TNT FC hold online fundraiser

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TNT FC hold online fundraiser

Postby MipoFanatic » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:46 pm

Sounds like TNT FC, formerly Gangnam TNT, are still kicking around. Some of you may recall that the club merged with K3-bound Bucheon a decade or so back, with Bucheon absorbing TNT's first-team squad. No idea if they're still considered an "amateur superclub" since the Bucheon merger, or even if they're still involved with Bucheon since the move up to the K-League.

Anyway, some commentator funds the current side out of his pocket, so he's trying to raise cash to make the club more financially sustainable.

More here, including a highlights video.

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Re: TNT FC hold online fundraiser

Postby Alex43 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:59 pm

ah, yeah that's what is going on. i see his facebook post about the team and they look pretty serious about it. didnt know why though. the same guy has been doing a mad amount of facebook live stuff but i cant be bothered to watch as i have no clue what's going on.
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Re: TNT FC hold online fundraiser

Postby Holyjoe » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:39 am

I still find it a wee bit disappointing that both new Bucheon and Anyang clubs were essentially formed in the same manner that the old clubs were lost to the respective cities - for Bucheon SK becoming Jeju United so did the best bits of TNT FC become Bucheon FC 1995, and where Anyang LG Cheetahs became FC Seoul so did Goyang KB have to depart the Korean football scene to become FC Anyang. "It's different" though the fans claim...

More on TNT FC in English, a recent article on Yonhap complete with comments from a former poster on here who was involved with TNT and Bucheon (and nearly Daejeon):

Amateur football club helps players get back on their feet

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- Last season, football fans were moved by the fairy tale of Leiceister City striker Jamie Vardy rising from being a non-league hopeful to one of the top strikers in England. Although it didn't have the same ending as Vardy's story, variety show "Cheongchun FC Hungry Eleven" still caught the eye of South Korean viewers.

The 16-episode show, which aired on KBS2 last year, presented the process of assembling a football team of castaways and followed those who pursued their dream of becoming footballers again. With former 2002 FIFA World Cup stars Ahn Jung-hwan and Lee Eul-yong working as coaches, Cheongchun FC became a symbol of the challenges and inspiration of football hopefuls. But the club is now inactive after the show ended.

In real life, TNT FC have been trying to produce "Korean Vardy," giving a second chance to overlooked footballers. The amateur football club in Seoul may not be surrounded by cameras or have famous coaching staff like Cheongchun FC, but behind the spotlight they have been helping football outcasts have a better shot at advancing or returning to the pro stage. TNT are the only football club in South Korea operating with such a purpose.

So far, more than 10 players got their pro contracts through TNT. The list includes Park Yi-young of German club FC St. Pauli, Jo Yeong-joon of Incheon United and Whoo Hyeon of Daejeon Citizen.

"We are just doing what we can do with our resources and here we are," said Kim Tae-ryung, the head coach of TNT. "Unlike other football clubs, we are happy when our players leave our club."

TNT weren't originally formed to help castaways, according to Kim. Founded in April 2000, they started out as the community club for those who live in the Gangnam or Yeoksam area in southern Seoul and play football for fun.

Kim, 32, joined TNT in 2001 when he was a high school senior. He became the team's head coach a year later because he was the only member who had experienced elite football training. Kim started playing football at age seven with the Paris St. Germain youth team in France. He later went on to play for the K League Classic club Jeonnam Dragons, though his stint in the first-tier pro league ended after one season.

TNT eventually grew into one of the best-known community clubs in the Seoul metropolitan area, as they dominated various amateur competitions. Bolstered by their reputation, Kim and other players joined Bucheon FC 1995 in 2007 as founding members after the club requested help for their entrance to the K3 League, the top-tier amateur league run by the Korea Football Association (KFA).

"We planned to return to TNT after helping Bucheon become a pro football club," Kim said. "We didn't disband TNT because we needed to have a place to return to after our playing careers ended."

Kim kept his promise after Bucheon turned into a professional club in 2012. By that time, TNT had more members working in the football community.

"As we got older, many of our members got jobs related to football, working as a physical coach, management staff, marketing expert and so on," Kim said. "Then people looking for football-related jobs came to us."

Kim said he realized the new role of TNT two years ago when their members inked deals with pro clubs after training with them. In the summer of 2014, TNT saw three players signing with the clubs in the second-tier K League Challenge.

"Suddenly, our squad was filled with players looking for a pro contract," Kim said. "We had to help players get back on their feet."

TNT became more systematic after they set their goal. They started to form a coaching staff, increased their weekly training sessions from two to five and also offered foreign language lessons to players seeking opportunities overseas. Today, about 30 players are training regularly with the club.

Unlike in the past, Kim said that TNT are not open to everyone, as they now give priority to those seeking pro deals. After getting admissions, the members have to pay 800,000 won (US$700) a year, which Kim claims is a bargain. The money covers meals, gym usage, medical services and field rentals.

