‘I’m sixty, I’ll take out one’…20 years of tradition for Peyosun Women’s Soccer Team
Darkness descends on the artificial turf field outside the Peyseon Sports Center in Seogwipo, Jeju, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 25. The stadium lights flickered on, and women in black tracksuits, woolly hats, and gloves gathered one by one.
The sea breeze was blowing in from the mid-mountain region, and it was quite cold, but the seven members of the Peyoseon Women’s Soccer Team didn’t seem to mind as they warmed up in a circle, jumping from place to place, back and forth, side to side, etc.
When someone said, “Stretching your arms and legs like this is good for bowel movements,” the other members giggled.
Under the guidance of coach POOJOO, 31, the training began in earnest.
“Don’t make your passes too short,” he said. “
You have to give it inside (the inside of your foot).”
“When the ball comes, don’t stop and send it, send it right away.”
“Make sure to call the name of the person you’re passing to.”
After passing practice, we moved on to “trapping,” a skill that involves catching a flying ball with your body and dropping it where you want it.
The players were familiarizing themselves with different parts of their bodies, such as their heads, chests, and knees.
When Noh Young-mi, 35, who was catching the ball with her head, said, “I’m going to lose up to 300 brain cells!” Kim Geum-ja, 60, who was catching the ball with her chest, said with a serious face.
“If you hit the ball without thinking, you’ll lose brain cells, but if you hit it on purpose with the intention of (training), you won’t!”
The Peyseon women’s soccer team has a long history of more than 20 years. About 20 women, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, with different jobs, gather twice a week on Mondays and Saturdays to kick the ball around.
“Originally, there were only a few games that housewives could participate in during the Jeollanam-do Sports Competition other than dodgeball,” recalls Kim Geum-ja, a founding member, “but after watching the 2002 World Cup, I thought, ‘Why can’t we do something fun like that?’
At first, we didn’t know how to pass, kick, or play the rules of the game, so all 11 of us were just chasing the ball.
We were doing our own chores, farming, and when it was time to practice, we’d get together in our field clothes and kick the ball.
I had rheumatoid arthritis in my hands when I was in my 30s, so I was struggling early on, but when I started kicking the ball, it was like I was never sick.”
The members agreed that “the physical strength they developed on the sports field made their hearts stronger.”
Oh Soon-ok (53) said, “At first, it was difficult to run a lap around the playground, but now I can do it.
Previously, after working in the fields, I was busy lying down at home because I was out of jeans, but after coming here and sweating it out, I don’t have any nerves and my family loves it because the energy is different.”
Kim Hae-jung (53), who joined the club in the early 2000s and is now the chairwoman, said, “I think I was obsessed with my children when I was doing housework, but after I started playing soccer, that disappeared.
I gained the confidence to say, ‘I can do it, too,’ and became a person who approaches others first.”
When eleven athletes communicate to move as one, differences in age and background naturally narrow.
“I came to Jeju Island four years ago after closing my taekwondo school in Daegu,” says Noh, “and at first it was difficult to understand the dialect and culture.
One wrong pass and the harsh dialect would pour out of the mouths of my native sisters, so at least my ears are open now,” she laughs.
“Sometimes when I’m talking to my friends who are like my children, I think, ‘Oh, this is how my children feel,'” said Kim Hae-jung.
For some, the green grass was a way to fulfill their childhood dreams. 토토사이트
Yang Ji-hyun, 26, who played soccer until she was in elementary school and had to quit due to circumstances, wondered if there was a way to continue playing soccer, and knocked on the door of the Peyosun Women’s Soccer Team more than two years ago after an acquaintance introduced her to the team.
“I was still nostalgic for soccer, but it felt so good to start kicking the ball again,” says Yang, who earned a soccer coaching certificate last year at the suggestion of her coach, and now works full-time teaching youth players.
Yang’s time spent kicking the ball hasn’t always been filled with happy scenes.
While it’s no longer uncommon to see women playing sports today, 20 years ago, women were often looked down upon at home and abroad for playing soccer.
“When we gathered at the sports field, some people would openly say, ‘What are those fat women doing,’ and when I said, ‘I’m going to play soccer,’ my husband would say, ‘I’m busy, where are you going,’ and we would fight, but now it’s all natural,” Kim said.
“The number of women playing futsal has increased significantly since the entertainment program ‘Goal Hitting Girls,’ but there are still fewer women playing soccer, which requires more than twice the number of players and a longer playing time.
“It is difficult to find practice opponents with similar skills as when we were founded 20 years ago, so we search for teams made up of male elementary school students or men over 60 to play friendly matches and develop a sense of practice.”
“I hope that more women will enjoy soccer in their daily lives than now,” said Kim.