Head coach Yoon Duk-yeo on Tuesday announced a 23-player roster for the the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship in Chiba, Japan. South Korea will take on Japan, China and North Korea from Dec. 8 to 15.
Eight of the 23 players weren't on the squad for South Korea's October friendlies against the United States. The E-1 Football Championship isn't on the official FIFA international calendar and European clubs, who will be in the middle of their seasons in December, aren't obliged to release their international players.
That left Yoon without the Chelsea Ladies forward Ji So-yun, the country's all-time scoring leader with 45 goals.
|Cho So-heyon of Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels celebrates after scoring a goal against Hwacheon KSPO in the Women`s K League championship final at Namdong Stadium in Incheon on Nov. 20, 2017. Cho was named to the South Korean national team for the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship in Chiba, Japan, on Nov. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)|
On offense, South Korea will have to do with Yoo Young-a, the top scorer on the current squad with 32 goals in 84 matches. Other veterans include midfielder Cho So-hyun, team captain who has won 102 caps, and goalkeeper Kim Jeong-mi, who has played in 110 international matches.
Kim is one of the eight players who didn't face the United States last month.
Yoon said Ji is such a huge part of the team's offense that her absence will force major tactical adjustments.
"She is a difference maker, and we'll have to come up with new strategies on offense without her," the coach said. "We'll need other players to step up."
Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels, which clinched their fifth consecutive Women's K League title on Monday, have nine players on the national team. Hwacheon KSPO, the runners-up, are represented by four players.
There are also three collegiate players, including Korea University forward Son Hwa-yeon, who has two goals in three international appearances.
The women's edition of the E-1 Football Championship, formerly called the East Asian Cup, began in 2005. South Korea were the inaugural champions, but Japan won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2010, and then North Korea claimed consecutive titles in 2013 and 2015.
South Korea will open the competition on Dec. 8 against Japan. They will then face North Korea on Dec. 11 and China on Dec. 15. All matches will be played at Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba, Japan. (Yonhap)