Ji So-Yun has had a whirlwind time so far in England. Since transferring to Chelsea Ladies in 2014, she was voted to be a finalist for PFA Player of the Year. The awards ceremony was last night and wouldn’t you know it, she emerged the winner. Her manager Emma Hayes announced the finalist and gave her an amazingly hilarious and adroit compliment as Ji stepped on stage (see video below).
Here’s a clip from the moment she won the award.
and an interview with Ji after the ceremony.
— PFA (@PFA) April 26, 2015
Well deserved accolades from all across the interwebs for Ji, the Tavern will add to that: super congratulations to Ji So-Yun! It’s a great accomplishment and hopefully will spur more Korean girls to be inspired and pursue football at an elite level.
Korean FA Cup
To the 4th round of Korea FA Cup we go (from Soccerway.com):
* Note: Suwon Bluewings and Jeonnam Dragons will hold their FA Cup 4th round tie on May 13th.
** KFA TV I believe is streaming most of the Korean FA cup matches from it’s site. Check out their youtube channel here.
Some interesting clashes from this 4th round:
- Seoul E-Land will face their first K-League Classic squad in Ulsan.
- Busan I’Park may have some trouble against K-League Challengers Gangwon.
- Another Challenge club will try out the role of giant killer as Daegu hosts Pohang.
- Jeju – Anyang is another K-League Classic v Challenge tie. Bookies probably be wise to pick Jeju, but you never know…
Finally the moment is just about here, the U18 international tournament you’ve been waiting for: the Suwon JS Cup will get underway on Wednesday, Korea taking on Uruguay for their first fixture. Most eyes will be on the Barca duo of Lee Seung-Woo and Paik Seung-Ho. Due to the Barca transfer ban, they have been out of competition for the club so expect a bit of rust, but a bit of magic in the mix as well (no pressure to live up to the Tavern’s expectations, right?)
2 out of 3 fixtures in this round robin tournament are within the week (the last on Sunday vs France).
Wednesday KOREA v URUGUAY 7am US EST / 8pm Korea Time
Friday KOREA v BELGIUM 4am US EST / 5pm Korea Time
* Outside of Korea, there will be creative means to stream the games. Good luck and Buddha-speed to you all.
KFA TV produced these edits from training, here’s one with Paik Seung-Ho
and one with Lee Seung-Woo
Slightly troubling, hope it’s just hiccups to get out of the way, but in a practice match against Korea University, the U18 Taeguk Warriors dropped that result 1:5.
The last bit of kickaround comes from the Washington Post (seems I’ve been cribbing them lately, so why stop now?). They did a piece on neurological studies of the growing human teenage brain. Here’s the interesting part: usually IQ levels are thought to be constant -but in fact it’s very much on the move in teenage brains. They are developing at an incredible clip, and about a third of teens actually show a significant increase in their IQ scores. [Flipside to that, if they don’t take good care of their brains, say they crystal meth it to zombie-status and/or don’t challenge it to grow intellectually, IQ can decrease during those crucial years]. How does this all relate to football? There’s hope for the late bloomer.
With the notion that the Korean educational system tracks kids weighted heavily on test scores, certain types of late bloomers may not get identified in that rigidity and subsequently get possibly mis-placed on a demoted track. Could the same be said for the Korean football youth training system? Is the system too rigid to take into account the so called ‘late bloomers’? Of course some coaches might argue there is no such thing in youth football. There’s no way for me to transmit an adequate answer being so far removed from that world by a number of factors including geographic distance, but I throw the question out there to encourage all youth footballers to keep their chins up, do the best they can and keep at it, even if they stumble a bit early on. Never know if there’s a late football bloomer in that crew…
One of the best lines in the article comes from Frances Jensen, a neuroscientist on the erratic growth process in teenage brains: “It’s like a Ferrari without brakes.” Control of the ball is a part being able to own the game and make impact. Speed freaking down the flanks can certainly be a part of one’s game but it can’t be the only thing. Here’s to creating elegant footballers, fast and sleek as Ferraris, with the power of human judgement and braking power to turn or stop on a dime.