Following an incredible eight years with the club, Ji So-Yun will leave Chelsea at the end of the season to head back to South Korea.
The Chelsea midfielder will stay with the Blues for the remainder of the season as we continue our bid to secure the WSL title and FA Cup, before heading back to South Korea to be closer to home following the end of her contract.
As one of our longest-serving players, Ji has been a pivotal member of Emma Hayes’s side, scoring an impressive 68 goals at the club across a total of 208 appearances so far, with three matches left this season. The 31-year-old has 37 league goals to her name, ranking her among the top scorers in WSL history.
Remarkably, Ji has been a part of each of the 11 major trophies the club has won in the WSL era, becoming a champion of England five times including the Spring Series, taking home the FA Cup three times and also securing two Continental Cups and one Community Shield.
Ji was initially spotted by Hayes and general manager, Paul Green when Chelsea Women played Japanese side INAC Kobe Leonessa in the final of the 2013 International Women’s Club Championship in Tokyo. A two-year contract was signed, a landmark deal at the time for an international player to be heading to the WSL.
Ji became the first South Korean to play in the FA Women’s Super League, and in her debut campaign for the club in 2014 she scooped the FA WSL Player of the Year and PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards. She also went on to become the first non-British player to reach 100 and 200 league appearances respectively.
Ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, our No.10 extended her stay until 2022, with further accolades following with the South Korean shortlisted for FIFA’s Best Women’s Footballer and the FIFPRO World 11. Throughout her time at Chelsea, Ji has become renowned for her technical ability and brilliance on the ball, scoring memorable goals and being a popular figure around the club due to her infectious personality and positivity that she brings to the team daily.
Away from Chelsea, Ji was appointed co-president of the Korean Pro-Footballers’ Association in 2020, becoming the first female to occupy that role. She has also had a glittering international career with over 125 caps for her country, most recently taking her team to the AFC Asian Cup Final. Ji has also been named South Korea’s Women’s Footballer of the Year an impressive six times and remains their top all-time goal scorer.
On Ji’s departure, Emma Hayes commented: ‘What an honour and a privilege it’s been to coach one of the most amazing players the WSL has ever seen. There’s no question she’s been the most successful player from outside our league.
‘Ji’s helped the club grow on and off the pitch and she’s a fabulous character who will be sorely missed. I will miss her terribly and I’m so grateful for everything she’s done for everyone at the football club. We are in a much better place because of it.’
Chelsea thanks Ji for the long and successful service she has given the club and wishes her all the best in her next chapter. We look forward to giving Ji a big Blues send-off at our last WSL match of the season at Kingsmeadow next Sunday.