Victory is sweet after 18 yearsEighteen years of embarrassment and frustration ended for Seoul National University’s soccer team on Sunday.
The side, made up completely of amateurs who had never before played on a school team in their entire lives, beat Jinju International University 4-2 in a preliminary match for the fall college soccer league held in Namhae, South Gyeongsang province. It was the first victory for the school’s soccer team since 1986.
There was panic among Seoul players and fans when Jinju scored on a penalty with just under five minutes remaining in regulation time. But as play got back under way, freshman Kim Dae-hyeon went on a marauding raid into the Jinju end, leaving two defenders in his wake before slotting home to assure victory.
“We really won!” players on the bench shouted, wiping tears from their eyes.
When the final whistle sounded, the Seoul university players all looked up at the sky. This victory comes on the heels of the first win in 200 games for the school’s baseball team in September.
Seoul National University’s soccer team wasn’t always a laughing stock. From 1981 to 1984, the school came in second in the national university competition. Stars of those teams include KBS soccer correspondent Lee Yong-soo, Korea Football Association official Kang Shin-woo and J-League coach Hwang Bo-gwan.
The team started its downward spiral in the mid-1980s after the university stopped giving preference to student athletes in its selection process. Before Sunday, the last win came against Dankook University in 1986.
Despite the rare victory, Seoul National University didn’t qualify for the main national competition. For the players, however, that seemed to matter very little.
by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un