Groundhopper's guide to..... Ansan Wa~ Stadium
Ansan Greeners FC was formed in 2017 to replace the previous tenants of Wa~ Stadium, Ansan Mugungwha. Throughout their short history, the Greeners have only played in K League 2, never finishing higher than fifth. Their stadium holds the rare distinction of having hosted international football and rugby matches in Korea. This is our short guide to their stadium.
"'wa' means harmonious cheering" and the squiggle ~ after "wa" is commonly used to elongate a sound. A good football example of this in Korea would be the national team's primary chant; 대~~~~~한~민~국!
Wa~ Stadium is, you've guessed it, a multi-use arena for athletics and football. Unlike their Line 4 rivals, FC Anyang, there are no temporary seats here minimizing the impact of the running track. The stadium is made up of a lower bowl sweeping around the field and then a covered upper tier in the two long stands, sky blue and orange seats, and one large TV screen. Of Korea's 10 World Cup stadiums, it sort of resembles Gwangju's.
This ground has had an eventful history since its opening in 2007. I must be one of the very few people to have seen international rugby and football on its hallowed turf. The Korean national rugby team played two games here (v Hong Kong and the Philippines) in May 2013. The following year, Wa~ was used for the 2014 Asia Games, with several group stage and two round of 16 games held in Ansan. The highlight of my trips to Wa~ was the doubleheader between Malaysia-v-Laos and South Korea-v-Saudi Arabia.
|Player profiles at the East stand entrance. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Ansan is a city in western Gyeonggi-do, directly south of Incheon and around 30 km from central Seoul. Ansan has a maritime border to the west, big commercial and population centers along the Sky Blue Line 4, farmland, and huge industrial complexes which employ thousands of foreign workers. Because of this, Ansan is applying for status as a special multicultural city due to the number of foreign workers and residents.
Wa~ Stadium is a very short walk from Gojan Station and anyone who renewed their visa at the Ansan Branch of Korean Immigration will get a perfect view of the stadium from the windows. Gojan is two stops from Ansan Station.
- train: Gojan Station is serviced by the Sky Blue Line 4 and Suin-Bundang Line of the Seoul subway system. You can take Line 4 to Seoul Station in an hour. The Suin-Bundang stretches all the way from Incheon on the west coast through Ansan, Suwon, and Seongnam and eventually into Seoul around Gangnam before crossing the river to terminate at Cheongnyangni.
- bus: Ansan Bus Terminal is a 45 minutes walk east along Jungang-daero, just beyond Jungang Station. From here, you can go to East Seoul Terminal and dozens of other locations nationwide.
- parking: There's a limited number of parking spaces at the stadium. However, you can park at the Ansan Arts Centre next door, or beside Gojan Station.
- Online: Ticketlink is the best place to buy Ansan Greeners' tickets online. It is remarkably straightforward. You can only sit in the East or West stands.
- Ticket booth: There are ticket booths behind the two main stands. The one photographed above is next to the store and food trucks on the East side.
Where to sit:
|Empty seats during a midweek game dominated by yellow dust. (image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
As mentioned above, this is probably the least complicated stadium to buy tickets. You can only sit in the East or West Stands, in the lower or upper tiers. Unlike a lot of their competitors, Wa~ offers the bare minimum. A seat and nothing else. No tables, tents, grassy terraces, safe standing, you name it.
The East Stand is divided into 21 blocks known as the Green Zone. Blocks E1-E10 are in the lower tier and blocks E11-E21 are upstairs.
The away fans are also located here and they command the last 2 blocks on the southern ends (E9-10 and E11-12). All tickets here cost ₩10,000
The opposite side is the West Stand, or main stand, also known as the Wolf Zone. Blocks W1-W8 are lower and blocks W9-W18 are upper. All tickets cost ₩12,000.
|Chicken skewers before the midweek clash with Suwon Samsung Bluewings. (image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Prior to a recent mid-week FA Cup game against Suwon Bluewings, there were three trucks behind the East stand. The chicken skewers I bought were ₩5,000 won each.
Beers are on sale at the stores inside the ground and can be consumed at your seat. Snacks, water, bottles of tea, etc are also for sale. From Seoul to Jeju, Changwon to Gwangju, there's very little variation in what each stadium sells.
|Ansan Greeners' crest is underrated! A green t-shirt with that logo on the front would be nice. (image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
A small Greeners store behind the East Stand sells jerseys, flags, tumblers, and scarves. Last season, merchandise featuring their former Indonesian player was jumping off the racks but he's gone, so the remaining stock is equivalent to other K League 2 grounds.
I'm sure there are better things to see and do in the greater Ansan area, but the food options next to Ansan Station are fascinating. The Uzbek restaurant was so good that I visited Uzbekistan a few years ago.
Oido, the final stop on Line 4, is by the coast. There are islands nearby that are worth checking out, too.
Finally, if you are planning to visit this stadium or any others in Korea, and haven't already done so, please download the Futbology app. It is a great way to find information about stadiums and keep track of all the teams and grounds you have visited.