|Inha-WICS (We Imagine in the Core of Soccer) Club Logo|
For many years, football in South Korea was considered a man’s sport and was an unexplored domain for women until 1990. Despite having such a short history, South Korean women’s football has grown in stature and reputation by taking third place at the 2010 Asian games and 2014 Asian games. Also, in Inha University, there is a proud female football club, Inha-WICS (We Imagine in the Core of Soccer), who demonstrate that there is no gender gap where the love of football is concerned. The Inha Times sat down with the captain of Inha-WICS to find out more about the world of women’s football.
The Inha Times(IT): Tell us about the foundation of Inha-WICS.
Moon Ji Young: When Inha-WICS was first founded in 2013, the first captain of the team Haerim Jeon and the rest of the founders were just ordinary university students who loved football. They hoped to share their passion for football by playing with other female footballers.
IT: Were there any difficulties managing Inha-WICS?
Moon Ji Young: As football is a team sport, we needed all of our club members to participate in trainings and matches. But it was hard to adjust the time and date of our training sessions and matches to appease busy university students. When matches were scheduled for a weekend, we even struggled to gather enough members to participate in games.
IT: When playing for Inha-WICS, what was the most memorable moment?
Moon Ji Young: Winning the 7th “Fourfourtwo” tournament was the happiest, and at the same time toughest, memory I’ve had while playing for Inha-WICS. Because female tournaments, both the qualifying rounds and finals, are held over just two days, most of the teams have to play at least two games per day. It’s physically very challenging, and Eunji Yi, last year’s captain, even suffered a nose injury.
IT: Inha-WICS has shown its strength by winning second place in the 8th “Fourfourtwo” tournament this year. Is there any secret training method used by Inha-WICS or is a special club culture responsible for such success?
Moon Ji Young: Inha-WICS owes its success to our coach HyunJi Kim. We believe that we were able achieve todays level thanks to coach Kim, who devotes himself to training us every week. We also owe a lot to those older alumni, who played for Inha-WICS. They’ve supported us during every aspect, including coming to every match to show their support. As for training, we try to practice twice a week at all costs.
IT: As a part of female football culture, what are thoughts about the prospects of female football in Korea?
Moon Ji Young: Currently, the South Korean female football team has advanced to 17th in the FIFA women’s ranking. At the Incheon Asian Games, the South Korean women’s national team won the bronze medal and many players ply their trade in the WK league, Women’s Football league, or play overseas. By discovering and training many more new recruits, I believe the best is yet to come.
IT: Are there any improvements to be made in South Korean women’s football?
Moon Ji Young: South Korean women footballers need continuous attention and support rather than today’s short-termism. For instance, there’s a tremendous difference in salary and the frequency of matches in the K league. Improving the payment in the WK league to become more in line with that in the K League and also by holding more WK league games, then the quality of the WK league will receive a boost as more skillful players could be fostered.
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