Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
'Ji Messi' overcomes hardships
by Paul Kennedy, July 27th, 2010 7:20PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  under-20 women's world cup, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

[PORTRAIT] South Korea has been one of the surprises at the Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany with one of the tournament's most exciting teams led by Ji So Yun, dubbed "Ji Messi," for her resemblance to Lionel Messi.

Ji has accomplished what the Argentine star couldn't do the World Cup. She's not only scored, she's scored in bunches.

With six goals heading into Thursday's semifinals against Germany, Ji is only one behind German Alexandra Popp for the tournament scoring lead and is a candidate to succeed U.S. star Sydney Leroux as the tournament's MVP.

Women's soccer received a boost when South Korea co-hosted the 2002 (men's) World Cup, attracting more girls to the game, but it still faces many social and structural hurdles in South Korea. Few schools sponsor women's soccer, and the number of registered female players in Korea is less than 1,500.

But Ji's success shows what is possible. She started out on a boys team as a second grader in Seoul and overcame hardship -- she grew up on welfare, raised by her single mother suffering from cancer -- to attend Hanyang Women's College.

Ji scored two goals in 2008 when South Korea reached the quarterfinals of the inaugural Under-17 Women's World Cup and led South Korea to the knockout phase of the Under-20 Women's World Cup for the first time.

Ji had a hat trick against Switzerland (4-0) and two goals against Ghana (4-2) and sat out the first half of the 1-0 loss to the United States since the South Koreans had already qualified for the quarterfinals, where she scored a brilliant free kick in South Korea's 3-1 win over Mexico.

The women’s WK-League was launched last year with six teams -- the same number of Korean colleges that sponsor women's soccer -- but Ji may move abroad.

“A few American and German clubs have shown their interests in her," Lee Sang Yeop, her coach at Hanyang Women’s College, told the Korea Herald. " Ji wants to play in an advanced league and I’m willing to help her.”



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Johnson's M'Gladbach pulls miracle comeback    
Fabian Johnson came off the bench for Borussia Moenchengladbach as it came back from 2-0 down ...
Sneak Peek: Potent Impact seeks resiliency and depth    
Last year Montreal stunned Red Bulls, 3-1, on aggregate and took a commanding lead against Toronto ...
What They're Saying: Perry Dealy    
"It's worth preserving because we don't have a lot of icons. It would save a lot ...
Sneak Peek: Vieira is convinced NYCFC will be improved    
In his first season, Patrick Vieira proved that a foreign coach unfamiliar with MLS could find ...
Sneak Peek: Timbers look as good as ever    
From MLS champion in 2015 to out of the playoffs in 2016, it was quite a ...
CCL: FC Dallas rewarded with record-breaking win    
FC Dallas' intensive training camp in Buenos Aires -- nine games over 10 days -- paid ...
What They're Saying: Gary Lineker    
"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, ...
Video Pick: Messi-like golazo by Barcelona youth    
In UEFA Youth League play, 17-year-old Barcelona striker Jordi Mboula scored a spectacular solo goal in ...
What They're Saying: Roy Keane    
"No way Wayne Rooney should be going to China. He can still play football at the ...
What They're Saying: Josh Mitchell    
"We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was an incredible experience to be playing ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives