A club front office is passionate about unified soccer, a sport in which people with developmental disabilities and people without disabilities play together. Park Jong-soo, 37, head of the PR and marketing team at professional soccer’s K League 2 Bucheon FC 1995, which participated in the Special Olympics Korea K League Unified Football Unified Cup as a partner (non-disabled) player for the second consecutive year, showed a bright smile as he said, “This time, I even auditioned and participated in the tournament proudly.”
“Last year, I couldn’t play properly due to an injury I suffered just before the tournament,” said Park Jong-soo, who met with the team on the first day of the tournament at Daejeon Anyeong Sports Park. I felt very sorry for my teammates,” he said. “This year, we passed the open test organized by the club in second place and prepared really hard.”
On May 26 of this year, Bucheon selected its partner for the K League Unified Cup through an open test based on its existing partnership with Bucheon Mayor’s Welfare Center for the Disadvantaged, Copygol FC. Eighteen people applied, and 10 survived, who trained with the existing Bokgol FC twice a month.
Park, who participated in the open test, said, “Bucheon is serious about everything. “To prove our sincerity, as the leader of the team in charge, I applied to the open test first and participated in it,” said Park.
“The process of learning systematic training was new to me, and I enjoyed working with the special needs players. Gradually, the process of opening up to each other was integrated into soccer and we had a lot of fun training.”
As for why Bucheon is actively participating in the K League Unified Cup, he said, “The direction of Bucheon’s PR and marketing is to be a soccer club that also plays soccer. As a civic club, we believe that we should have a good influence on many people through soccer in general, not only in our local communities, but also in any way we can,” he said, “and our continued participation in the K League Unified Cup is in line with that.”
The tournament, co-hosted and organized by the Korean Football Association and Special Olympics Korea, aims to break down prejudices against special athletes and their partners by playing football together, and to realize the values of social inclusion and equality for people with developmental disabilities. To encourage the active participation of K League clubs, the tournament has made it mandatory for one front office representative to participate as a player or coaching staff.스포츠토토
Park is the only club front office to participate as a partner for the second year in a row, alongside Jin Nam-ho of the Pohang Steelers. “Even though we were competing in the top group, Group A, and lost two games on the first day, I could feel our team’s cohesion and joy in the game,” said Park. “I was touched by the way the bench encouraged and clapped for the players even when we were down 0-3.”
“Bucheon played harder than anyone else in the process of losing, and I could feel them coming together even more. We have one more game tomorrow, and as always, we will encourage each other regardless of the outcome and applaud for everyone.”