Opponent Watch: Korea Republic Roster For October USWNT Friendlies Announced

Update (2-Oct-2019):  Forward Yeo Minji is a late scratch, as she did not travel with the team, per U.S. Soccer.

Earlier this week, the Korean Football Association announced a 24-player roster for the upcoming friendlies against the United States Women’s National Team, which will be played on Thursday, October 3rd, and Sunday, October 6th.  These two friendlies are expected to be the final USWNT matches helmed by Jill Ellis, who will be stepping down as head coach following those matches.

The times and TV details for those matches are as follows:

  • Thursday, October 3rd at 8:00PM EDT – Fox Sports 1 (pregame at 7:30 PM EDT)
  • Sunday, October 6th at 2:00 PM EDT – ESPN

A quick note on Korean names:  As in other East Asian countries such as Japan and China, the family name is normally listed first, followed by the given name.  The English spellings provided by the KFA may differ slightly from other sources, most notably FIFA’s website, while other sources may include hyphens that FIFA omits.


The Korea Republic Women’s National Team will be led by Hwang In-Sun, who is a former player of that squad.  A defensive midfielder in her playing days, Hwang famously scored the lone goal in a third-place match against Japan that sent the Korea Republic to their first-ever Women’s World Cup in 2003 (Wikipedia, 2003 article). Hwang made Korea’s roster for the 2003 WWC, appearing as a substitute in their debut match.

Hwang is only a “caretaker” for the team, following the resignation of Choi In-cheul, who was hired to take over for Yoon Duk-yeo, after his resignation following the 2019 WWC, where Korea Republic lost all three of its group matches, finishing last in its group, behind France, Norway, and Nigeria.  As of Thursday, September 26th, the KFA has not yet announced whether a permanent replacement for Choi has been hired.

For more details on Choi In-cheul’s resignation, please see the preceding article:

Opponent Watch: Korea Republic Will Have An Interim Head Coach, Previous Coach Resigned After Investigation Into Abuse Allegations


Korea, who are looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, will be bringing a significantly different roster than those selected for the 2019 WWC.  Eleven players from the WWC have not been selected, although two of those are due to injuries: Lee Geummin of Manchester City and Lee Mina of Kobe INAC (Hal Kaiser – Twitter).

The Korea Republic has room to experiment before Olympic qualifying, which will not take place for Asia until February 2020.  In December, they will host the final round of the East Asian Football Federation competition, the EAFF E-1 Football Championship (Wikipedia), where they will play against Japan, China, and Hong Kong.

The following table lists Korea Republic’s travel roster for these friendlies.  Players are sorted by position, then by name.  All information except “Age” is from the KFA website (source), which regularly publishes detailed rosters with player photos for their WNT.

The ages are as of the date of the first friendly (October 3rd).  The original heights, in centimeter, are provided along with calculated conversions to feet and inches, using normal rounding rules (round down if less than 0.5, round up if 0.5 or higher).  The names of some Korea WK League teams have been shortened and/or abbreviated due to space limitations.

Table 1:  Detailed Roster – Korea Republic WNT – October 2019 Friendlies

PLAYER         P.  D.O.B.      AGE    HEIGHT        CLUB
KANG Gaae      GK  12/10/1990  28.81  172cm (5'8")  Gumi Sportstoto WFC
KIM Minjeong   GK  09/12/1996  23.06  175cm (5'9")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
MIN Yukyeong   GK  06/09/1995  24.32  176cm (5'9")  Hwacheon KSPO
EO Heejin      DF  03/21/1991  28.54  167cm (5'6")  Gumi Sportstoto WFC
HA Eunhye      DF  11/27/1995  23.85  166cm (5'5")  Gumi Sportstoto WFC
HONG Hyeji     DF  08/25/1996  23.10  174cm (5'9")  Changnyeong WFC
KIM Hyeri      DF  06/25/1990  29.27  165cm (5'5")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
KIM Hyeyeong   DF  02/26/1995  24.60  171cm (5'7")  Gyeongju KHNP WFC
KIM Jinhui     DF  10/07/1998  20.99  167cm (5'6")  Changnyeong WFC
LEE Hyokyeong  DF  02/12/1997  22.64  166cm (5'5")  Albirex Niigata (JPN)
LIM Seonjoo    DF  11/27/1990  28.85  168cm (5'6")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
CHO Sohyun     MF  06/24/1988  31.27  167cm (5'6")  West Ham United (ENG)
JANG Chang     MF  06/21/1996  23.28  158cm (5'2")  Seoul WFC
JANG Seulgi    MF  05/31/1994  25.34  160cm (5'3")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
KANG Chaerim   MF  03/23/1998  21.53  163cm (5'4")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
KIM Soeun      MF  09/20/1998  21.03  160cm (5'3")  Gumi Sportstoto WFC
LEE Seeun      MF  02/27/1989  30.60  165cm (5'5")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
LEE Sodam      MF  10/12/1994  24.97  163cm (5'4")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
LEE Youngju    MF  04/22/1992  27.45  163cm (5'4")  Incheon Hyundai Steel
MOON Mira      MF  02/28/1992  27.59  165cm (5'5")  Suwon UDC WFC
PARK Yeeun     MF  10/17/1996  22.96  164cm (5'5")  Gyeongju KHNP WFC
JI Soyun       FW  02/21/1991  28.61  161cm (5'3")  Chelsea FC (ENG)
SON Hwayeon    FW  03/15/1997  22.55  168cm (5'6")  Changnyeong WFC
YEO Minji      FW  04/27/1993  26.43  163cm (5'4")  Suwon UDC WFC

