Articles From the December 1995 Unification News


Triumph Of The Il Hwa Soccer Team

Mr. Peter Kim

This soccer team, Il Hwa professional soccer team, was formed seven years ago by Father. Father certainly saw the value and significance of developing athletics. When he formed this team, there were only five professional soccer teams in Korea. When the Il Hwa team joined the league, the other owners really didn't like it, because the other teams had been formed and supported by international conglomerates, like Hyundai, Daewoo, Samsung and Posco, which is the Po Hong iron mill company. Those mega-industrialists had their teams, then suddenly one religious group came along with this soccer team and put the name Il Hwa on it and joined their league. And not just because it was a relatively small company, Il Hwa, backed by a church, but whenever a rookie team comes, they always give a hard time. But Il Hwa's case was more than that, because of who the owner is. So our team had some difficulty. Even the referees and the people who were involved with the professional soccer league in Korea gave our team a hard time. Yet Father kept pushing our team to be strong and firm and brave and be a winner.

For that purpose, Father picked a special head coach, Mr. Pak, who has been well-known in Korea as the toughest coach. He loves the old-time Spartan training, very hard training. So once the players are in the dormitory for group training for several months, two or three months at a time, they cannot even go out at night. Even during the daytime they cannot go out, even to visit their wives. They cannot drink, they cannot smoke, nothing. They have to absolutely follow the strict training regimen. That hardship training was coach Pak's trademark. This Il Hwa team has been well-trained by Mr. Pak.

As a result, even though persecution and mistreatment came from all the other teams and league officials, the Il Hwa team started winning. Two years ago, in fact, in 1993 Il Hwa won the national championship. The soccer-related people in Korea were in shock, because they never expected that Il Hwa would win. Il Hwa was always put down, and they treated Il Hwa as a third-rate team, but Il Hwa suddenly won the championship

Then the other teams became serious about Il Hwa. But at that point, Father scouted one good goalie, a Russian. His name is Zaruchev. By now he is known among soccer people in Korea as the "goalie with the hands of God." He never misses any ball, he never let any ball go into the goal. With this goalie scouted from Russia, Il Hwa was in good shape.

So Il Hwa steadily improved and then last year, Il Hwa won the national championship again, for the second year in a row. So when they accomplished this second championship, Father brought them to Europe, to show them around the European continent and give them a chance to play a friendship game with a German team. So they all came with their wives, their families, to the European continent and I heard they had a good time. They were invited to our hotel in France. When those guests come, our Unification Church brothers and sisters are good in serving them, so our service melted their hearts, and they were really happy. They were well fed. At the same time they had a friendship game with one German professional team. By the time they returned to Korea, they really knew the meaning of heavenly true love.

After that treat was given, Father demanded that they win one more time, three years consecutively, to set the historical record, an unprecedented record in the history of the Korean soccer league. Also even in the future, I don't think any professional Korean soccer team will break that record. Father told them, "You must win one more year.

Then I will give you another surprise." So they were determined to win this year. Actually even though Father said it, and they were really determined, but not many people believed that they would win one more time. Commentators said, "Well, beginner's luck. Maybe you were really lucky, that's why you won twice in a row. But the third year there is no chance." That was the general feeling among these soccer-related people in Korea.

The Korean soccer season is divided in half each year. The first half of the year, six months, they have one league there, of course, which is now eight teams, and they select one finalist out of the first half year. Il Hwa became the finalist from this first half year season. So the hope was high, and everybody thought now this third year championship was within reach. But what happened was because of their pride, they became a little bit arrogant, I think. They felt they had won the first half year, so it's a piece of cake now.

Then the second half of the year, Il Hwa placed seventh out of eight. Also, the finalist team of the second half year had now really good players and they were a rising star. From the beginning to the end they constantly won and won. Nobody could beat them. So everybody in Korea thought the finalist from the second half of the league year would win the championship this year. That was their analysis and all the specialists in Korea believed so.

Yet Father said, go ahead and win the championship again! Even though Il Hwa was seventh in the second half of the year, because Il Hwa was the finalist in the first half of the year, our team still could have the play-off with the finalist from the second half of the year. Il Hwa had the play-off in the month of October with the finalist team called Posco, the team of the Po Hang Iron Mill Company, which is maybe the second or third biggest iron company in the world. They tied the first game one to one. Then the soccer specialists started shaking their heads: we thought Il Hwa would be easily beaten by Posco, but what's happening? Then people started wondering.

The second match took place at the begining of November. This second match had significance. That was the day, I am sorry to remind you about this, that was the day that Father was detained at the airport in Paris. So Father was taken into the immigration office in the airport, this little tiny office, he was sitting inside there and True Mother, Rev. Kwak, and President Sa of the European continent were sitting outside in the waiting room. Of course, Rev. Kwak strongly protested to the immigration officials and the airport people. They were fighting: "This kind of injustice cannot be done here, please release Rev. Moon right away." They had all kinds of arguments, and everybody was in a very tense mood. In the midst of that serious fight suddenly Father sent a message to Rev. Kwak to call Korea and find out the result of this second soccer match.

That morning as Father and Mother left Hungary, already the first half of the second game was over, and Il Hwa was losing 2-0. That's why by the time they arrived at the airport in Paris, when Rev. Kwak called Korea, he had no cause for hope. The first half score was 2-0, and that game was taking place in Posco's home stadium. Over 25,000 people were gathered there cheering the Posco team. Even though the Il Hwa bought busloads of people, we had only 2 or 3,000 people, so it was not a match at all in terms of the crowd support. Yet Rev. Kwak had to call Korea because he was told to do so, and the news came that the score was tied 3-3! In the first half Il Hwa was losing 2-0, but in the second half, Il Hwa made three goals right at the start, so Il Hwa was leading by 3-2. If Il Hwa could have held on and defended themselves, they could have won, but in the 43rd minute of the second half, Posco made another goal. So the game ended in a tie.

