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A U.S. soccer player, left, on the 94th Military Police Battalion team tries to kick the ball away from a South Korean player. Their teams played Friday during the first game held by the Korea America Good Neighbor Sports Association.
A U.S. soccer player, left, on the 94th Military Police Battalion team tries to kick the ball away from a South Korean player. Their teams played Friday during the first game held by the Korea America Good Neighbor Sports Association. (Ashley Rowland / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — South Koreans and Americans played soccer Friday at Collier Field House as part of a new 8th U.S. Army Good Neighbor program meant to promote friendship.

“Through sports, there’s no language barrier. Everybody understands sports and sportsmanship,” said Joe Sellen of 8th Army civil affairs.

About 120 South Koreans from three teams — Chonan City, the Korean National Police and the Phoenix Construction Management consulting company — and 30 Americans on the 94th Military Police Battalion played in the mini-tournament.

“Sports is the kind of event where people who don’t know each other can easily be friends,” South Korean player Lee Won-he said through an interpreter. “It makes people closer to each other.”

Eighth Army officials said the final results were: Chonan City, 2-0; the 94th MPs, 1-1; Phoenix, 1-1; Korean National Police, 0-2.

Choi Jong-geun, chairman and chief executive officer of Phoenix, said the program lets South Koreans give back to the Americans.

The soccer games were the first event hosted by the Korea America Good Neighbor Sports Association, which will hold roughly one sporting event each quarter, Sellen said.

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