Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
'Ji Messi' overcomes hardships
by Paul Kennedy, July 27th, 2010 7:20PM

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
What They're Saying: Oli Makin    
"I can't thank [the] police enough. It has saved the club a fortune and the players ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 32] A classic encounter left the LA Galaxy, No. 1 in the Soccer America ...
Guardiola is happy to be back in Rome    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Two matches involving former champions, plus Pep Guardiola's return to Roma ...
Klingenberg golazo highlights another easy U.S. win    
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA cruised into the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship with its ...
Concacaf Women's Championship Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Saturday] Trinidad & Tobago beat Guatemala, 2-1, on late goals by Kennya Cordner of the ...
Agudelo trial at Wolves ends    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Juan Agudelo's search for a club continues as English League Championship club Wolves passed ...
MLS clubs in position to outdo Mexican rivals    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The group stage of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with Week 6 with ...
What They're Saying: India Premier League    
"Heaven has gained a defensive midfielder; apart from the hard tackles and the breaking up of ...
Bielsa sits on cup of coffee    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Not everything is going right for Marseille's coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose ...
U.S. under-14 girls national team roster    
[CARSON CAMP] Head coach April Kater has called up 35 players (with one more to be ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives