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NEWS

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Official: 2023 K League Award Winners

league 2023.12.05   I   hits 711

The 2023 K League awards have been announced. At the annual award ceremony in Seoul on Monday 5th December, in front of the nation's media, the players, fans, and everyone connected to K League learned which stars won the MVP, Manager, and Young Player awards, as well as who was named in the Best XIs for each division.


K League 1

MVP  - Kim Young-gwon


The 2023 K League 1 MVP is Ulsan Hyundai centre back Kim Young-gwon. Kim earned six manager votes, four from the captains, and 55 from the media to beat Ahn Young-kyu (Gwangju FC), Zeca (Pohang), and Tiago (Daejeon). Kim made 32 league appearances for Ulsan this season, helping them to win a second league title in as many seasons. He sits third in the division for passes made with 2,268, the most among the Ulsan players. 

Manager of the Year - Hong Myung-bo


After winning the K League 1 championship for a second year in a row, Ulsan Hyundai manager Hong Myung-bo has the honour of being named Manager of the Year. Coach Hong was voted for by nine of his 12 K League 1 contemporaries and four of the league's captains as well as 36 votes from the media. 

Under Hong's stewardship, Ulsan won 23 of their 38 league matches, drawing seven and losing just eight. The Horangi won the league title with three games to spare, even earlier than last season. 

Young Player of the Year - Jeong Ho-yeon


Gwangju FC midfield Jeong Ho-yeon is the 2023 K League 1 Young Player of the Year. Jeong received votes from two K League 1 managers, six captains, and 43 votes from the media. Jeong has come through the ranks at Gwangju and helped them win the K League 2 title last year. This season he featured in 34 league matches, scored two, and assisted four. Interestingly, when Jeong had scored or assisted, Gwangju were able to avoid defeat with five wins and one draw.


Top Goalscorer - Joo Min-kyu


Ulsan Hyundai's Joo Min-kyu has won the 2023 K League 1 Top Goalscorer Award. Joo scored 17 from 36 appearances this season and because he had played fewer minutes than Daejeon's Tiago (2,621 vs 2,833) who also scored 17, he wins the award. 

He scored 10 goals with his right foot, five with his left and two headers. Nine of his goals game at home and eight away. Joo managed to score in three straight games once this term and in two straight games on two separate occasions. Joo missed out last year, scoring 17 - the same as winner Cho Gue-sung - but had played more games. 

Top Assist Maker - Baek Sung-dong




Pohang Steelers winger Baek Sung-dong has won the Top Assist Maker award with eight assists in 26 matches. He also scored four goals to make a total of 12 combined goals and assists. His eighth and final assist of the season came in Round 27 this August but injury had meant that he had been unable to add too many more.

Best XI

Goalkeeper

Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan)

Defenders

Wanderson (Pohang), Alex Grant (Pohang), Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan), Seol Young-woo (Ulsan)

Midfielders

Gerso Fernandes (Incheon), Oberdan (Pohang), Lee Soon-min (Gwangju), Um Won-sang (Ulsan)

Forwards

Joo Min-kyu (Ulsan), Zeca (Pohang)



K League 2

MVP - Valdivia


Jeonnam Dragons attacking midfielder Valdivia is the 2023 K League 2 MVP. The Brazilian star recorded an incredible 14 goals and 14 assists this season to rank him top for goal contributions and joint fourth in the division's all-time records. Valdivia ranked first in the division for passes in the final third with 461, third for key passes with 56, and third for successful crosses with 44. Such statistics earned Valdivia top spot in K League's power rankings, the 'Adidas Points,' 11,064 points more than Luis Mina in second. In terms of the voting, Valdivia won six from the managers, 10 from the captains, and 52 from the media.

Manager of the Year - Ko Jeong-woon


Gimpo FC boss Ko Jeong-woon has won the 2023 K League 2 Manager of the Year award. Ko guided Gimpo to third in the table and qualified for the playoffs in the club's second season at K League level. He took over in 2020 with the club in K3 and led the team to a respectable 8th-place finish last year. This year, the team began with a 12-match unbeaten run with seven wins and five draws.

His team is defensively very resolute having conceded just 26 goals all season, the fewest in the league, and 19 cleansheets was the most. At the other end of the field, Luis Mina ended the season as the league's top scorer with 16.

Young Player of the Year - An Jae-jun


Asian Game gold medal-winning forward An Jae-jun has won the 2023 K League 2 Young Player of the Year Award. The Bucheon starlet won nine of the 13 manager votes, seven votes from the captains, and 80 from the media. An made his debut in 2021, playing 19 times and registering one assist. The 2023 season proved to be his true breakout year with 11 goals and four assists from 23 appearances. He bagged his first career hat-trick on the last day 4-1 win over Jeonnam Dragons that sealed Bucheon's place in the playoffs.

Top Goalscorer - Luis Mina




Gimpo FC striker Luis Mina's 16 goals during the regular campaign was enough to earn him the K League 2 Top Goalscorer Award. The Colombian is new to Korea and K League but got off to the best possible start by scoring on his debut in the 4-0 win over Cheonan City. His first K League hat-trick came in Round 29 against Seongnam FC and seven of his goals this term have been the match winner, further highlighting his importance to the team.

Top Assist Maker - Valdivia


The K League 2 MVP is also the league's top assist maker for 2023, Jeonnam's Valdivia. The Brazilian star recorded 14 this season in 36 appearances to set a new record. The previous best was 13 from Jang Hyeon-jin, then of Ansan Greeners. In games where Valdivia has recorded assists, the Dragons have gone on to win 10 and lost just once.

Best XI

Goalkeeper

Koo Sang-min (Busan)

Defenders

Choi Jun (Busan), Lee Sang-min (Gimcheon), Lee Han-do (Busan), Kim Dong-jin (Anyang)

Midfielders

Mo Jae-hyeon (Gyeongnam), Won Du-jae (Gimcheon), Valdivia (Jeonnam), Kim Jin-kyu (Gimchon)

Forwards

Luis Mina (Gimpo), Jorge Luiz (Chungbuk Cheongju)