The 2017 Alternative K-League Awards
Soldier of the Year 2017
This award goes to the best K-league player serving their military service with Sangju FC.
Runner-up – Kim Tae Hwan – You’ve got to take your hat off to a player who has played 30+ matches in five consecutive seasons in the Classic. For both Seongnam and Ulsan before his military service he was one of the first names on the team sheet and he continued that in the red of Sangju in 2017, making 34 appearances for the Army as they battled to stay in the top division. Deployed in the right winger role that he made his own during his spells at Seongnam and Ulsan he has gone on to be a mainstay of the Sangju team also, unlike other ‘big names’ such as Yoo Sang Hoon and Yun Young Sun.
Winner – Joo Min Kyu – There was a lot of hype surrounding ‘Joomes’ while he was playing for Seoul E-Land in the Challenge but a lot of people were still in doubt that he could cut it at a higher level … but enough about Uli Stielike. It didn’t take him long to find the net in an Army shirt though as he scored on his first start against Jeonnam Dragons. He did hit something of a dry spell afterwards, scoring only 3 times in the next 4 months. Fast forward to August 12th though and suddenly ‘Joomes’ was back as he scored a quite incredible 11 goals in 7 matches. This feat took him to the brink of the K-League record for goals scored in consecutive games… unfortunately he would fall at the final hurdle, away to FC Seoul. The fact that it was Hwang Sun Hong’s record that was on the line is one of those footballing ironies that makes us love the game. He would end up finishing the season on 17 goals and it would be more than fitting that is was his spot-kick that was the decisive penalty in the shoot-out which kept Sangju in the K-League Classic and gives the man himself at least one more year to showcase at the top table.
Joo Min Kyu a quite worthy winner of Soldier of the Year 2017