- Name: Ji So-Yun
- Date of birth: 21 February 1991 (age 29)
- Place of birth: Seoul, South Korea
- Height: 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
- Playing position: Midfielder
Ji started her career in Japan, playing for L.League champions INAC Kobe Leonessa between 2011 and 2013. In one of her final matches for INAC Kobe Leonessa, Ji actually scored against Chelsea, in the International Women’s Club Championship final, where INAC Kobe Leonessa won 4-2.
Ji signed a two-year contract with Chelsea in January 2014 and when the transfer was officially confirmed later in January, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “Ji is one of the best midfielders in the world and our fans will love her.”
Ji was named Players’ Player of the Year after her first season in the FA Women’s Super League, as Chelsea narrowly missed out on the FA WSL title on the last day of the season to Liverpool. The South Korean was named PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year in April 2015 and she was also named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year.
At the 2015 FA Women’s FA Cup Final versus Notts County, which was the first-ever Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium (which I was there for!), Ji scored the only goal of the match to win the FA Cup for Chelsea for the first time. In October 2015 Ji also scored in Chelsea’s 4 nil win over Sunderland which secured Chelsea’s first-ever FA WSL title and a FA Cup “Double”.
On the 1st of April 2018, Ji made her 100th appearance for Chelsea in a 1–1 draw against Arsenal. Ahead of the 2019/20 WSL season, Ji signed a contract extension that would keep her at the club until 2022.
So far this season Ji has made 6 appearances for Chelsea in the WSL where she has started in 5 of them, played 414 minutes, and has scored 1 goal. She has a 79 per-cent pass accuracy, she has made 247 total passes and 194 of them were completed.
Ji So-Yun: International Career
Ji has represented South Korea at an under-17 level and she was part of the under-20 team that finished as the runners-up at the 2009 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship. She has also finished third at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. In October 2006, Ji made her senior team debut where she played at the 2006 Peace Queen Cup.
On the 30th of November 2006, Ji became the youngest goalscorer (15 years, 282 days) for the South Korean senior team, where she scored two goals against Chinese Taipei at the 2006 Asian Games. Ji is currently the all-time top goal scorer of the South Korean women’s national football team with 61 goals.
Ji So-Yun: Personal Life
Ji’s interest and love for football kicked in when she was around the age of eight but her parents did not initially support the idea of her becoming a professional footballer. Ji has said that the 2002 World Cup which was held in South Korea was a “starting point” for her love of the game.
She has received the nickname “Soyun Messi” from South Korean national teams fans, and at Chelsea, there are a couple more “Messi” nicknames. Erin Cuthbert is “Scottish Messi” and Fran Kirby “Mini Messi”.
- Strong ball control
- Impressive dribbling
- Excellent passing
- Good linkup play
- Drives the ball forward
- Creates space for the rest of the team
INAC Kobe Leonessa
- Nadeshiko League 1: 2011, 2012, 2013
- Nadeshiko League Cup: 2013
- Empress’s Cup: 2011, 2012, 2013
- International Women’s Club Championship: 2013
- FA Women’s Super League: 2015, 2017–18, 2019–20
- FA WSL Spring Series: 2017
- Women’s FA Cup: 2014–15, 2017–18
- FA Women’s League Cup: 2019–20
- Women’s FA Community Shield: 2020
- AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Runner-up: 2009
- FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Third place: 2010
- Summer Universiade Gold medal: 2009
- Asian Games Bronze medal: 2010, 2014, 2018
- 2009 Summer Universiade MVP
- 2009 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Top Scorer
- 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Silver Ball
- 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Silver Boot
- KFA Women’s Footballer of the Year: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2019
- Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year: 2013
- FA WSL 1 Women’s Player’s Player of the Year: 2014
- PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year: 2014–15
- PFA Team of the Year: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
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Written by Megan Aherne @meggaherne
Edited by Jai Mcintosh @jjmcintosh5