“Soccer brings everyone together”…Athletes with developmental disabilities – integrated soccer with the K League
K-League players appear in the Unified Football All-Star Game “We become one through soccer”
Love team players rejoicing
“I think soccer is a sport that brings everyone together. I’m glad that I can do good things with soccer.”
Im Sang-hyeop, a striker for professional soccer K-League 1 FC Seoul, met with reporters after the first game of the ‘2023 Special Olympics Korea K-League Unified Soccer All-Star Game’ held at Korea University’s Hwajeong Gymnasium in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul on the 9th and said this.
Lim Sang-hyeop, who participated as an active K-League player along with Kim Seung-seop (Jeju), Kim Kang-san (Daegu), Park Tae-jun (Seongnam), Byun Jun-su (Daejeon), and Lee Chang-yong (Anyang), said, “Maybe it’s because I took a lot of time off due to injury, but the skills of the players I’m playing against are good.” “I think it was better than I thought,” he said with a laugh.
The All-Star Game, in which players selected from 11 K-League integrated soccer teams, in which developmentally disabled players and non-disabled players teamed up, competed against each other as the ‘Sarang Team’ and ‘Fruit Team’, was played as a 6-on-6 futsal match, and after a fierce battle, Sarang was defeated. The team won 5-4.
Im Sang-hyeop, who played for the Love Team and scored a goal in the second half, said, “I think we have become one through soccer. I learned a lot from watching the (developmentally disabled) players play with passion,” and “Soccer is a sport where everyone is together, so there is a lot of “I think it contains a lot,” he said.
Lee Ho, a former professional player who played for Gangwon FC and Daejeon Citizen (now Daejeon Hana Citizen) and a content creator who runs the soccer YouTube channel ‘Goale’, also visited the gym as a member of the Sarang team that day.
Lee Ho said, “Unified soccer is getting bigger and bigger, but there are some regrets. I hope more people come and pay more attention,” and added, “As a soccer player, I’m glad that soccer seems to be exerting a positive influence on society thanks to events like this. The K-League “There are a lot of people who don’t know about organizing events like this, but I’m glad to see the social influence of soccer growing,” he said.
The purpose of integrated soccer is to encourage people with developmental disabilities and non-disabled people to understand each other and encourage social inclusion of people with developmental disabilities.
After completing the first All-Star game in which active players and YouTubers were invited, the Sarang team won 6-2 in the second All-Star game in which the team consisted only of players from 11 integrated soccer teams.
Cho Young-bae of Gyeongnam FC was selected as the best player of this match.
Cho Young-bae said, “The biggest appeal of integrated soccer is that non-disabled people can get together together,” and “Before, everyone kicked the ball individually, but now that they play soccer and eat together with their partner (non-disabled) players, they are building friendships.” “Personally, I’m really happy because the barrier of disability seems to be disappearing little by little,” he said.
This All-Star Game was co-hosted by the Korea Professional Football League and Special Olympics Korea.
Actor Lee Jeong-hyeon, who visited the site as a public relations ambassador for Special Olympics Korea, said, “I received an offer to be a public relations ambassador, and I gladly accepted it because I really liked the purpose. I was surprised that everyone was so good. Everyone was so talented that I had fun watching the event.” 스포츠토토맨