Queanbeyan under 12s feel the Seoul of football in Korea

Monaro Panthers under 12s players Daniel Skazlic, Noah Vanderpol and James La Vella made their first trips to South Korea on Wednesday. 									  Photo: Joshua Matic.

Monaro Panthers under 12s players Daniel Skazlic, Noah Vanderpol and James La Vella made their first trips to South Korea on Wednesday. Photo: Joshua Matic.

THE Monaro Panthers under 12s football team travelled all the way to South Korea on Wednesday to play in what will be the biggest tournament of their lives- the Gyeongju International Youth Football tournament.

It is billed as one of the largest youth football tournaments in the world, with teams travelling from across the globe to compete, including one of the world's most recognisable club's, FC Barcelona.

A squad of 14 Panthers players made the trip, a long with four committee members, for 10 days, where they began competition yesterday and play until August 26, and will also partake in numerous cultural activities.

They are spending six nights in a hotel in Gyeongju before staying at the homes of their South Korean partner club, SinGok Primary School.

Panthers under 12s player James La Vella said his team was excited about playing in Korea.

"We can't wait to play soccer over there, but it will also be great to learn from the bigger clubs that will be playing as well," he said last week.

The Gyeongju tournament is hosted for under 12s teams only, and as a consequence, players normally only get to play in the tournament once.

Monaro have made the trip four times, but each member of the current under 12s squad made the journey for the first time, and for most players, it was their first trip away from Australia.

But La Vella said it would be anything but a scary experience for his boys.

"It will be awesome to experience the culture over there as well, because it's a very different place," he said.

"I don't think we'll win the tournament, because there will be much bigger clubs there, but we will still play well, and learn a lot."

The Panthers have been in partnership with SinGok PS since 2004, and host them as well during Canberra's Kanga Cup football tournament.

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