On the afternoon of the 13th, when the soccer YouTuber ‘Goale’ team appeared at the Jecheon Soccer Center, the participants started to stir. Both special (developmentally disabled) players and partner (non-disabled) players approached Lee Ho, a former professional YouTuber, and asked for a selfie.
The ‘Goale’ team is a part of the ‘2023 Special Olympics Korea (SOK) K-League Integrated Soccer Clinic’ of Season 3 of ‘Everyone’s Soccer Field, Everyone’s K-League’, a social contribution activity that the Professional Football Federation and Hana Financial Group have been doing since 2020. As part of this, a rotational class was conducted for the participants.
A total of 300 people from 10 teams participated in this clinic. Existing Gyeongnam (Changwon Admi FC) Daejeon (Fun Fun Club, Byeolha Regional Children’s Center) Busan (Dynamic FC) Seongnam (Kolon Seongnam FC) Incheon (Dajigi FC) Jeonbuk (Cooperative Iksan Dream Sports, Dream Dream FC) Jeju (Jeju Island Disabled People) Two new teams, Chungnam Asan (Asan City Sports Association for the Disabled) and the Professional Soccer Federation (Seoul Municipal Welfare Center for People with Developmental Disabilities), participated in Pohang (Pohang Bio Park FC).
Each team consisted of up to 25 players, including 10 special players, 10 partner players, and 5 coaching staff. Partner players were recruited from existing integrated soccer team players or public tests.
The ‘Goale’ team was divided into 4 groups in 2 stadiums at the Jecheon Soccer Center and conducted a soccer clinic. I learned how to use hoist kicks, high ball control using the thighs and instep, and straight dribbles, which are useful in actual soccer. Eight instructors, including Lee Ho, Park Mourinho and Sunnavaro, kindly taught the participants ‘how to play soccer well’. The participants seemed to be focusing on the ‘special tutoring’ class, which is not easily accessible.
Lee Ho said, “I came in contact with the K-League Unified Soccer players held by the federation last year when Goale participated in the Unified Soccer All-Star Game, which the K-League players worked hard together.” I was able to proceed with fun because I liked it. Among the special players, there were those who seemed to have played soccer for the first time, and there were also those who had high-level skills. However, they all enjoyed it, so we were able to proceed with fun. I know that this year is the 3rd year, but if there is something that Goale can help in the future, I want to actively participate.”
Pro Football Federation Yang Song-hee, who participated in the clinic directly, said, “The federation founded an integrated soccer team last month and there was no opportunity to get to know special players. It was nice to be able to become friends while doing recreation and clinic today.” “The clinic was harder than I thought, and other players I was able to confirm the difference in skill with the other players. I think I need to work harder.”
Prior to this, participants performed a recreational warm-up with fun. After the clinic, the first day of the SOK K-League Unified Soccer Clinic will be completed with yoga classes, team training, and coaching staff meetings. On the 2nd day, the 14th, a friendly match will be held to compete with the skills honed through the clinic that day.
SOK Chairman Lee Yong-hoon met with reporters that day and said, “This year marks the 3rd year of integrated soccer. Inner growth is just as important as the outward growth of special players. The purpose of the clinic is to grow and develop both the external and internal aspects at the same time.” explained.
He continued, “Last year, we invited the Valencia Unified Soccer Team to hold the International Club Cup. We expect 12 teams to participate in this year’s Unified Soccer Tournament. In the process of creating an integrated sports social model, we have had our own results.”
‘Everyone’s Soccer Field, Everyone’s K-League’ is a social contribution activity that the federation and Hana Financial Group have been doing since 2020. In seasons 1 and 2, it took the lead in improving sports viewing by providing a guide map to K-League stadiums for the mobility impaired.
Season 3 is based on integrated soccer for people with developmental disabilities and non-disabled people. Beyond indirect support for watching sports, we want to contribute to improving the human rights of people with disabilities and expanding the sports base by directly participating in sports for people with disabilities.
In September 2021, the federation and SOK signed a business agreement to promote integrated soccer. Since then, they have jointly promoted the launch and operation of the Special Olympics integrated soccer team under the K-League (including training support), the annual Special Olympics K-League integrated soccer tournament (Unified Cup), and the Unified Soccer All-Star Game. 스포츠토토
This year, we support the operation and training of the integrated soccer team, hold the unified soccer competition ‘Unified Cup’, hold the unified soccer all-star game, carry out education to improve awareness of the disabled, and work with social enterprises ‘Hana Power On’ and ‘Hana Social Venture’ to help people with disabilities. We plan to carry out various projects that will be the subject of this.