Interview with Shin Tae-yong, the head coach of Indonesian national soccer team

The Sandbox
5 min readJan 26, 2024

Q. Please briefly introduce yourself.

I’m Shin Tae-yong! I currently serve as the head coach for the Indonesian national soccer team. I oversee coaching responsibilities for three national teams in Indonesia — the A (adult) team, U-23, and U-20. In Korea, I’m recognized as Shin Tae-yong, while locally in Indonesia, I go by “STY,” derived from my initials.

My soccer journey began in 1992 as a player for the Seongnam Ilhwa Cheonma team in the Korean League. Following that, I assumed the role of head coach for the South Korean national team during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Currently, I’m honored to serve as the head coach of the Indonesian national football team.

Q. What inspired you to create ‘The STY’ Avatar Collection?

In 2023, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Indonesia. Seeking a meaningful project to foster a connection between Korean and Indonesian soccer, I envisioned a gesture that would express gratitude to the fans for their unwavering support.

It struck me that offering an opportunity for fans to engage with soccer culture beyond just being spectators, actively participating in the experience, would be a fitting tribute.

My goal was to establish a communal space where soccer enthusiasts could unite and play together, transcending the boundaries of nations and cultures. This vision led me to the creation of ‘The STY’ avatar collection, providing fans with the unique experience of embracing both the role of a passionate supporter and that of a player within the metaverse.

Q. What were your main priorities when developing The STY collection?

My foremost priority was to serve as a symbolic bridge between Indonesian and Korean soccer. This led to a meticulous design that authentically represents the essence of both nations.

I wanted fans to establish a deeper connection with their respective teams and nations so that even those less familiar with Indonesian or Korean soccer could easily comprehend and appreciate the collection’s cultural nuances. My approach focused on creating an experience that’s accessible, enjoyable, and fan-oriented.

Q. What kind of experience can fans expect from The STY Avatar Collection?

To build this collection, I pulled from my experiences as a player and coach. Fans can immerse themselves in the role of a player, navigating through an exhibit that chronicles my entire career.

This interactive journey promises an exciting opportunity to delve into the realms of Indonesian and Korean soccer, gaining a deeper understanding of both cultures and the impact of my contributions. Not to brag! [laughs].

Q. How were you involved in the development of the avatar collection?

I selected key points, considering the narrative of my soccer career. Collaborating with the planning team, we thoroughly reviewed available photos and videos to construct a compelling storyline.

Our goal was to strike a balance, incorporating elements that would resonate with both local Indonesian and Korean soccer fans.

Q. What was the team’s response to this avatar collection?

Initially, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is it appropriate for the head coach of a national team to be portrayed as this cute?!” [Laughs].

But, despite the voxelized nature of the avatars, they capture all the envisioned details, creating a metaverse version of myself, akin to an ‘alter-ego.’ This collection encapsulates crucial moments from my soccer journey and offers a glimpse into my life.

The various versions of STY avatars in the Metaverse hopefully provide a playful and fun atmosphere, inviting users to engage in a lighthearted and enjoyable experience.

Q. What is your favorite avatar from the collection?

I love them all, but ‘Mr.Fox’ is my favorite. This avatar seamlessly blends my former nickname, ‘Fox on the Ground,’ from my playing days with the Seongnam Ilhwa Cheonma team, with Korean folklore in a contemporary context. Back then, I earned the nickname ‘Fox on the Ground’ for my playing style, and now, as a coach, I hope to employ some of what I learned. ‘Mr. Fox’ really encapsulates this transition and the essence of my soccer journey.

Q. What makes The STY avatar collection unique?

The STY avatar collection stands out as the inaugural NFT avatar collection designed specifically for Indonesian users. Given the profound significance of this project, I actively participated to ensure it brings substantial benefits to its holders. The STY is the beginning. I hope to witness the emergence of additional avatar collections that showcase Indonesia and soccer culture.

Q. I’ve heard there are many benefits for holders. Can you provide specific details?

There will be a raffle and some lucky holders will have a chance to receive A-match tickets for the Indonesian national team.

Plus, there are various online and offline benefits, including autographed jerseys and a personalized thank-you video, among others, ensuring an enhanced experience for our valued holders.

Q. What are your future plans for The Sandbox?

Starting with The STY Avatar collection, my goal is to spotlight the allure of Korean and Indonesian soccer to a global audience.

I also aim to present immersive game experiences and soccer-related activities, including offline events utilizing NFTs.

Players should stay tuned for the upcoming launch of ‘Play Seoul Festival (PSF)’ XP on The Sandbox platform in the near future!

Q. What message would you like to deliver to your fans and The Sandbox users?

I’m eager to contribute to the development of soccer culture in Indonesia and recognize the pivotal role fans play. The support from fans is crucial for the progress of Indonesian soccer, and the more enthusiastically fans rally behind it, the quicker we can develop it.

This project is a token of gratitude extended to all the fans who passionately support Korean soccer, Indonesian soccer, and myself. I am dedicated to crafting additional projects and organizing IRL events that facilitate direct interaction with fans.

I encourage everyone to stay engaged and intrigued. Your ongoing support is deeply appreciated. Thank you, as always.

Click here for more information about The STY avatar collection.