Ji So-Yun to leave Chelsea Women at the end of the season after eight years with the club

Ji So-Yun has made over 200 appearances for Chelsea, but will return to South Korea at the end of her contract; The 31-year-old has scored 68 goals for the Blues; Emma Hayes: "What an honour and a privilege it's been to coach one of the most amazing players the WSL has ever seen."

So-Yun Ji will leave Chelsea when her contract expires at the end of the season
Image: Ji So-Yun will leave Chelsea when her contract expires at the end of the season

Ji So-Yun will leave Chelsea Women at the end of the season after eight years with the club and having helped the Blues to 11 trophies during that time.

The Chelsea midfielder will remain part of the squad as they continue to battle with Arsenal for the Women's Super League title, as well as a second successive FA Cup final against Manchester City on May 15, before heading back to South Korea to be closer to home following the end of her contract.

So far, Ji has scored 68 career goals at the club in 208 career appearances, with three matches left this season. The 31-year-old has scored 37 goals in the WSL.

She has also won five WSL titles, including the Spring Series, lifted the FA Cup three times as well as two Continental Cup wins and one Community Shield victory.

On Ji's departure, Emma Hayes said: "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."

A Chelsea club statement added: "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."

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Highlights of the Women's Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham

Ji was initially spotted by Hayes and general manager, Paul Green when Chelsea played Japanese side INAC Kobe Leonessa in the final of the 2013 International Women's Club Championship in Tokyo. She then signed a two-year contract with the Blues - a landmark deal at the time for an international player heading to the WSL.

Ji became the first South Korean to play in the FA Women's Super League in her debut campaign for the club in 2014 when she won 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.

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Ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, Ji extended her stay for the final time for three years until 2022, with further accolades following with the South Korean shortlisted for FIFA's Best Women's Footballer and the FIFPRO World 11.

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 career with South Korea internationally 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 six times and remains their top all-time goal scorer.

Chelsea's remaining fixtures:

  • May 1 - Birmingham City (a), Women's Super League, live on Sky Sports
  • May 8 - Man United (h), Women's Super League
  • May 15 - Man City, FA Cup final

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Sky Sports - All 35 games will be available across Sky Sports' flagship channels, including Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.

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Sky Sports News - Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week Barclays FA WSL fans can enjoy Sky Sports News (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the league and its storylines throughout the season.

Inside the WSL - Hosted by award-winning broadcaster and journalist Jessica Creighton, Inside the WSL is a comprehensive round-up of all things Barclays FA Women's Super League and women's football. Airing weekly from Thursday, September 9 on Sky Sports Premier League, the half an hour show will review and preview matches, include in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews. Viewers can expect gripping behind the scenes access as well as a summary of all the action both on and off the pitch.

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