Bundesliga and 1. FSV Mainz 05 host “Golden Eleven” youth invitational camp, in collaboration with KFA and CJ ENM

A group photo of the U12 Korean youth players and youth players from 1. FSV Mainz 05 on the pitch of the Mainz youth academy.
Photo: CJ ENM
  • U12 Korean youth players trained and played in Mainz, Germany, as part of the development project
  • In total, 11 players were selected for the trip, which also included friendly matches against Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 youth teams
  • Training and match schedule devised by coaches from Mainz and from the Korean Football Association
  • Leading Korean entertainment company and Bundesliga broadcaster CJ ENM to showcase the best moments of the trip to football fans in Korea

7 November 2023 – Bundesliga International welcomed 11 under-12 Korean footballers to Germany as part of the “Golden Eleven” youth development project, which took place in the city of Mainz. In its fourth season, this year’s invitational training camp was a collaboration between the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the Korean Football Association (KFA), Bundesliga broadcaster CJ ENM, as well as host club 1. FSV Mainz 05.

Over a 10-day camp, the youth players were based at Mainz’s youth academy, taking part in a tailored training plan, jointly created by coaches from the Bundesliga club and the KFA, curated to develop their skills across all areas of the game. The players, all born during the 2011-12 season, took part in training matches against Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 youth sides, including Mainz and SV Wehen Wiesbaden. The trip also included a range of culturally enriching German experiences – including Bundesliga matches and a meet and greet with Bundesliga Legend and Korean national team coach, Jürgen Klinsmann.

I hope that the young players had a great experience in Germany, and that the trip will be a catalyst for their development, both on and off the pitch.”

Peer Naubert, Chief Marketing Officer, Bundesliga International

Leveraging the expertise of Bundesliga youth coaches and the world-renowned training facilities at the Bundesliga youth academies in Germany, “Golden Eleven” aims to support the development of Korean players at the youngest level, in order to instil the foundations for excellence as the team gets older.

The Bundesliga’s Korean broadcast partner and leading entertainment company CJ ENM were on site for the duration of the trip, capturing every moment and sharing it with the football fanbase in Korea, through highlight video clips of the training and matches, regular social media posts, as well as a sports documentary series, which will premiere at the end of November. The series will be broadcast on CJ ENM-owned K-content channel “tvN”, and sports channel “tvN SPORTS”.

Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peer Naubert said: “For most of us, our love for football began at a very young age, playing with our friends and dreaming one day of emulating the stars we saw on the screen. These young Korean players are no different: looking up to the likes of Bayern’s new signing Kim Min-jae, or Lee Jae-Sung at Mainz.

“I hope that the young players had a great experience in Germany, and that the trip will be a catalyst for their development, both on and off the pitch.”

Korean youth players of the “Golden Eleven” project at the meet and greet with national team players Lee Jae-Sung (1. FSV Mainz 05) and Kim Min-jae (FC Bayern München).
Photo: CJ ENM

Korean FA Coach Yonghyung Cho said: “We are delighted that the Golden Eleven project, which has been identifying the best football talent in Korea, has given youth players the opportunity to experience German football this year. This is another excellent opportunity for young prospects in Korea.”

Head of Sports at CJ ENM Kyo-eun Koo said: “As the official broadcaster of the Bundesliga in South Korea, it’s great to have the opportunity to introduce the Bundesliga and its youth system to young Korean players. Through Golden Eleven, we have another great avenue to provide high-quality content to promote the Bundesliga to passionate Korean football fans.”

1. FSV Mainz 05 Director of Football Development Meikel Schoenweitz said:
“It was a great experience to host the “Golden Eleven” team here in Germany, where we got to exchange many ideas, experience different football cultures, and learn from each other. For the boys, we hope this was an exciting opportunity and a great next step for their development.”

The Bundesliga is the home of Asian stars in Europe, having seen more players come to Germany than any other of the European leagues. During the 2022-23 summer transfer window, Ballon d’Or nominee Kim Min-jae became an FC Bayern München player, joining compatriots Lee Jae-Sung (1. FSV Mainz 05) and Jeong Woo-Yeong (VfB Stuttgart) in Germany’s top-flight.