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
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
The Messi files: Eight amazing scoring records    
Lionel Messi holds all the single-season scoring records. Now, he is cleaning up on the all-time ...
Mulroy departs NASL runner-up Ft. Lauderdale Strikers    
Tommy Mulroy, the longtime soccer promoter, is out as the president of the NASL Ft. Lauderdale ...
Business Reporter: adidas to open store in Orlando stadium    
MLS sponsor adidas will operate the league's first in-stadium store starting in 2016 with the opening ...
Three takeaways from Manchester City-Bayern Munich     
The Champions League actually includes runners-up and third- and fourth-place finishers, but this Group E game ...
Marshall becomes first three-time top MLS defender    
In his first season with the Seattle Sounders, Chad Marshall has been named the MLS Defender ...
Copa America: Brazil and Colombia will meet again    
Brazil and Colombia, which faced each other in a hotly contested quarterfinal match at the 2014 ...
Referees grab the spotlight in MLS playoffs    
If the goal of a referee is to go unnoticed, the two referees in Sunday's MLS ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives