can’t talk much about it here, although some fans may not understand. It’s going to be another challenge and a difficult choice. It’s heartbreaking, it’s painful, it hurts. I feel uncomfortable every day.” 헤라카지노
He added, “Kim Ki-dong’s start as a professional player and Kim Ki-dong’s start as a coach have always been with the Pohang Steelers. I will dream of the day when I will see you here again as a bigger person. I hope you will support me in my future choices, as you have done so far.