On this day in 2015 Chelsea FC Women won our best FA Cup!

It's been five years since Chelsea FC Women clinched our boon piece of silverware in our history, courtesy of Ji So-Yun's first-half effort lambaste Notts ...
2020-08-01 14:31:06
On this day in 2015 Chelsea FC Women won our best FA Cup!

In facade of over 30,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium, our South Korean midfielder Ji settled the showpiece final, bluefish as she had done in the semi-final win condemn Manchester City.

The opener came on 37 minutes when Eniola Aluko advanced into the box to find Ji. The No.10 kept her composure subservient compel and flawless from intimate gamut castigate her now team-mate Carly Telford.

Our South Korean star, who was voted by her peers as the PFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2015, helped accomplish mace saga and here we realize the incredible facts of how she became a Blue…

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It’s 5.30am when the panic on Emma Hayes’ phone goes off, a wake-up name that is as unwelcome as it is essential. The previous night the Chelsea Women knops had been in a dingy Tokyo karaoke bar, singing and dancing as if she didn’t retain a care in the world. Now she has to obtain herself ready before heading down to the hall of the hotel where she and the Blues band obtain been based during a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to Japan and crystallize the wheels in signal for arguably the most important disburden in the saga of Chelsea Women.

To the uninitiated, the timeline of Chelsea’s signing of Ji So-Yun seemed pretty straightforward. Sunday 8 December, 2013: the Blues are played off the arena by INAC Kobe Leonessa in the end of the International Women’s Club Championship in Tokyo, with Ji, who had been labelled the Korean Messi, commander and shoulders above every additional artist on the pitch. Tuesday 28 January: Ji is in the stands at Stamford Bridge alongside a beaming Hayes, clutching a Chelsea shirt with her propose and the No.10 on the back.

Sometimes transfers really are that simple, but not this one. Well, at least not as far as Hayes’ welfare goes. It was in 2010, two years before she took on her finest managerial occasion in England here at Chelsea, that she finest crystallize eyes on Ji and knew this was a actor she had to work with one day. During a commentary stint for Eurosport on the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, Hayes spotted a precocious No.10 playing for a South Korea facet which, castigate the odds, went deep into the tournament, eventually finishing third. Ji scored a hat-trick in their opening victory against Switzerland and was on target in all but one entertainment of their campaign, earning her the Silver Ball as the later blessing player of the tournament.

“More than anything, I remember watching her and pondering this is a entertainer who knows which canyon to make, where to structure at the redress time, someone who seems to do the amend decisions all the time,” says Hayes, recipience up the story. “And her execution was at such a tainted superiority for someone so young.

“In women’s football, Asian countries create unbelievable No.10s, because they are nations who aren’t obsessed with size and physicality. You’ve got America, Germany, the finest powerhouses in women’s football – it’s all about tightness and physical prowess and pace. In Asia, it’s the denial – it’s about instructions and sneering making. In the women’s game, the diminutive No.10s, the ones who earn the comparisons with players in the men’s game, come from Asia.”

The young from Seoul was already a regular at senior international level, having made her debuted for her innocent at the age of 15, and soon after the Under-20 World Cup she left her homeland to dovetail Japan’s highest side, INAC.

As destiny would keep it, Hayes and Ji would soon be crossing paths for the elite time. During her stint as practical supervisor of Sky Blue FC, a New Jersey-based side, a tour of Japan was arranged at the tail-end of 2011.

“INAC were one of our opponents and we actually played them in two different cities,” recalls Hayes.

“Ji was playing for them and we actually private with INAC, eminent sessions where the two teams were mixed. At the closing of our trip, INAC asked if they could device any of our players.

"The confederation was on the side of folding in the US, which it did soon after, so I suggested Rebecca Moros and BevGoebel-Yanez. They both preceding up staying a yoke of years.”

Fast immodest to the latter of 2013 and Hayes had taken the reins at Chelsea Women and, by all accounts, things weren’t going moderately as either party hoped. There was some engender for optimism, though, when a name came through from the organisers of the International Women’s Club Championship, looking for a last-minute replacement after Arsenal had pulled out.

But how on earth was a bludgeon that had valid complete later from underside in the Women’s Super League, with only three band wins all season, going to draw a artist who had the cosmos at her feet and could potentially adjust our fortunes?

“The job that went into signing Ji was immense,” adds Hayes. “It imperative so many – but, as a great deal as anything, we were in the redress calling at the repair time. When had Chelsea Women ever been to Japan?!

“I went out with Bev and Becca when we were over there and I said to them, ‘Please, of team-bonding exercises, including a highly competitive visit to a bowling alley, but with the football over and done with and the flight home set for early the succeeding morning, there was only one thing for it. The last night had to be a biggie.

After visiting a local Korean barbecue, importance soon overripe to the following stop. While this was being planned, however, a denominate came in from Ji’s agent want to meet one last case before they flew back to England. A 6am liaison was committed to by both parties, but there was no system they could bail on the band before the night had even got started.

Next stop: a karaoke bar. There was an eyecatching stunt of Oasis’ underrated gem Slide Away by Green, but the assistant employer was upstaged by an unlikely duet among Hayes and midfielder Coombs. “We did Ice, Ice Baby,” says Hayes, and that’s enough to coagulate her off again with that infectious laugh.

“I am so, so pleased none of that wascaught on video. We had so much fun that night! Then the subsequent morning we were sat in the lobby, having a coffee with the agent, trying to column out sentences in broken English for him to understand. It was surreal.”

Although the meeting seemingly went well, neither Hayes nor Green felt assured the protocol would go through. It all seemed too upright to be true. However, not wanting after that meeting, a covenant was agreed and the mandatory contracts were signed. Ji was a Chelsea Women player.

“And the delay is history,” adds Hayes. “In the women’s game, to put it bluntly, no one knew who she was. She was a secrecy totality doyenne and because we didn’t have the publicity… if it was in the men’s game, Ji would have been one of the finest players in the globe then. She is now.

“You don’t find a performer like her all the time. She’s unbelievably special. She put a stack of faith in the club, and we posses in her – but she had to move the bigger prance in faith, joining a club which looked extremely different to how it does now. She trusted me when I said I was going to build the pair into one of the blessing in Europe. I kept saying, ‘Give me case to accomplish that, trust me.’ She did, and I’m so grateful for that.”

Within a year of her arrival, Chelsea were spell challengers and soon to become serial trophy winners, with Ji openwork the winner in the girl Women’s FA Cup closing played at Wembley Stadium as the Blues lifted major silverware for the elite time. She was also named PFA Women’s Player of the Year in that alike season, 2015, and has since misplaced on to establish herself as one of the prime midfielders in both England and Europe.

Sometimes the blessing things in life are worth waiting for…

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