With the spirit of peace, heartwarming soccer games took place.
<PineNews 14 May 2019> More than 300 local churches from the Youth Union of Korean Churches, part of Christian Gospel Mission (CGM), were gathered at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on 12 May to hold the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament. With the cheering from more than 40,000 CGM members, the atmosphere at Daejeon World Cup Stadium became even more vibrant than the 2002 World Cup.
Around 200 international players from 14 countries, including Korea, Canada, Hongkong, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and more than 2,000 cheering supporters were present. The matches of the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament were played with ‘Peace’ as the motto and with a sincere hope of the complete termination of all wars in the world. A continuous presence of a thick cloud cover over the stadium provided radiative cooling throughout the day.
The event began with a joint Sunday Service. It was followed by the opening ceremony, the semifinals, the finals, and the closing ceremony. During the Sunday Service, President Jung Myung Seok said, “The greatest blessing in human life is loving and serving God, brothers and sisters.”
During the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament, the Peace Cheering Group presented a performance that involved a large soccer ball with the words ‘Peace Soccer’ engraved. Leading on from that performance, large banners with drawings of an eagle and a cheetah each holding a soccer ball unfolded over the 2,000 performers.
President Jung said, “Peace soccer isn’t all about winning. It aims to promote the spirit of peace. Regardless whether you are in a team that has won or lost, let’s play peaceful matches with excitement.” He further mentioned, “Soccer isn’t just a sport. It is an artwork created by 11 players through harmonizing. I hope that today can be the day when you can show your skills to your fullest.”
After the preliminary rounds, the teams that qualified for the semi-finals were: Focus, Tiger, Cheetah, and Lion (Overseas Alliance Team). The teams performed thrilling matches. The final match was between Focus and Cheetah. Focus became the final victors from the breathtaking finals. A professional athlete from the Focus team who had been interviewed said, “With the spirit of faith in God, my team and I encouraged each other when playing the matches. I had a good time, having more fun than playing in a regular league game.” President Jung led and encouraged the tournament by playing with all the teams.
Without a doubt, the International Peace Soccer Tournament displayed the spirit of peace. During the matches, players lent their hands to the fallen opponents to help them get back on their feet. It was heartwarming to see how players encouraged other players who missed opportunities to score a goal by patting on their shoulders. The crowds also cheered for every single team. Whenever a goal was scored, everyone at the tournament became ecstatic and joyous.
A university student, Kim Heechan, mentioned, “It was awe-inspiring to see how people were in harmony through soccer regardless of their race, gender and culture.” Yang Jeesoo, who attended the tournament as a member of the cheering squad, said, “it was very charming to see the cheering squad cheering for all of the teams and players contrary to the usual cheering squads, who cheer for their team, their country and their favourite players only. Also, it was very fascinating to see how the players played the matches with delight and enthusiasm.
One of the staff mentioned, “We hope the spirit of peace shown through the International Peace Soccer Tournament will spread to all over the world, so that there will be no more wars, fighting and hatred. Young people will work harder to fulfil the true peace on this earth. Please look forward to the International Peace Soccer Tournament, which will be held annually.”