But still to this day, Kim is using money out of his own pocket. Although TNT have recently inked more than 10 sponsorship deals with small businesses and received financial support from national team players like Lee Jae-sung and Jung Woo-young, Kim said there is still not enough cash to run the team. The coaching staff of TNT has also been working for free.

"My wife once cried after looking at my bank account," he said. "But I think of this team as myself and I have never thought that spending my own money wasn't worth it."

Those who visit TNT are mostly undrafted high school or college graduates and dropouts from pro clubs. Kim said TNT don't teach their players how to play the game because most of them have already experienced competitive football. Instead, TNT emphasizes why they should work hard with this team.

"We remind them of their desperation," Kim said. "These guys have already experienced failure in their football life and they know why they failed in the past. We just give them the opportunity to stand on their own feet."

But that doesn't mean TNT just leaves the players to their own devices. On the field, TNT coaches check each player's condition so that they can apply for trials at pro clubs in good shape. If a player has no agent, TNT uses their network to help him find clubs.

Assistant coach Shin Min-ho, who has been with TNT since 2009, said the players are always serious on the pitch because they know what their goals are.

"For every match, we go with a certain concept and give each player a task to complete," Shin said. "We don't just accept guys who have great football skills. Those who are lazy and ill-mannered just walk away because they can't adjust to this team's atmosphere."

Sebastien Neumann, another assistant coach who holds the coaching license from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), said what makes TNT also unique is that everybody has a role. The 30-year-old, who holds dual citizenship in Germany and France, joined TNT in 2007.

"In France and Germany, they have something similar to this, but it's a program and federation does it," he said. "The idea (of TNT) is good and their approach is different. What Tae-ryung does here is interesting."

The players at TNT are satisfied with the team's training programs. Kim Byeong-yeon, who previously played for German club FC St. Pauli, said TNT are like any other professional club. The 22-year-old midfielder joined TNT this year after his contract with Japanese side Roasso Kumamoto expired.

"In terms of the players' class and training programs, I think TNT are similar to pro clubs," he said. "I know TNT are the only football club in South Korea that help players like us. I want to get back into the pro stage as soon as possible."

For those who hadn't reached the pro stage before coming to TNT, training with players like Kim is already a big benefit. Seo Bo-il said he is learning a lot from former pro footballers at TNT. The versatile defender joined TNT after he failed to pass tryouts for the K League Classic club Daejeon Citizen following his graduation from Eonnam High School in Seoul.

"Some players here were once professionals and that already tells me this is not just a normal amateur club," he said. "It keeps me motivated when I heard that the players here going to the pro stage."

The community football league is too small for TNT. In the SKI Western League, where community football clubs from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province compete, TNT have won 11 straight games, scoring 99 goals and conceding only seven. Because of their competitiveness, TNT are often invited by other football clubs to be their sparring partners.

"I would say their football level is the same as or above the clubs in the K3 League," said Yeouido High School football club head coach Hwang Deuk-ha, whose team occasionally play friendly matches with TNT. "They are strong opponents for us, but playing against them provides our young players with stern tests ahead of competitions."

Head coach Kim said he wants TNT to play against high-level football clubs, so that they can gain more experience.

But currently, TNT are not registered as a football club under the KFA, which means they are not allowed to play at the FA Cup where both amateur clubs and pro clubs compete.

When asked why they are not in the KFA database, Kim cited a complicated registration process and requirements. But there is also another problem that plagues TNT.

"For some Southeast Asian clubs, they only offer contracts to players whose previous clubs are pros," he said. "If we register as an amateur club, players who came from pro teams will lose their chance to play in Southeast Asian clubs."

The KFA recently announced that it will adopt a new football club system from 2017 with seven different divisions. The national football governing body said that the new system will boost amateur football.

Under the KFA's master plan, pro clubs will be in the first and second division, while semi-pro teams are placed in a third or fourth division. Amateur clubs will be put in the fifth to seventh divisions, depending on their size and structure.

Kim said TNT will later decide whether they should join the KFA's division system, but at this moment, they will stick to their original philosophy: helping players enter the pro stage.

"If we are in the division system, we have to think about winning the matches," he said. "TNT are here to help those who have fallen out of the system get back into the system."

Kim, who also works as a football commentator for KBS, said more pro clubs should consider bringing "certified-used players" to their squad because it doesn't require a lot of money to sign them. He added that TNT don't collect any money when their players sign pro contracts.

Although TNT are not doing their work for money, Kim said he wants the team to be more famous for the sake of Korean football.

"I hope TNT will be more widely recognized, so that there will be many more clubs like us in this country," he said. "There are many footballers who are eager to become pro again and I think they are more prepared because they don't want to experience failure again. We can't just overlook their efforts."

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