Legendary women’s soccer goalkeeper Yoon Young-gul has announced her retirement from active play.
“The number 23 may seem like Michael Jordan’s back number to some, but for me, 23 years of living in a square of green grass is the first thing that comes to mind. I started playing soccer at the age of 13, when I was just a kid who liked to run around, and I’ve been running for 23 years,” he said.
She has announced her retirement. “I’m ending my 23-year soccer career with a disappointing result at the World Cup with the national team, but I’ve been preparing for this as best I can, and I’ve been training myself without shame, so I can honestly say that I’m not a soccer player with regrets, but a soccer player who has been doing my best,” Yoon said in her final words.
Yoon made her professional debut in November 2007 when she was selected by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in the Women’s Unemployed Soccer Rookie Draft. At the time, Yoon played as a defender and midfielder. However, she was injured in her second year, and after returning from injury, she was recommended to play goalkeeper and started wearing gloves.
After joining the Seoul Facilities Management Corporation women’s soccer team, she returned to the field. However, the team’s goalkeepers left the team and there was a vacancy in the goalkeeping position. Yoon was once again asked to play goalkeeper, and she committed.
Yoon recalls the experience. “I was really shocked when I switched from a field player to a goalkeeper, but I thought I had to do it for the sake of the team, and this is my path, so I’ve been working hard to improve myself. It’s a position where you can’t afford to make a single mistake, so it’s a lot of weight, but I’ve always prepared myself with more training and a disciplined life to keep myself from being lazy in order to handle that weight,” she said.
She also has international experience. After playing for the Gyeongju KHNP women’s soccer team, Yoon gained experience in Europe, playing for GF Wimin and BK Hecken FF in Aarhus, Denmark. Her consistent performances earned her the Taeguk mark in 2015. She was included in the final roster for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. She continued to keep the national team in goal, competing for a starting spot at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup.
However, injuries slowed her down. She suffered a knee injury ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and was not included in the final roster. However, she went on to compete with Kim Jung-mi for the starting spot and was a key part of the national team’s defense. She was named to the roster for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where she played in her final tournament.
She started the first game against Colombia. Unfortunately, the Socceroos conceded an early goal from the penalty spot (PK) in the 30th minute and a second goal just before halftime due to poor judgment. In the second half, however, the team did not concede a goal and ended the game 0-2. 안전놀이터
After the 2023 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, Yoon announced her retirement. She said, “If a lifetime of life is like a book, then my soccer career has been a chapter in my life, and now I’m closing it with the last sentence. Even though I was grateful to be able to represent my country on the big stage of the World Cup and play with the Korean flag, I am going to end the last game of my soccer career with a disappointing performance, I am going to end the last sentence of my soccer career with gratitude, not regret, with the sweat drops I have shed so far. I have lived my life as a soccer player without being ashamed of anyone, so I think this sentence is gratitude, not regret. This is how the chapter of my soccer career ends,
but in the next chapter of my life, I’m going to live it to the fullest,” he concluded.