Club Spotlight: Ulaangom City FC
In recent years, clubs like BCH Lions and Ilch FC have shot up the Mongolian league system, reaching the MPL from the fourth tier in as little as three seasons. Now, another team has set its sights on becoming the next club to achieve such quick success. That team is Ulaangom City Football Club. Here's what you need to know about the upstart hotshot club.
Ulaangom City was founded in 2018 as the brainchild of the top coaches, players, and football administrators in Uvs Province. To reach the Premier League and represent their aimag has always been their goal.
The first step of that journey began in August 2023 as the club competed in the National Amateur Cup for the first time. After topping its group, Ulaangom City went undefeated overall with convincing performances in the knock-out rounds en route to the championship and the right to compete in the Second League this season.
The club has already begun its Second League campaign and has now recorded two wins in its first two matches as it sits tied at the top of the table. On 2 September, Ulaangom City won a high-scoring match against a very solid Irvesuud FC 4-3 to win its first-ever contest in the league. Eight days later, they recorded a 2-0 shutout over Tuuliin Tom Tunuud FC.
Unlike most clubs playing in Mongolia's league system, Ulaangom City is not from Ulaanbaatar. Ulaangam, a city of roughly 37,000 residents, is located almost 1,400km away from the capital in the far western Uvs Province. A 3-hour flight is the quickest way to travel between the two as it can take a full 24 hours by car.
For this reason, the players representing Ulaangom and their province have moved to Ulaanbaatar; rented apartments; found jobs; and are attending school to keep their footballing dreams alive. Many of these players also represent Uvs Province in the National Championships which sees Mongolia's 21 aimags compete against each other as mini national teams. It is perhaps unsurprising that Ulaangom City is faring well as the Uvs provincial side is historically one of the nation's strongest. This connection to the Uvs team is also seen in Ulaangom's kits. Currently, the club is wearing their provincial uniforms while they try to attract a major sponsor.
Today, Ulaangom City made history again as it competed in its first-ever MFF Cup match. The match ended in a 4-1 victory over former Premier League competitor UB Mazaalai. Ulaangom took an early lead with a 12th-minute tally from T. Tormunkh. The scoreline held until minute 82 when the club doubled its lead through B. Sergelen. A few minutes later, Japanese striker Yutaro Tanabe added to the lead before D. Enbileg added a fourth. With the victory, the club advances to the second round.
At the helm of the club is head coach Buyankhishig Purevjav who originates from Ulaangom also. The former defender has played in the Premier League himself, including time with FC Ulaanbaatar and Ulaanbaatar City, in addition to playing abroad for Kaohsiung Massive FC in Taiwan. At just 28 years old, B. Purevjav is perhaps one the country's top up-and-coming managers.
The aim of Ulaangom Club is admirable; living their football dream while proudly representing their province. Regardless of what the next few years hold for the club, it has already accomplished much to be proud of.