“It was an opportunity to grow, and it meant a lot.”
That was the common response from players and coaches who participated in the inaugural Seoul EOU Cup U-18 International Youth Football Tournament 2023 (the “Seoul EOU Cup”). The managers of the participating nations (South Korea, Ukraine, Morocco, and Vietnam), who valued the experience of working with a variety of countries, gained a lot from the tournament.
The Seoul EOU Cup, an eco-friendly soccer tournament that emphasizes global sustainability, concluded on Friday with the South Korean U18 national team winning the title. The tournament was co-organized by the Seoul Football Association and the Korea Sports Agents Association, co-organized by the Seoul Sports Council and the Korea Sports Agents Association, and sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan Government, Shinhan Bank, Hyundai Motor Company, Adidas, ECHWai (HY), the Korea Sports Promotion Agency, and Righteous Seoul Hospital, with the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Korea as a partner. The tournament is designed to help young players develop international competitiveness and raise awareness of global peace and the environment through soccer.
The Seoul EOU Cup was held over three days on October 10, 12, and 15. Four teams participated, including Korea, Ukraine, Morocco, and Vietnam. In the end, Korea was crowned the inaugural champion with two wins and a draw, followed by Ukraine (2 wins, 1 loss), Morocco (1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw), and Vietnam (3 losses). South Korean captain Jung Maho (Shin Pyeong Go) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Vietnam took home the Eco-Play Award. The Eco-Play Award is given to the team that uses the least amount of plastic in the tournament and is the most proactive in recycling.
At the closing ceremony, each team captain performed a tree-planting performance. The EOU Cup commemorative trees were planted in hopes that the youth players representing each country will grow into adult national team players, and to symbolize the small efforts everyone can make to preserve the planet’s environment. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon also delivered a congratulatory message to mark the successful conclusion of the tournament. The Seoul EOU Cup saw a total of 27 goals scored in the six matches, averaging 4.5 goals per game, and a fiery display of attacking soccer.
During the tournament, a number of soccer officials visited the stadium, including ambassador Kim Eun-joong and former Vietnam national soccer team coach Park Hang-seo. They were there to see firsthand the future of Korean soccer and the competitive talent of the players.
In addition, Lee Jong-hwan, chairman of the Seoul Metropolitan Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the ambassadors of Ukraine, Morocco, and Vietnam to Korea, Dmitry Ponomarenko, 스포츠토토 visited the stadium to watch the opening ceremony and encourage the athletes participating in the tournament. In particular, Ukraine, which is at war, and Morocco, which recently suffered an earthquake, had unforgettable experiences in Korea, including embassy visits, luncheon invitations, and Seoul tours. As part of the Korea-Vietnam sports exchange, Vietnam visited the Jeonbuk Hyundai Clubhouse on April 16 for a tour of the world-class training facility.
The players responded to the cheers of the spectators with their passionate play on the field, and after the game, they befriended each other and made friends with each other, hoping to work together in the future.