Korea University students and Japanese exchange students from Okinawa meet to play in the K7 League.
The K7 Seocho-gu C Division League for the 2023 season was held on the 6th at Banpo Sports Complex. FC Okinawa of Seocho-gu defeated IMEU11 of Seocho-gu 2-0 on the day.
Baek Dong-ho, FC Okinawa’s captain and midfielder, founded the club in 2016. Speaking to the Korea Football Association, Baek said, “FC Okinawa is a team founded by alumni of Korea University. When I was a student, a Japanese friend from Okinawa and Japanese exchange students said, ‘Let’s have fun playing soccer,'” he said, sharing the background of the team.
FC Okinawa was “rushed” into existence in order to participate in the tournament in front of them. Initially, the team consisted of four Japanese players. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese players were forced to return to their home countries, and the team now consists of one Japanese player, a graduate of Korea University, and members of the general public.
FC Okinawa currently has 45 players. Their ages range from late 20s to late 30s, and eight of them are former players. Some members have played or coached for Korea University’s soccer team. “We are running the team with various players and making the team organized and systematic,” said Baek Dong-ho.
His philosophy with FC Okinawa is one of positivity. “I often tell the players, ‘Let’s have fun, let’s have fun kicking the ball.’ 꽁머니 One of the purposes of playing soccer is to relieve stress, so we try to laugh and support each other even if we make mistakes,” he explains.
“Soccer is a team sport, not an individual sport. Therefore, we have to work well together. We often clash because of our different soccer backgrounds, but how to harmonize them is a difficult problem,” he said.
Baek played as a temporary goalkeeper for the game. He said, “I’m happy that we won without any injuries. I played goalkeeper, which is not my main position, but I’m more satisfied because we kept a clean sheet.”
FC Okinawa has been participating in the K7 League for three years since 2021. Baek said, “We aim to win the K7 League every year. In 2021, we faced a team with former national player Song Jong-guk in the final, but we lost and failed to be promoted. In 2022, we also lost to LEO FC, a team with many former players, and failed to get promoted. “This season, we will definitely challenge for promotion,” he said.