Kuala Lumpur: While the 2007 edition served as the introduction for a number of players like Mana Iwabuchi and Kyah Simon, who would go on to be stars for their respective national teams, one of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship’s most famous alumni arrived in Malaysia already firmly on the Asian football map.
Even the outset of the under-16 Championship, Korea Republic midfielder Ji So-yun was already a full-fledged senior national player with three international goals to her name.
Three months prior to the tournament, a 15-year and 282-day-old Ji scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Qatar, making her the team’s youngest ever goal scorer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she wasted no time in making her mark in Malaysia; scoring in the opening match against China PR in Petaling Jaya, although Korea Republic would go on to lose 3-1, and Ji would not find the net for the remainder of the tournament as her side finished third.
Ji has gone on to have a spectacular career at senior international level, scoring Korea Republic’s first Women’s World Cup goal in 12 years at Canada 2015, becoming the team’s all-time leading scorer and being crowned AFC Women’s Player of the Year in 2013.
The Korean star’s legacy is also assured at club level thanks to her exploits with English giants Chelsea,
She made history by scoring the winning goal in the first Women’s FA Cup Final to be held at the iconic Wembley Stadium in 2015.