3rd and Micah – Playing football in Korea

Hi folks – Micah here. I decided to play football in Korea and finally had my first chance playing as a member of the Daegu Phoenix.  We ended up winning 23-0, but let’s just say the experience was interesting. Let me first add that the night before the game was the opening World Cup Game for South Korea. It seems like every Korean in Daegu was downtown cheering for Korea, and drinking to Korea.  My assumption was that a few of my teammates would be hung over the next day at our game.

So, Lisa and I arrived to the field promptly at 9am.  (We practice and play at Kyungbook University – a major university here in Daegu).  Our game was supposed to start at 10:30, so there wasn’t a lot of time to waste. Unfortunately, none of my teammates were there and the football locker room wasn’t open. When someone finally arrived, I got to play my always fun pre-game activity: “whose pads and helmet should I wear?”  Before every practice I borrow a different set of shoulder pads and helmet from one of the University students. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, they are usually really dirty and the helmet gives me a slight headache.


Here’s the field we played on.  There’s no actual yard markings on the field.

On to the game. This was actually a semi-exciting game for me because this was my first game actually starting as a wide receiver. Growing up, I was always really really skinny (think 5’11” and 145 lbs as a senior in HS). I had good hands, but I was a little undersized so I didn’t get very much playing time.

Additionally, our friend Mike Mizuno expected a no less than three touchdown (TD) performance out of me. One of the university students also told me I should score 7 TDs. Wow-ok. And…the QB basically told me that the other team’s best player is their defensive back (DB), and if I beat him- we win…if I don’t beat him – we lose. Lofty expectations on my shoulders.


I’m #83 – here we are in the huddle.  In case you are wondering – everyone (including the Korean players) speak English (or some).  So all the play calls are in English.

The two plays started terribly. The first was a run for -2 yards. The second was a fumbled snap for -15 yards. The next thing I knew, we were on our own 5 yard line looking at 3rd down and 27 yards to go. When we got back to the huddle, the QB called all streak (deep pass) patterns. On a side note, the QB is a slightly out of shape 40 year old guy (he played offensive line the year before), who told me before the game that he didn’t sleep the night before because he watched the World Cup. And he was hung over. When we lined up for the play, I noticed that the safety wasn’t playing very deep, and I knew that I could get past my man. I gave a slight fake to the defender and ran deep to a perfectly thrown ball and proceeded to run for 80 yards. I didn’t end up scoring. The safety took a good pursuit angle, and I broke his tackle, but the DB that I burned followed intently and finally took me down at the 10 yard line. Either way, a successful opening to my receiver career.


At halftime.  And sorry – there’s a guy grabbing himself behind me.

Here is some great game footage that Lisa got from the game. I never ended up scoring, but came close quite a few times. My unofficial stats were something like 7 catches for 190 yards – and no drops. I had a nice run on a wide receiver screen and probably broke at least one tackle on each play. Unfortunately, every time we got in the red zone, we tried to run the ball in. Or when we did pass in the red zone, it wasn’t to me.

There’s always next game. But not much after that since my Korean football career will probably be only 2-3 games since we’re leaving in late August. Stay tuned for more updates.


28 Responses to “3rd and Micah – Playing football in Korea”

  1. 1 Jason June 26, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Hey Micah,

    My wife and I have been living in Daegu for several months now, but I had never heard of this football league until I read about it on your blog. I’m a former player and would really be interested in speaking to someone about possibly joining, what the requirements are, etc. I find myself missing playing more and more these days. Would you be able to put me in touch with someone who might be able to help me out and answer a few questions? Thanks in advance (and my wife wants me to say she thinks your blog is great-we’re already planning a trip over to the wine tunnel thanks to your post!)


  2. 2 micah June 26, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for reading the blog. I can’t take credit for this blog since I only contribute an article once every 2-3 months. Lisa is the matermind behind this great blog.

    as for football, there are 2 club teams in Daegu. The Daegu Phoenix and Daegu United. We (Phoenix) practice at Kyungbook University. We actually would have had a practice today, if not for the rain. I’m not sure where the United practice, but I think they are on East Daegu. Joining the team is pretty lax. We only practice once every 2-3 weeks on Saturday afternoon, so players can make it. We just have to pay a little team dues because they provide water/gatorade and take us out to dinner after the practices. There are about 5-6 foreigners on the team, but the Korean players all speak pretty good English. The ‘real’ season isn’t supposed to start until August, but unfortunately I’ll be gone by then. This would be a good time for you to join. If you are more interested, contact me at micah_tanaka@hotmail.com and I can give you more details and let you know when practice is. or add me on facebook.

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