Career statistics are not readily available for the entire Korea WNT.  However, FIFA’s WWC micro-site does have up-to-date caps and goals for those players who did participate in the most recent WWC.*

* At the conclusion of the WWC, a final squad list with updated career cap and goal statistics for each player was published in PDF formAs Korea has not yet played any matches since the WWC, those numbers are currently accurate.

Minutes played at the 2019 WWC and 2015 WWC are also included.  In 2019, Korea finished last in their group, so they only played three matches.  In the previous WWC, Korea made the round of sixteen, for a total of four matches.  The two notable players who are unavailable due to injury, Lee Geummin and Lee Mina, are included at the bottom of the table for reference.

Additionally, age and height are reproduced from the above table for convenience.

Table 2: Korea Republic WNT Roster – Available Career Stats

                                           Career Stats|WWC Minutes
PLAYER         P.   AGE     HEIGHT         Caps  Goals | 2019  2015
KANG Gaae      GK   28.81   172cm (5'8")     13      0 |    0
KIM Minjeong   GK   23.06   175cm (5'9")      6      0 |  270
KIM Hyeri      DF   29.27   165cm (5'5")     83      1 |  180   220
KIM Hyeyeong   DF   24.60   171cm (5'7")               |          0
LIM Seonjoo    DF   28.85   168cm (5'6")     76      5 |    0     6
CHO Sohyun     MF   31.27   167cm (5'6")    124     20 |  270   360
KANG Chaerim   MF   21.53   163cm (5'4")      4      0 |  180
LEE Sodam      MF   24.97   163cm (5'4")     51      5 |   14    43
LEE Youngju    MF   27.45   163cm (5'4")     30      2 |   69
MOON Mira      MF   27.59   165cm (5'5")     25     11 |  116
JI Soyun       FW   28.61   161cm (5'3")    119     54 |  270   270
SON Hwayeon    FW   22.55   168cm (5'6")     20      7 |    0
YEO Minji      FW   26.43   163cm (5'4")     38     13 |  128
-------------------------------------------------------------------
LEE Geummin    FW   25.49   169cm (5'7")     54     16 |  270   103
LEE Mina       MF   27.90   158cm (5'2")     60     14 |  101

Notables:

  • One-third of the roster consists of players who could be categorized as U-23 players, as eight are born in 1996 or later.
  • The youngest player Kim Soeun, just turned 21 in mid-September.
  • The oldest player is midfielder Cho Sohyun, at age 31, who has over 120 caps for Korea.  Cho played every minute for Korea in both the 2019 and 2015 Women’s World Cups.
  • Forward Ji Soyun is another player with over 100 caps.  She also has over fifty goals for her country.
  • The second-youngest player, Kang Chaerim, was Korea’s youngest player at this year’s WWC, where she started two matches and was a substitute in the other match, for a total of 180 minutes.  Prior to this, Kang had just one cap, which was earned against Iceland last spring.
  • According to Hal Kaiser (Twitter), midfielder Lee Seeun’s last appearance for Korea was in 2011.
  • Five of the players are uncapped:  “Kim So-eun, Park Ye-eun, Kim Jin-hui, Lee Hyo-kyeong, Min Yuk-yeong” (Hal Kaiser – Twitter)