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South Korea announces roster for friendly matches against USWNT

Ji So-Yun and South Korea are heading to New Orleans and North Carolina. (USA Today Images)

South Korea women’s national team manager Yoon Deok-yeo has named the squad that will travel to America to face the United States women’s national team in friendlies on October 19th and 22nd in New Orleans, LA and Cary, NC. The Korean squad features a mix of experience and youth, with several key veterans left out as Yoon begins the process of what he has called, a “generation change” in the squad.

The most notable name excluded from the side visiting the United States is 33-year old goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi, a two-time veteran of the Women’s World Cup. That decision is perhaps a controversial one, with Kim’s deputies having little international experience. Kang Ga-ae, the twenty-seven year old keeper for Gumi Sportstoto, is the most experienced option with only seven CAPs. Joining her on the squad is twenty-one year old Suwon FMC keeper, Kim Min-jeong, who has appeared in only one international match.

In total, the side features nine players with fewer than ten caps including three promising young players from the Korean university system: midfielders Jang Chang (Korea University) and Han Chae-rin (Wideok University) and forward Son Hwa-yeon (Korea University).

Despite the influx of youth, there will be some recognizable faces on the pitch. Chelsea’s Ji So-yun remains a critical part of the Korean set-up as does the captain and heart of the midfield, Cho So-hyun. Former Western New York Flash midfielder Jeon Ga-eul will make the trip as well.

This will be the first time back on the pitch for the Korean women’s national team since April when they faced the daunting task of visiting North Korea for Asian Cup Qualifying in a finish first or go home scenario against Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, India and North Korea.

With the Asian Cup doubling as Women’s World Cup Qualifying, the April 7th clash with the North Koreans took on extra significance. South Korea put on a gutsy display in front of a large and hostile crowd, however, to hold the North Koreans to a draw and went through to the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan on goal differential as a result.

Yoon will be looking to use this opportunity against a top class opponent in the United States to build experience among the younger players and test the veterans ahead of that tournament which will be played in April.

South Korean squad:

Goalkeepers (2): Kang Ga-ae (Gumi Sportstoto), Kim Min-jeong (Suwon FMC)
Defenders (8): Kim Hye-ri (Incheon Hyundai Steel), Kim Hye-yeong (IcheonDaekyo), Park Cho-rong (Hwacheon KSPO), Seo Hyun-sook (IcheonDaekyo), Sin Dam-yeong (Suwon FMC), Lee Eun-mi (Suwon FMC), Jang Sel-gi (Incheon Hyundai Steel), Hong Hye-ji (Kobe INAC)
Midfielders (10): Moon Mi-ra (IcheonDaekyo), Lee Geum-min (Seoul City), Lee Mina (Incheon Hyundai Steel), Lee So-dam (Gumi Sportstoto), Jang Chang (Korea University), Jeon Ga-eul (Incheon Hyundai Steel), Cho So-hyun (Incheon Hyundai Steel), Ji Sun-mi (IcheonDaekyo), Choe Yu-ri (Gumi Sportstoto), Han Chae-rin (Wideok University)
Forwards (3): Son Hwa-yeon (Korea University), Yoo Young-a (Gumi Sportstoto), Ji So-yun (Chelsea LFC)


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