This weekend, Evan and I packed up our bags and headed out of Jeonju, all the way to Ulsan for the biggest waygook (foreigner) soccer tournament in Korea.
The cup featured 16 different teams from around the country poised to show off their football skills over the course of two days.
The trip to Ulsan isn’t a short one, so we opted not to spend the money on a hotel room Friday night and go down early Saturday morning instead. After a filling dinner from Aladdin’s Lamb and minimal sleep, we raced out the door to meet up with our carpool buddies at 5:30 AM.
From Jeonju, we took a cab to the Iksan Train Station, where we caught a train to Daejeon. Then, we hustled from that train station to the other train station in Daejeon, just in time to catch the KTX bullet train to Ulsan. When we finally arrived to our destination, we got aboard a shuttle bus and went directly to the field, where the boys were playing in 10 minutes. They changed on the shuttle there — it was pretty nutty!
Once at the field, it was relaxation time. I joined the group of supporters and spent the afternoon sunning, eating hot dogs, drinking beer and trying my hand at cheerleading, lead by our fabulous head cheerleader, Elizabeth (a fellow Long Beach lady, the most awesome of kinds).
We actually had quite the time there on the sidelines, laughing and twirling signs, waving flags and generally being bad ass supporters. There wasn’t a better group of gals I could have spent the weekend with.
The “We love you Jeonju, we do” cheer (sang to the tune of We Love You Conrad from Bye-Bye Birdie) was my particular favorite. That and “Shot! Shot! Shot, shot, shot, shot, shot!”
I even managed to do a couple of cartwheels and (almost) land them.
Well, almost land some of them. Not this one (obviously).
After the end of day one, the boys had scored second in their group (lost by goal deferential) and were ready for a shower and the free buffet that awaited us. Little did we know, the Hotel Taehwa had other plans — and by other plans, I mean they had lost Jeonju’s reservation! Wah wah.
Luckily, love motels littered the streets and alleys surrounding the hotel, so we got set up in new digs relatively quickly.
After that, it was straight to the free buffet, where I literally stuffed my face full of Korean food and free soju and makgeolli. The only beverages that cost money were soda and beer, but Ho worked his magic and got those for free too. By the time I was stuffed like a giant bird on Turkey Day, my eyes literally could not stay open.
Off to bed we went, getting a whopping 9 hours of shut-eye before the big day ahead of us — pretty impressive.
Morning: a quick shower and trip to Paris Baguette for a cheese bagel and coffee (nom nom nom), then it was off to the pitches for the quarter finals. They played at a different field the second day, and us supporters were delighted to find a few marts along the road nearby to pick up snacks and beer.
Oh, and we got super awesome sweatshirts too… only 8,00 won!
It was pretty much beer o’clock when we got there.
Fast forward two games later, to the finals, where the men still haven’t conceded one goal in the entire tourney. We were whooping and hollering at the sidelines (we even recruited a guy from another team to wave a flag) making the other team sad and jealous while their tiny group of girlfriends scowled and rolled their eyes at us, as if they were above cheering for their boyfriends. Stupid. Don’t hate us cuz you ain’t us!
At one point, a few Koreans on horseback came around and asked if we wanted to go for a ride — I had my boots on anyway! It was perfect! We ran after them, then got confused when they put sashes on us and gave us trash bags. Consensus ended up being that they 1) wanted us to pick up trash while walking with the horses or 2) wanted us to pick up horse crap. Either way we ditched them, but it was weird!
Unsurprisingly, Jeonju Unathletic FC ended up killing it in the final game, never giving up a goal the entire weekend and mowing the field with every team they played. The boys went home with a gigantic trophy and 500,000 won. It was a weekend full of cheer, excitement and all the good things in life (including a cinnamon/sugar pastry thing we got on the street en route back to the train station — very delish). Well done, gents!