A winning goal in the semi-final and a winner in the final. It would be a fair assumption to suggest that Ji So-yun has had a remarkable run in the Women’s FA Cup this season, and she will now always be known as the competition’s first ever scorer in final held at Wembley Stadium.
Born in Seoul back in 1991, it was clear from early on that Ji had a great talent for the game and claims in her childhood she used to only play with the boys as a result of the limitations within South Korea over the women’s game at the time. However, she shone in the playing fields and it was clear she was going far. Her mother encouraged her tremendously, her father at the time not so much.
The 2010 Under-20 Women’s World Cup put her talent in the public’s attention. Eight goals gave her a magnificent chance of gaining the Golden Boot, before she was unfortunate to miss out. She did, however, guide her team to third place, missing out on the final after being defeated 5-1 by eventual winners Germany.
At club level she was also thriving. Therefore it was no big surprise that she was subject to a transfer bid made by Emma Hayes’ Chelsea in November 2013. She eventually left the Japanese league and cup holders INAC Kobe Leonessa to move to the Women’s Super League and to wear the famous blue shirt. At the time of her signing being announced, praise was high for the superstar, including from Hayes who dubbed her as one of the greatest midfielders in the world.
The 2014 season defined her as the player she is today. PFA Player of the Year was the main memento she gained, beating the likes of Karen Carney. She was also named WSL 1 Player of the Season. For her team, though, it was not meant to be. They lost out on the title on the final day of the season to champions Liverpool as they aimed for their first major honour as a club.
Individual triumphs last season carried on in recent times as she became the main star and poster girl for the South Korean team in the Women’s World Cup. Once again though the dream of winning the tournament eluded her thanks to a crushing defeat in the round of 16 against France.
She did however pick up one goal as she converted calmly against Costa Rica in their fixture in Montreal; her 39th strike for her nation whom she has represented for nearly 10 years after making her debut aged 15, before a month later becoming the youngest goalscorer for her nation when she converted both of South Korea’s goals against Chinese Taipei in the 2006 Asian Games. She was still 83 days away from her 16th birthday, showing the talent of one of the world’s greatest.
Back to the current day, and after her Wembley heroics, Ji is now hoping to lead the London side to the WSL title they felt was theirs last term,
And with the now 24-year-old a feared figure in the English game, few would bet against her firing Hayes’ squad to more domestic glory.