It’s been a long time since the days of soccer fans going wild on the pitch, but the ‘soccer city’ of Yeongdeok proves that their status hasn’t changed. When Korean soccer’s World Cup legends gathered in Yeongdeok, the people of Yeongdeok gathered at a sports field to watch them, creating a buzzing atmosphere.
The ‘Yeongdeok Football Festa with World Cup Legends FC’ was held at 3 p.m. on July 7 at the Yeongdeok Military Sports Complex. The event was hosted by Best Eleven, Korea’s top soccer magazine, and organized by Best Eleven and the Yeongdeok County Football Association. It was also sponsored by Yeongdeok County, Yeongdeok County Sports Association, Sports Tribe, Sports Underwear Rashban, and Aloinx.
The youngest legend to attend the event was Jang Dae-il, a member of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France who now serves as a youth coach for the Korea Football Association. It has been more than 25 years since then, so many of the players have become unfamiliar faces to young soccer fans. However, the soccer town of Yeongdeok was different, and a considerable number of local soccer fans gathered at the Yeongdeok Civilian Stadium to see soccer stars they had only seen on TV in the past. Some “fanatics” even made photo albums of the legends who participated in the event and asked for autographs.
Yeongdeok County also put a lot of effort into the event. Ha Sang-mok, president of the Yeongdeok County Football Association, said, “As Korean soccer legends gathered in Yeongdeok, we wanted to give them a pleasant memory, so we tried to honor them like ‘players’ instead of legends.”
“Yeongdeok is a soccer city. I personally call it a ‘holy place’. Many national teams have been produced in this small city, and they are constantly coming out,” he said. “That’s why Kim Kwang-yeol, the head of Yeongdeok, instructed us to pay as much attention as possible during the working group meeting. He said a lot about gradually turning it into a festival,” he says, emphasizing that they’ve done a lot to support it as a local event.
Indeed, the event was not just a soccer clinic and a friendly match, but a festival. Comedian Choi Ki-baek’s non-stop hilarious hosting and World Cup Legend FC member Lee Sang-yoon, who is known for his easy-on-the-ear commentary, kept the soccer fans in attendance smiling with his hilarious quips.
Yeongdeok County Governor Kim Kwang-yeol welcomed the event, saying, “Thank you for visiting Yeongdeok, a soccer town, from the 1986 FIFA Mexico World Cup to the 1998 FIFA France World Cup.” He added, “Yeongdeok is ‘Gungi’ for soccer. Everyone loves soccer. Of course, we cheered them on during the World Cup, and when we heard that the legends were coming, everyone rushed to see their faces,” he said, sharing the local atmosphere.
Mr. Kim, who played as a member of the Yeongdeok County Government’s selection team in a friendly match against World Cup Legends FC on the same day, said, “Since they are leading Korean soccer, I hope they will give us a lot of advice for the development of soccer in Yeongdeok through this opportunity.” He added that the event was meaningful because it allowed him to connect with soccer legends.
In addition, Kim Gun-soo said, “In the future, Yeongdeok plans to pay a lot of attention to sports marketing through soccer. This is because Yeongdeok is a soccer town. There are many good facilities, and soccer can promote the region. It helps us a lot.” He also thanked the Best Eleven Yeongdeok Football Festa for creating a big event in the region alongside the World Cup Legend FC.
The event was held as part of the 2023 Yeongdeok Football Festa with Best Eleven, a youth soccer tournament held in June around Yeongdeok. The World Cup legends conducted clinics for local youth players and donated the scholarships they raised to help promising local players and underprivileged children grow up healthy. 온라인바카라