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First K League Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

league 2023.03.20   I   hits 796

K League announces the first inductees to its Hall of Fame, celebrating the league's 40th anniversary. 

Every two years, K League will induct former players, managers, and special honorary individuals. As this year marks 40 years since K League was founded, one player from each decade is to be inducted. 

First Generation

Choi Soon-ho is to be inducted from K League's first generation of stars. Choi Soon-ho joined Pohang in 1980 and played for Pohang Steel and Lucky Goldstar from 1983 to 1991 when professional football was launched, signaling the beginning of the K League. Choi Soon-ho scored 23 goals and recorded 19 assists in 100 K League matches, was part of the Pohang team that won the title in 1986, and was named in the K League Best Eleven in 1984. Choi Soon-ho received the most votes in all of the selection committee, club, media, and fan voting for a total of 30.472 points, ahead of Choi Kang-hee's 15.165 points.

Second Generation

The 'Eternal Ribero' Hong Myung-bo, current manager of Ulsan Hyundai, will be inducted this year as the star chosen from K League's second generation. Hong Myung-bo made his K League debut in 1992 for Pohang and helped the club win the league title in his first season and was even named MVP and in the Best Eleven for that year. Overall in K League Hong made 156 appearances, scored 14 goals, and assisted eight. He won one league title and one K League Cup and was named in the Best Eleven five times (‘92, '94, '95, '96, '02). Hong received 31.091 points ahead of Kim Ju-sung in second with 23.339.

Third Generation

Shin Tae-yong, the current head coach of the Indonesian national team, was selected as the third generation's Hall of Fame inductee. Shin Tae-yong made his debut in 1992 at Ilhwa Chunma and won Rookie of the Year award that season. The following year, he became a key player for Ilhwa who won three consecutive league titles from 1993 to 1995. Shin was named as the league's MVP in 1995 and went on to help the team win three consecutive league titles again between 2001 and 2003. After leaving in 2004 Shin had played 401 games, scored 99 goals, and provided 68 assists. He is the only player to be named in the Best Eleven nine times and for the Hall of Fame voting, earned a score of 21.881 points ahead of Yoo Sang-chul with 16.404.

Fourth Generation

'Lion King' Lee Dong-gook is the inductee from K League's fourth generation. Lee Dong-gook began his career with Pohang in 1998 and, along with Ahn Jung-hwan and Ko Jong-soo, helped lead the K League's renaissance. After returning from Europe, Lee Dong-gook joined Seongnam Ilhwa in 2008 before moving to Jeonbuk Hyundai in 2009 where he remained until the end of the 2020 season when he retired with an eighth K League title. Overall, Lee Dong-gook played 548 K League matches, scored 228 goals, and laid on 77 assists to end his career as K League's all-time top goalscorer, with the most combined goals and assists, and with the most appearances as an outfield player. Lee Dong-gook earned a score of 40.957 ahead of Lee Chun-soo in second with 11.414.

Selection Process

The selection of inductees was conducted after an initial screening process by the K League Hall of Fame inductees selection committee. In the player category, the selection committee recommended 15 candidates for each generation, and four inductees were selected after the selection committee's own vote (25%), team representative and manager vote (25%), media vote (25%), and online fan vote (25%). 

The inductees in the leadership and contributors categories were selected by an internal agreement of the selection committee. The selection committee was chaired by former Sports Seoul editor-in-chief  Kim Ho-gon, former Suwon FC manager Ahn Ki-heon, former Busan IPark CEO Park Jae-young, Coupang Play commentator Han Joon-hee, and Lee Jong-sung, a sports industry professor at Hanyang University.


Kim Jung-nam is selected as the first inductee from the leadership category. In 1989, while with Yukong Elephants, Kim Jung-nam won his first league title. He moved to Ulsan Hyundai in the year 2000 where he spent eight years and in 2005 delivered Ulsan's second K League title. He is known as being a gentleman and always emphasized clean game manners and fair play along with his neat appearance. As a coach, Kim Jung-nam recorded 210 wins, 168 draws, and 159 losses in the K League.

Honorary Inductees

The late POSCO honorary chairman Park Tae-joon is the first inductee in the contributor category. Park Tae-joon contributed greatly to the qualitative and quantitative growth of Korean football, including the establishment of Pohang Steel Football Team (now Pohang Steelers) in 1973, the construction of Pohang Steel Yard, Korea's first football-specific stadium in 1990, Gwangyang Football Stadium in 1992, Jeonnam Dragons in 1994, and the construction of a youth system. K League will honour of the achievements of Park Tae-joon, a visionary of Korean football.

K League will hold a special ceremony in May and invite the inductees in order to present them with awards and certificates. The achievements of the inductees will be announced and celebrated through year-round events, commemorative videos, and online memorial hall dedication, including invitations to related clubs' home games.


K League Hall of Fame Inductees' Records

Choi Soon-ho (Pohang 1983-1987, Lucky Goldstar 1988-1990, Pohang 1991)

K League 1 1986
K League Best Eleven 1984

Hong Myung-bo (Pohang 1992-1997, 2002)

K League MVP 1992
K League Best Eleven 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002

Shin Tae-yong (Seongnam 1992-2004)

K League MVP 1995, 2001
Young Player Award 1992
Top Goalscorer Award 1996
Best Eleven 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Lee Dong-gook (Pohang 1998-2002 & 2005-2006, Sangmu 2003-2005, Seongnam 2008, Jeonbuk 2009-2020)

K League MVP 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015
Young Player Award 1998
Top Goalscorer Award 2009
Top Assist Award 2011
K League Best Eleven 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015

Kim Jung-nam (Yukong Elephants 1985-1992, Ulsan 2000-2008)

K League 1989, 2005
Manager of the Year 1989

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