The Korean Futsal Federation (KFL) 2023 Futsal Korea (FK) Cup Women’s Division kicked off at Taean Min Gymnasium in Taean, Chungcheongnam-do, on July 7. It was held in a small gymnasium in front of 20 to 30 spectators, but the players’ eyes were serious as they warmed up with short passes and shots.
The first match was between Incheon ALTONG Ladies, runners-up in the women’s second division at the 25th National Futsal Championships in May, and Okcheon Queens Club, who finished third. The atmosphere in the gym heated up as soon as the starting whistle blew.
Organized by the Korea Futsal Federation and Taean County, the tournament is the largest national futsal cup competition, similar in nature to the Football Association of Korea (FA) Cup. However, the women’s division is a purely amateur competition with only eight teams competing. This is because it doesn’t have the same popularity as the men’s semi-pro league, which has 13 teams. Players must have played in elementary school to be eligible. Until recently, the federation organized an elite-level futsal competition, but this year it started organizing an amateur-level women’s soccer tournament because it didn’t have enough players. This is in response to the growing number of female futsal players following the popularity of the TV show “Goal Scoring Girls.
Don’t be fooled by the amateur women’s game. The energy they exuded from their tiny bodies was amazing. They don’t shy away from a good fight, and if they get knocked down, they get right back up and sprint to both goals. The individual skills to get past one defender are basic. If the defense moved away from the center line for a moment, a cannonball shot rattled the net.
The truth is, futsal doesn’t get as much attention as soccer. However, the success of the “goal-scoring girls” has led to an explosion in the number of women playing the sport. “You can see on the field that the number of women playing futsal has increased significantly,” said a federation official. In this tournament alone, players ranged in age from 1973 to 2002.
Han Song-hee, who led the Altong Ladies to an 18-1 record, said, “People who start playing sports and choose futsal are having fun. There are a lot of people starting now, and there are a lot of teams.” “I started playing soccer five or six years ago, in my early 20s, with an older sister I knew. I’ve been playing futsal for about a year,” he says. “I haven’t done it for a long time, but the more you do it, the harder it gets, and the more you want to do it,” he said. 안전놀이터
Queens Club goalie Eunhee Cho, born in 1973 and the oldest player in the tournament, said she’s been playing futsal for seven months. “My middle school son plays soccer as a hobby, and I got hooked after playing one game with my parents,” she said. “After the first day of practice, I went to the hospital because my shoulder and leg hurt, but it’s so much fun that I can’t give up even if it hurts,” she said, showing me the tape she had applied here and there, “and now I can run for an hour and not get out of breath.” Cho Eun-hee conceded 18 goals on the day. She had to face a lot of shots due to the objective power difference, but she also had to make a lot of saves. “There is no age limit on our team. I want to play as long as I can, and even my husband, who didn’t like it at first, now supports me.”