- Approximately 1,000 volunteers at Korea Republic 2017
- Volunteers hail from diverse backgrounds and age groups
- For some, Korea Republic 2017 will be their third time volunteering for a FIFA tournament
Like previous international tournaments, Korea Republic 2017 is made possible thanks to the undying effort and support of almost 1,000 volunteers.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 Local Organising Committee (KLOC) recruited 980 individuals from approximately 2,625 applications. The selection process was especially competitive in Suwon, where the KLOC is headquartered, with an acceptance rate of just 1 in 5. Since the tournament kicked off in late May, nearly 200 volunteers have been stationed in each of the host cities, diligently working behind the scenes to ensure the tournament’s success.
“The volunteers tend to be on the older side, especially in Jeju, where most of the volunteers are in their 40’s or 50’s,” explained Lee Kyungjoon, the KLOC representative responsible for volunteer management, upon speaking to FIFA.com.
“In the past most of the applicants have been students, but for this tournament we’ve seen applicants from more diverse age groups. We are extremely grateful to all our volunteers. They endured three intense training sessions and have assisted tremendously with tournament operations.”
One of the most senior members of the volunteer team, Lim Euisoon (71), retired from his position as a public official in 2003 and has accumulated over 4,500 hours as a volunteer. Working together with him in Incheon are his wife, Song Hyunja, and son, Lim Youngrim.
Kim Kwanwoo, a 34-year-old schoolteacher, volunteered as a usher during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ and as a stadium guide five years later for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea Republic. “With my experience as a volunteer in two previous FIFA tournaments, I wish to contribute to the successful hosting of this year’s tournament,” he said. “Unlike before, when I was still a university student, I have nine years of experience as a schoolteacher. I have a greater sense of responsibility now and can read a situation more quickly. With these skills I can better support my fellow supporters on site.”
Among the volunteers at Korea Republic 2017, some with unique credentials catch the eye. Han Sangwoo (41), who once ran a Taekwondo gym, volunteered in the transportation department in 2002 and 2007. His experiences convinced him to switch career paths into driving and transportation. Now volunteering for his third FIFA tournament, Han is responsible for marshaling cars.
On the other hand, Vo Thi Lan Da of Vietnam is volunteering as a translator amidst her study abroad program in Korea Republic. “I enjoy watching a variety of sports, including football. Since my university days I’ve participated in many sporting events,” she enthused. “I’m very proud of my country for their first appearance in a U-20 World Cup, and their achievement was a major factor in my own decision to volunteer for this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.”
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.