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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Korean Joga Bonito, Part X: Goyang Hi FC - A Christian-based Football Club that makes you HIGH.


Goyang Hallelujah-Immanuel Football Club or simply known as Goyang Hi FC is a South Korean professional football team based in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. They currently compete in the K League Challenge. They play their home games in Goyang Stadium, located at 1601 Jungangno, Daehwa-dong 2320-beonji, Goyang IlsanSeo-gu.

The club traces its origins to Immanuel FC, a Christian football club founded in 1983. The team previously played in Iksan and Gimpo before moving to Ansan. Immanuel FC, the predecessor of Goyang Hi FC, was founded in 1983. In 1985, Immanuel FC and Hallelujah FC decided to join together to create a unified Christian football club. As a result, Immanuel FC became Hallelujah's reserve team. After the 1985 season, Hallelujah FC left the professional ranks in order to concentrate their financial efforts on missionary work.

The two clubs separated after one year. Immanuel FC participated in many tournaments as and amateur football club. They even competed with Hallelujah FC in 1991. In 1992, Immanuel FC suffered from a lack of funds. Therefore, E-Land took over the team and changed name to E-Land Puma FC. From 1992 to 1998, they won the three championships in some tournaments.

At the start of 1998, the Asian Financial Crisis affected the club's parent group E-Land, necessitating the release of the club, which became amateur again as Immanuel FC. The club brought in some footballers for Hallelujah FC and changed their name to Hallelujah FC in 1999. The foundation of Hallelujah FC is the official starting point of Goyang Hi FC history by K League. 

In 2003, the team moved to Iksan and joined the Korea National League, finishing a creditable third after the First Stage, but were prevented from competing in the Second Stage after protests by radical Won Buddhists led to the club being barred from playing in Iksan. The club moved to Gimpo, where they enjoyed their most successful season in the National League in 2006, completing the Second Stage at the summit of the league, before being defeated in the Championship Play-off. 

The club moved again, this time to Ansan in 2007 under the banner 'Ansan Hallelujah FC'. The club made another successful campaign in 2008, a season which saw them reach the final of the National League Championship, where they were defeated on penalties, before evolving into Ansan 'H' FC for the 2012 National League season. In September 2012, it was confirmed that the team would be moving to Goyang City for the 2013 season, and changed its name to Goyang Hi FC.