www.groovekorea.com / November 2014 82 w i n n e r S a t h e a r t One thing that becomes apparent the more time you spend in Jeonju is how close-knit the different pockets of each community are. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Jeonju soccer team. You see, in most parts of England on a Saturday afternoon, it’s not uncommon to find yourself sitting amongst 40,000 of your new best friends. That’s because supporting a team is more than a pastime in the U.K. The team is a focal point for the community and a way of bringing people together. It’s the same situation in Jeonju — win, lose or draw. From humble beginnings playing on dirt fields, Jeonju United has gone on to play in some of the biggest league and cup competitions all over the country, winning the coveted Ulsan Cup in 2010 and, most notably, the Korean Foreigner Football League title and cup double in 2013. “Nothing will beat that,” says joint manager Steven O’Hara. “It went down to the wire in the final against our big rivals, FC Daegu, with our striker Andy Gray bagging a last minute equalizer, taking the game, which we won, to penalties. Having the same core of players over the past few years has allowed us to learn how each other plays. There are other teams in the league that are more talented, but none of them have the heart and desire that our team has.” But it’s not all victories: There’s no payment; it’s time consuming; players can be unreliable and there’s administrative work. So why does he do it? “For the love of the team,” he says. This pride and passion for the team where you’re from transcends into the stands. “The team likes to involve the community as much as possible by providing free bus trips out to the fields we play in,” O’Hara says. “Last summer a lot of our fans came with us on a bus to Yongsan stadium for the final against Busan United. They also saw us win the league in December. It was an amazing moment for the players and fans alike.” At one early Ulsan tournament, the team lost but the fans won an award for best supporters of the tournament. It really is a group effort. With players representing at least 12 countries, JUFC is a hub of the community and it doesn’t matter if you play like Lionel Messi or Lionel Richie; you’ll be welcomed with open arms and find yourself a part of the second family you never knew you had. G o o d n e i G h b o r S A big part of the Jeonju community is Neighbourly, Neighborly, an organization that seeks to raise money for local orphanages and organizes regular visits to give the staff a much-needed break. The group was established in 2009 by Christina Murphy, who was inspired to get involved af- ter her first visit to Hosung orphanage on Christmas Day in 2008. “The kids were lovely and I saw that they needed people to spend time with them,” she says. “At first the orphan- ages were welcoming, but they were worried — not that we were dirty foreign- ers, but that the kids would get attached and we’d leave.” They visit one of the city’s four orphanages every month and vol- unteers spend two hours with the kids. The visits aren’t just benefi- cial for the children; they’re good for the volunteers, too. “I’d say Jeonju benefits from Neighbourly because it’s a reward- ing way to spend time,” Murphy says. “It’s also a good way to meet people outside of the bars. I’ve made great friends and watched the community really come together.” This was evident during the last Neighbourly fundraiser. Local artist Derek Finn contributed several pieces of his artwork to an auction that helped raise over 3 million won for the cause. Edited by Jenny Na (jenny@groovekorea.com) COMMuNITy ‘(volunteering is) also a good way to meet people outside of the bars. i’ve made great friends and watched the community really come together.’ christina murphy, neighbourly, neighborly founder ‘within a month of living in Jeonju i was a part of the local football team, heading down to parks for picnics and heading out to band nights. there’s a lot to do in Jeonju and i certainly took it for granted.’ chris Pearce, former Jeonju resident