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Star Soccer Players Give Hopes to Children in Need

Posted December. 26, 2004 22:42,   


Mainly comprising the members of the 2002 World Cup team on Team Love (22 players) and the members of the 2004 Athens Olympic team on Team Hope (20 players), the star soccer players made an appearance on the ground, dressed as Santa Claus and Rudolph. Hong Myung-bo, Hwang Sun-hong, and Park Ji-sung were on Team Love, and Choi Sung-gook and Kim Dong-jin were on the Team Hope. Twenty-four children with cancer and about 2,000 orphans were invited to this fund-raising charity soccer match and regained their smiles during the event.

The Community Chest of Korea’s Kang Seung-won, who led the cancer-stricken children to the stadium, said that he came with those whose illness had taken a turn for the better. “I wish I could have came with more children,” Kang said.

Lee Chung-man, a 13-year-old middle school student from Chungju who underwent a successful operation to remove brain tumor this year due to the financial support from last year’s event, performed the kick-off. “I’m genuinely grateful to the soccer players. I will definitely pay back all the love that I received,” Lee said. Lee added that he wants to become a doctor, and that his eventual dream is to build a hospital where children can study while receiving medical treatment.

Some 22,000 fans joined the star players in the fund-raising event as well.

Hong Myung-bo handed 200 million won to the Community Chest of Korea. The money was obtained from ticket sales, donations, and the broadcasting commission. “I thank my fellow players who joined this event and the fans who came to watch and cheer us despite the biting cold weather. I would like to continue to develop this event, which helps our neighbors in need through soccer,” said Hong. Hwang Sun-hong said that he will continue to look for ways for people in soccer to help needy people. Kim Ho-gon, former head coach of the 2004 Athens Olympic soccer team who led Team Hope, felt proud after the event, saying that his juniors did what his generation could not do.

The match ended in a 6-6 draw. Lee Dong-gook of Team Hope, who scored four goals, was named the MVP, and the goalkeepers of both teams—Kim Byung-ji and Lee Woon-jae—each managed to score on penalties. Kim Byung-ji also played as an offensive player that day.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com