Browse all

Team First and the pandemic in South Korean football

The amateur football collective tells it with a pictorial project

Team First and the pandemic in South Korean football The amateur football collective tells it with a pictorial project

Team First is an amateru football team that brings together designers, actors, singers, DJs, photographers and designers working in South Korea, and among other activities, deals with creating photo shoots and exhibitions that show South Korean football culture - under the name of TeamFirst Studio. This year, the sports collective organized the '2020 KOREA, Reality and Ideal', an investigation into South Korean football culture, in particular during the pandemic. The work was organized together with the Korean football store Capo Football Store, and the first part of the story is about South Korean football in times of pandemic. 


This year, in fact, as it happened for all sports competitions, the coronavirus pandemic has affected everywhere in an epochal way, but in Korea, the disease has arrived even earlier than in Europe. The desire to return to football (and the need to have something to follow, a reason to get distracted) was such that the K-League, the South Korean football league, was, of all, the first professional football tournament to start playing again. Football in South Korea has gone on as in many other football realities in the world: empty seats, recorded choirs, masks everywhere, distancing. This aspect of coldness and remoteness was reprised by Team First who used it as the subject of this first part of the editorial project, which involved the models photographed with the jerseys of the South Korean national team (Home a Away), custom masks, with shots both inside and outside the World Cup Stadium in Jeju in Seoul, one of the symbols of the South Korean football.   

Paradoxically, then, 2020 can almost be considered not entirely negative for South Korean football. In fact, between an improved technical level of the league - even if the results, at international level, are difficult to arrive - and the victory of the Puskas Award of a South Korean footballer - Son Heung-Min of Tottenham -, the country's football seemed to gain greater visibility in Europe. Nike gaming kits are also an interesting business card for South Korean football, which in the context of local football rebranding, also involves the new logo of the national team. South Korea in February had been the second most affected country by covid-19 after China, and currently, the nation (and in particular the area of the capital Seoul) are experiencing the difficulties of a third wave. Yet throughout phase 1 and 2 of covid, South Korea and President Moon Jae-in had been praised for containment of contagion through a very efficient tracking system, and most importantly, without resorting to the total lockdown system.