The 2023 GROUND.N K League U18&17 Championship, a high school youth club competition under the K League, organized by the Korea Professional Football Association (KPA), will kick off on Saturday, June 15.
The tournament is scheduled for 14 days, from Saturday, Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 28, with all matches taking place in Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do.
The 18-year-old tournament, which features 24 teams, will be divided into six groups and play a round-of-16 tournament before the champions are crowned in the final match on Friday, Aug. 28 at 8:30 p.m. at the Cheonan Sports Complex. The U17 Championship, the lowest level of the tournament, will feature 20 teams in six groups, followed by a quarterfinal tournament and the final at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, at Cheonan Sports Complex.
Ahead of the start of the ‘2023 GROUND.N K League U18&17 Championship,’ we take a look at the rising stars who will heat up this summer.
Keep an eye on the Junior League scoring leaders
Choi Byung-wook (Jeju), the top scorer in Group A of the K-League Junior U18 Electric League, and Han Seok-jin (Jeonbuk), the top scorer in Group B, will compete side by side in the tournament.
Choi has scored a total of 11 goals in the K-League Junior U18 Electric League this season, and his goal-scoring prowess was on full display at the National Championships in February, where he scored the most goals (four) on the team. A sharp two-footed shooter, Choi is also a star performer who performs Mbappe and dance gestures after scoring goals.
Han Seok-jin scored eight goals in the K-League Junior U18 Electric League this season, leading his team to both the title and top scorer honors. After being the top scorer in the K League U15 Group B in 2021 and 2022, Han became the top scorer in the K League U18 Electric League Group B this year, the first time a first-grader has ever been the top scorer in the K League Junior. Han Seok-jin also won the title and top scorer at the U15 championship last year, so it will be interesting to see if he can switch gears and become the top scorer at the senior level this year.
Kim Myung-joon, Yoon Do-young, and Hong Seong-min: U17 Asian Cup stars
The runners-up at the 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup will also be competing in the championship.
Pohang’s Kim Myung-jun and Daejeon’s Yoon Do-young, who combined for four goals and one assist at the Asian Cup, will look to continue their performances for their respective clubs at the tournament. Kim Myung-joon is a frontline striker who is known for his lively movement and excellent goal-scoring ability, while Yoon Do-young is a right-back who has the ability to set up attacks with his precise passing.
Pohang goalkeeper Hong Seong-min, who played in the Asian Cup, conceded just four goals in eight matches in the K League Junior U18 Electric League, including six consecutive clean sheets. His strengths include reliable catching and quickness.
Jin Tae-ho (Jeonbuk), Yoo Min-joon (Seongnam), and Lim Hyun-seop (Suwon), all of whom played at the U17 Asian Cup, will also be competing in the tournament. 안전놀이터
Other notable players
Seoul’s Choi Jun-young is a left-footed center back with excellent build-up ability and excellent positioning. Choi won the Best Young Player award at last year’s U18 Championship, and this year he was named the K League Junior U1