South Korean Soccer Team Members Competing in Pyongyang Despite Tension Between Koreas

bearly-moving, Aug. 21, 2015, 11:52 a.m.

Although it has only been 24 hours since the missile fire from South Korea in response to North’s, South Korean soccer players taking part in a competition in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, were not fazed by the increasing tension between the two countries.

The tournament is comprised of U-15 teams, players consisting of those under 15. Teams from South Korea, North Korea, China, Uzbekistan, Croatia, and Brazil are participants, with two teams from both of the Koreas.

When the South Koreans were notified on Friday of what had taken place the previous day, tension between the players quickly dissolved when the Gyeonggi Province squad beat the Chinese team 3-0. When the game ended, most cheered for the South Koreans as they exited the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang.

The first person to score for the S. Korean team was Kang Min-seung, and he said it was an amazing experience to have made the first point for the team. He also added that the cheers during the first goal were “so loud that I got goosebumps.”

The captain of the Gyeonggi Province team, Lee Jae-hyeok, boldly declared, “we’ll come home with the championship,” and said parents should not worry too much about the team.

When there was a reception for the players hosted by the North, South Korean players as well as officials and representatives attended the event. Even in the midst of conflict, there were no signs of tension during the reception.

Hyon Chol-yun, the principal of the Pyongyang International Football School, hoped that the players would have a good time. The South Korean head of the Inter-Korean Athletic Exchange Association, Kim Gyeong-sung, replied with by saying, “we hope to host the third competition in South Korea and to be able to play at this tournament every year.”

The officials of Gyeonggi Pronvice called each parent of the players to ensure their safety, and found that most of the parents were “quite calm and collected.”

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