In a delightful rebellion by what has been dubbed the Valley Generation, the Kim Eun-Joong-led U-20 team finished fourth in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina, losing to Israel.

Despite losing the semifinals and the third-place match against Italy, the U-20 team’s performance from the first game of the group stage to the final third-place match was worthy of applause, especially as Korea became the only Asian nation to reach the quarterfinals of two consecutive U-20 World Cups. It also led Asia in the number of tournaments it has participated in (16 out of 22) and the country’s overall performance ranking (10th).

The success of the age-group players at back-to-back tournaments is the culmination of a development program that the KFA has been building since the 2002 World Cup. It’s called the Golden Age.

It was in 2001, just before the 2002 World Cup, that the KFA took the initiative to organize youth development programs that had been left to individual teams. The first such program was the “Youth Standby Force System. It divided the country into five regions and dispatched full-time youth coaches, then identified the best players in each region from the ages of 12 to 15 and held regular training sessions. From the age of 16, these elite players became part of the national youth team and participated in various international competitions.

In 2014, the program was renamed Golden Age, and the system was further developed. The training program has evolved into a pyramid structure with 20 regional centers -> 5 metropolitan centers -> KFA Gifted Center. In each age group, the most talented athletes are gradually promoted to higher levels. The program has also begun to include female players. Full-time coaches at the KFA measured youth players’ technical, physical, and psychological metrics to identify the best talent.

The Golden Age system has been in place since 2002, when the players were 12 years old, so the 2003 and 2004 players at the U-20 World Cup are the earliest members of the program. In fact, all 21 players at the U-20 World Cup completed Golden Age training between the ages of 12 and 15. This is a true Golden Age generation.

It’s also a big boost for the national team to have a tightly knit age group. In the past, age groups were not organized unless they were old enough to participate in official international competitions such as the Asian Youth Games. However, in recent years, the national team has been organized by age group, from 15 to 19 years old, in order to check their skills and gain international experience.

Hwang Bo-kwan, head of the technical department at the Korea Football Association, said, “Recently, the association has been redefining the technical philosophy of the national team. The vision is to lead world soccer and develop international players to bring joy and excitement to soccer fans. As we approach the 10th anniversary of GoldenAge next year, we are analyzing the program’s performance, making improvements, and preparing for GoldenAge Season 2.”

The launch of the K-12 League in 2009 also marked a new milestone in the development of youth soccer. It marked a shift from decades of in-school tournament competition to weekend leagues. The weekend leagues made it easier to get into soccer and led to a rapid increase in the number of club-based teams.

As a result, the number of elementary, middle, and high school teams increased from 576 in 2009 to 818 last year. In addition, the ‘i’ League, launched in 2013 for children who want to play soccer as a hobby, is also playing a major role in expanding the base.

Due to the recent population decline, many sports in Korea are complaining of a decrease in teams and a shortage of players. But soccer, at least, doesn’t have to worry about that yet.

The K-12 leagues have also helped players improve their skills. The longer leagues allow players and coaches to take a little more time to prepare. As a result, there is a lot more creative and challenging play than before.

In the past, it was common for Korean players to be nervous and falter when facing strong teams on the world stage, but the calm and confident play of our players at the U-20 World Cup is a result of this different environment.

While the weekend leagues during the school year contribute to the development of fundamentals and skills, the national tournaments during the school vacations help to strengthen physical strength and increase competitiveness and determination. Korea’s special soil is the foundation for its players to perform well on the international stage.

In order to improve, it”s important for younger players to play regularly. The KFA has encouraged provincial soccer associations and federations to organize lower-level competitions during the K-12 national tournaments. As a result, many national tournaments now have separate underage competitions.

Building on the success of the compulsory participation of underage players in the K League, we are introducing the program to the K3 and K4 leagues this year. The idea is to broaden the playing field for young players entering the adult stage.

It is also noteworthy that from 2019, the primary leagues will be played as 8-a-side, with the aim of improving individual skills by increasing the number of ball touches. In five to 10 years, we can expect to see players with more refined and advanced skills than today.

In addition, the policy that requires K League clubs to have a youth team under their umbrella has also made a significant contribution to the development of youth soccer. Developed through fierce competition in a similar environment to professional players, K League Youth players play a key role in the national teams of their respective age groups.토토사이트

Lee Lim-sang, chairman of the Technical Development Committee of the Korea Football Association, said, “It is true that our youth soccer environment is still inadequate compared to developed countries, but it is clear that we are growing and developing year by year due to the policies we have implemented with a firm commitment to youth development. The U-20 World Cup has shown that the KFA is on the right track with its youth development programs.”

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