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Jeju United — and its fans — caught off guardLosing this match is especially painful, since this is the only pro sports team the locals have
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승인 2012.08.24  18:48:00
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On Thursday, Aug. 23, during a downpour at Jeju World Cup Stadium, the Orange took on Seongnam for their final home game of the season in front of roughly 1,200 drenched fans.

Jeju United showed frustration after the game when they were only permitted one goal to Seongnam’s two, both of which were scored with minutes left to play. Jeju lost the match, a crucial one they needed to remain in contention for the K-League Cup.

During the game I walked through the stadium and spoke with members from the Jeju United Youth Camp, a couple visiting Jeju from Seoul, three high school students who skipped mandatory studying hours to be at the game, and several ardent supporters of Jeju United.

▲ Midfielder Song Jin Hyung, poses with a fan's message of encouragement. That fan is elementary school student Kim Yoon Seong.
Kim Yoon Seong, a second grade elementary student who participated in the Jeju United Youth Camp, said, “I came to the field to support [midfielder] Song Jin Hyung. I want to be a soccer player like him in the future.”

▲ Fan Kim Yoon Seong. Photo by Kim Hyo Jeong
The game picked up in tempo when Jeju midfielder — and Kim Yoon Seong’s idol — Song Jin Hyung scored the first goal of the game at the ‘26. Park Kang Hyeon, a member of the Jeju United official supporters group who stand behind the net on the west side of the stadium, predicted that Jeju would win the match 2-0.

Kim Byeong Chan, another official supporter, emphasized that the Jeju players were more active on the ground and played much better than they had in previous games.

“Jair is doing an especially great job,” he said.

Before Seongnam’s two consecutive goals in the second half, those I spoke to in the crowd showed great conviction that Jeju would triumph over Seongnam. Kim Seung Seok from Jeju City was sure that the Orange would be victorious since they hadn’t lost to Seongnam since Aug. 30, 2009.

“It is the matter of how to win the game with how many goals rather than the result; since winning is so evident,” Kim said.

However, Thursday’s result was not necessarily just about the talents of the players; the weather also had a big effect.

“I have never ever watched soccer in this kind of weather,” said Cosette Ruesga, a boarding assistant for the Korea International School.

Until the middle of the second half, it seemed the goddess of fortune was smiling on Jeju. But Jeju was shaken when Éverton Santos scored at the 84th minute. The Jeju supporters did not give up hope, though.

However, after Jael from Seongnam headed in a goal off a Lee Chang Hoon corner, Jeju’s supporters could not suppress the embarrassment on their faces.

One child even shouted “Everything is over!”

After the match, The Weekly asked Kwon Tae Ho what soccer means to Jeju.

“Soccer means more than just the sport itself,” he said. “We do not have baseball and basketball teams unlike other cities. The result of today’s soccer match is very frustrating.”

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