So as soon as that news was given to Rev. Kwak in that intense moment outside Father's detaining room there, they were shouting and laughing and all kinds of commotion was taking place, so these French immigration officials and police were puzzled. "We thought these people were serious, but they are suddenly laughing." Of course, they were talking in Korean, so the French people didn't know. But Father and Mother were so much giving support and interested in and even praying for this soccer match, that even in that intense moment, Father wanted to know what the result was. Father didn't care: "Oh, you bring me in here and try to find out what's happened with me and interrogate me, go ahead, I don't care, but I have to see what's happening in Korea." That's Father, that's what Father is like. It was the same thing in Danbury. When he was in prison there, he never paid any attention about the hardship he was going through and the treatment he was receiving from them. Even while he was sweeping the floor, he showed no emotion, but always worked toward his goal, large or small. By the same token, even at that particular moment, Father doesn't speak French, actually Father was left in the dark to a certain extent, yet he told Rev. Kwak to call Korea and find out. So that much attention was given by Father to this game.

So twice the games ended in ties. According to the regulations of the Korean soccer league, they had to play one more game, the final game, the third match. The winner decided by the third game would be the champion. If the third game ends in a tie, they will decide the winner by sudden-death overtime. As soon as one team makes a goal, then overtime play ends right there. Even three minutes into the overtime period, if a goal is scored, then the game finishes there. So this third round final match took place on November 18. This time the game took place near Seoul, in a city called An Yang, maybe twenty miles south of Seoul. Seoul is Il Hwa's home ground, the Il Hwa team represents the Seoul region, so of course many of our fans went there to cheer our team.

Now, the second match between Posco and Il Hwa was labelled, "the game of the century," because it became so interesting and everybody was doing their absolute best to win. Nobody tired and the goals were stunning, miraculous plays. I think you have to watch the videotape, which Father watched twice. One television commentator said, "I never saw such a game. Such professional play will bring millions and millions of people to watch. Now Korean soccer has a future; if each Korean soccer game is this exciting, it has a good future." It was a beautiful game. But on the other hand, the third match was really dull, because now each team was desperate not to lose. Offense was not the strategy, but defense was the strategy. Once a team makes a goal, they don't have any chance, because, according to Rev. Kwak, in a professional soccer match, there is a term called locking. If you make a goal, until the end of the game, to secure the score, the entire eleven players build a wall in front of the half line so that the ball cannot penetrate. That kind of lock system is difficult to overcome.

The players know that, so that's why they didn't want to give up one goal. Each team had the same strategy. Instead of showing their skills and running and playing with the ball, everybody started pushing and kicking each other, then many players got kicked out because they received the red card, and twice yellow card, and got kicked out. Finally the Posco team lost one player, so they had to play with ten players instead of eleven, whereas the Il Hwa team still had eleven. The Il Hwa team too received many yellow cards, they were right on the verge too, but they still had eleven members.

The game was going on, but after ninety minutes, there was no score. Obviously everybody was disappointed. But still they were cheering. But everybody was disappointed, because it was fighting, not really playing. But then there was overtime, so they had to continue this tough game. Then in the 13th or 14th minute of overtime, Il Hwa finally made a goal. As soon as Il Hwa made the goal, that was the end of the game. Il Hwa became the third-year consecutive champion, setting a new record in Korea.

In an interesting analysis, one newspaper, the biggest newspaper in Korea, wrote an article on this championship tournament. This is a daily newspaper, not a sports paper. The title was "God prepared Il Hwa to win, step by step." They said God prepared Il Hwa to win, first, by having Posco lose one player. It wasn't Il Hwa's fault, it was Posco's fault. The referee was not on Il Hwa's side, actually the referee was in favor of the Posco team, but because they made a big mistake the referee kicked one player out, so Il Hwa had the advantage. That was the first step.

Second, two of the top players on the Posco team were out already, because one was injured and the other already received many yellow cards so he couldn't play in that particular game. So the Posco team was not as strong as it could have been.

And third, they said the Il Hwa team's head coach is a very wise person and he made a substitution just at the right time. The new player who was sent in to replace another player made the goal. Thus this head coach had a brilliant strategy. They didn't want to say clearly that God was with the Il Hwa team, but at least they wrote "God prepared the Il Hwa team to win step by step." Also everybody in Korea knows that the owner of the Il Hwa team is Rev. Moon. This has some kind of positive connotation, indicating that because Rev. Moon supports this team, God is with this team, and that's why the Il Hwa team won. That is what they were saying. In other words, heavenly fate was with the Il Hwa team. That's why even though all those soccer professionals expected that the Posco team would win, Il Hwa won the championship this year again. That is the victory we shared during this world speaking tour. Father and Mother were so happy.

Father had promised them another bonus this year, so he would bring this Il Hwa team to South America and give them a chance to play with a world-renowned professional team from Argentina or Brazil.

Also, one more point. Mother scouted one particular player. He is rather short, he is from Russia, his name is Lankovich or something like that. Anyway, he is short, but he is very skillful in terms of ball control. So even those Korean soccer players are afraid of him. He moves like a rabbit, this way and that way. This particular player contributed a lot to winning the championship this year. Mother scouted him. So of course, Mother was happy to watch him: "See, he is mine. I scouted him and he's doing well." So Mother had even more reason to be happy.

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