South Korean goalkeeper Yoon Young-gl, 35, who competed at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, is hanging up her cleats.
“I’m going to put the finishing touches on my soccer career,” Yoon said on social media (SNS) on June 6. “If a whole life is like a book, then my soccer career was a chapter in my life, and now I’m going to put the finishing touches on that chapter with the last sentence,” she said.
“I’m grateful to have been able to play on the big stage of the World Cup with the Korean flag. I’m leaving my last game with a disappointing performance, but I’m going to end my soccer career with gratitude, not regret, with the sweat I’ve shed so far.”
He added, “This is the end of a chapter in my soccer career, but I will try my best to live the next chapter of my life.”
Yoon has a unique background, having debuted in the WK League as a field player before switching to goalkeeper. After sweating more than anyone else, Yoon eventually earned the Korean flag in 2015 and played in the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
However, a knee injury kept her out of France 2019 and she watched South Korea lose all three of their group games. After an eight-year wait, Yoon returned to the World Cup stage when she was named to the final roster for Australia-New Zealand.
Yoon pulled out all the stops for this World Cup, joining Swedish club Hecken to get acclimated to the European game.
However, the World Cup didn’t go her way. In her first group game against Colombia, she was down 0-1 and made a mistake that led to another goal. There were no more chances for Yoon after that.
Coach Colleen Bell started Kim Jung-mi in place of Yoon in the second and third group games, ending her career with 29 A-match appearances and 15 clean sheets.
“Numerous injuries, tears I swallowed alone, off-season and on-season, constantly building my body and pushing myself hard as a professional, preparing for each game and each match, sometimes with good results, sometimes with ridiculous mistakes, experiencing joy and discouragement,” Yoon said, reflecting on her 23-year career.
“When I switched from being a field player to a goalkeeper, I was devastated, but I knew I had to do it for the team, so I pushed myself harder and kept going. It was a position where even one mistake was unacceptable, so the weight was even heavier, but to deal with it, I always prepared with more training and a disciplined life so that I wouldn’t be lazy,” he said.
Now that his playing career is over, he hasn’t forgotten to be grateful for his surroundings. 꽁머니
“I was a happy player because I wasn’t just unhappy. I was a happy player because I wasn’t just unhappy. I had good coaches, teammates, and people who believed in me and supported me throughout my soccer journey, even though I was competing for a starting spot every time,” he said.
“There are a lot of good things that happen in a soccer player’s life when you are a good person and give your best to your life,” he said.