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Changing Allegiances: Ji Dong-won, Lee Jeong-hyeop, Kim Young-kwang, Nilson Junior

league 2023.01.27   I   hits 601

Some K League players are so synonymous with their current clubs that it is hard to imagine them playing for another team. Some even played for their current team's rivals. Others, meanwhile, have had a storied career and so it would be easy to forget that they might have a short stint at another team. The 2023 edition of Changing Allegiances takes a look at some more well-known K League stars and the other clubs they represented once upon a time.

Ji Dong-won 

Current FC Seoul forward Ji Dong-won has spent most of his professional career in Europe, first with Sunderland in England before moving to Germany with Augsburg, Borussia Dortmund II, and Mainz among others. But his career began with Jeonnam Dragons in 2010 and scored 16 and assisted eight in 45 appearances for the club in all competitions. 

K League Club History: Jeonnam Dragons, FC Seoul
K League Apps: 48
Goals: 11
Assists: 5

Lee Jeong-hyeop 

Gangwon FC forward Lee Jeong-hyeop is perhaps most known for his time at Busan IPark where he spent around eight years in total, albeit with a number of loan moves throughout. on and off. One of Lee's loan destinations was Ulsan Hyundai where he spent the 2016 campaign, featuring 30 times in the league and scoring four goals. He returned to Busan the year after before moving to Nakdong River Derby rivals Gyeongnam FC in 2021. In 2022, Lee helped steer Gangwon FC to a sixth-place finish with 31 appearances, five goals and one assist.

K League Club History: Busan IPark, Sangju Sangmu, Ulsan Hyundai, Gyeongnam FC, Gangwon FC
Honours: K League 2 title (2015)
K League Apps: 250
Goals: 53
Assists: 22

Kim Young-kwang 

When talking about players with storied careers, few come more storied than Kim Young-kwang's - from the highs of continental glory to relegation to the second tier. The 2012 AFC Champions League winner is currently with Seongnam FC, a side that suffered relegation to K League 2 in 2022, and has played for five different K League clubs. Kim is perhaps most known for his time with Ulsan Hyundai and Seoul E-Land, amassing 231 and 187 appearances respectively for those clubs. However, "Glory Kim" began his career with local side Jeonnam Dragons and also had a one-year stint with Gyeongnam FC. The Roses suffered relegation that year but kept nine cleansheets in 34 games. Seoul E-Land picked Kim up and he went on to spend the next six seasons with the Leopards. In 2023, Kim will go up against two of his former teams with current club Seongnam FC.

K League Club History: Jeonnam Dragons, Ulsan Hyundai, Gyeongnam FC, Seoul E-Land, Seongnam FC.
Honours: K League Cup (2007, 2011), AFC Champions League (2012)
K League Apps: 493
Cleansheets: 143 

Nilson Junior


Brazilian defender Nilson Junior returned to Bucheon FC 1995 in January 2022 for a second spell with the club, a club he first joined in 2017. The Reds aren't the only club in the capital area that Nilson has played for either having also turned out for FC Anyang for two seasons. However, his K League career began with Busan IPark back in 2014 after joining from Japanese side Sagan Tosu. He played 62 times for Busan, scored three and assisted one before the move to Bucheon. 

K League Club History: Busan IPark, Bucheon FC 1995, FC Anyang.
K League Apps: 265
Goals: 32
Assists: 11

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