Midfielder Ji So-Yun has committed her long-term future to Chelsea Women, extending her stay at the club until 2022.
Ji has played a pivotal part in our trophy successes since joining the Blues in 2014, lifting the FA WSL and FA Women’s Cup Double in in 2014/15 and 2017/18.
The 28-year-old has so far made 136 Chelsea appearances, scoring an impressive 56 goals, including the decisive strike in the first Women’s FA Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, back in 2015.
Last season, the midfielder made 30 appearances in all competitions, netting nine times. One of those goals was her unforgettable curled free-kick against Lyon in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final clash, to level the scoring in front of a record crowd of 4,670 at Kingsmeadow.
After putting pen to paper on a new three-year deal, Ji said: ‘It means so much to me to be able to extend my contract with Chelsea. I am always grateful for the opportunities and I am excited to stay with the club.’
Last year, the Blues finished third in the WSL and exited the FA Women’s Cup and Champions League at the semi-final stage. However, Ji has ambitions of picking up more silverware with Chelsea Women this time around.
‘We didn’t win any trophies last year, so I want to win everything this year and I want us to be back in the Champions League,’ Ji added.
‘This season overall is something I look forward to because we have a massive challenge ahead of us to make sure that we win trophies and qualify for the Champions League again.
‘We all know that goals are very important this season – we didn’t have a great start last season, so we missed out on getting valuable points.
‘We can’t take anything for granted. This year we know we know we need to be more clinical in front of goal and finish our chances.’
Last year the playmaker’s form was recognised when she was nominated for the Women’s PFA player of the Year Award, a trophy she picked up in 2015. She was also named in the 2019 PFA Women’s Super League 1 Team of the Year alongside Chelsea team-mates Hannah Blundell and Erin Cuthbert.
Chelsea Women begin their 2019/20 campaign at Stamford Bridge against newly promoted Spurs on Sunday 8 September, and Ji said: ‘I’m so excited for this game, I can’t wait to play at Stamford Bridge in front of a sold-out crowd too.
‘Fans can expect a better and stronger team this season. We have all been working so hard in pre-season and we’re going to be more than ready come September.’
Manager Emma Hayes is delighted to have secured the service of such an important player for another three years.
‘I think the fact that Chelsea can keep their best players and they chose to stay at the football club is a real statement in itself,’ Hayes said.
‘Ji is one of the best players in the world and she showed that in the Champions League last season, and every year she has progressively improved.
‘Ji could play for any club in the world but she chose Chelsea and I think that’s a big statement from her.
‘In the changing rooms I’m sure the girls will tell you, that she is the personality within the team. Her play reflects that, I think her creativity, her ability to run midfield sets her apart and I think that’s all centred from the fact that her personality is larger than life.
‘But at the same time she’s extremely humble and hard-working and an unbelievable team player and has really grown to love this football club and sees it very much as her home.’
Chelsea begin the new WSL season with a home clash against Tottenham, which takes place at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 8 September.
Tickets for the opening fixture have sold out, but you can be added to the waiting list for by registering your interest here.