The miracle makers in the lowest league of the FA

Their only spectators are the walkers of the park, and there is not a single cheer to be heard – footballers really in a league of their own, The Kingston Tigers.

The Tigers currently belong to the 11th League of the Football Association. The young footballers’ most recent game took place in the field of Chessington Park, where they played the 2nd round of the TECH cup against Chessington KC.

Unknown even amongst the Korean society, this Korean football club played restlessly, winning 4-nil and entered to the 3rd round. However their celebration was short. With no place to go afterwards, and unable to afford a celebratory dinner, they said their goodbyes and well-dones with a pat on the back.

Whilst only the higher leagues, such as the Premier League, gain the spotlight of the press and the people, the Division 11 football clubs are fully associated in the FA and play authorised games. All newborn teams are allocated to the lowest divison, Division 11, and from here they can advance into higher divisions depending on scoreboard records.

It took one year for the manager Min Kim to handpick the members of the team; however there are just 16 registered players to date. These players do not always make it to all the games, so players with injuries still play, due to the lack of substitutes.

However these minor problems did not stand in the way of the Korean players’ genuine passion for football. The Tigers’ stormed forwards from the start of the league, back in September. In the 5 games they have played so far, the record stands as 4 wins and 1 draw. Whilst they have scored 25 goals to date, they’ve only let 3 goals through. They show great striking skills, scoring an average of 5 goals per game.

The Kingston Tigers say that at the beginning there were some opponents who took The Tigers for granted due to the team’s smaller physique. However, with outstanding results, the Tigers are now the most feared team in Division 11. At the end of each game, the all opponents ask ‘Where have you come from?’ and The Tigers take great pride in replying “Korea,” leaving a strong impression on the opposing teams. These young sportsmen are promoting Korea through what they do best, football.

Of course their aspiration is to enter the higher leagues. The Tigers aim to enter Division 10 in the next year or so; however, their greater ambition at the moment is for their games to become something of a joy to the Koreans in the neighborhood. Although the team is currently in the lowest division and out of the spotlight, they are eager for people to share their victories. Many of The Tigers have experience in playing, in Korea, so know that the interest and cheering by the spectators drive the players further. Their only pity is the team’s newly formed status and hence the low division, hindering the support they believe that they are entitled to.

There are some players who come from a two hour distance by car to attend each Tuesday and Thursday weekly practices, and Saturday games. The chairman Jong-Hyun Nam would more than like to provide the team with the travel money but with the daylight hours shortening there is a greater problem on his shoulders – the team cannot afford to borrow a training ground with lighting. The Tigers’ monthly spending is at one thousand pounds, but even this, despite their careful use, is starting to run out. The team plan to host an evening for support, patrons and sponsorship.

There are many Division 11 teams in the league who play in uniforms with the logo of their sponsors. The Kingston Tigers have the potential to reach their aim. We wish for a patron who will stand up to provide sponsorship to this budding team. If you have the time or the sustainability to provide help to this team, it would be an idea for you to meet these truly and feel their dynamism. The Tigers are some truly amazing sportsmen.

Reported by Bada Kim (bada@theeast.org)

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