In many ways Korea DPR striker Ri Un-Sim is much like all the other players who have been on duty at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012. Like many of them, she learned her football at school, is a big admirer of Lionel Messi and dreams of one day lifting the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. Yet if there is one thing that separates her from the rest of the pack, it is her remarkable ability to find the back of the net.
The insatiable Korean forward has not stopped scoring since her side kicked off their Azerbaijan 2012 campaign with an 11-0 demolition of Gambia, and has struck in each and every one of their four games so far. With two matches still to go in the competition, she has seven goals to her name, just one fewer than the all-time tournament record set by Korea Republic’s Yeo Minji at Trinidad and Tobago 2010.
Yet as she explained to FIFA.com, the voracious finisher has team objectives to meet first.
“I want the world title more than anything else,” she said. “We are getting there and we were thrilled to beat Canada and reach the semis, though that’s not an objective in itself. We’re going to do everything we can to go all the way, starting with a win over Germany. I’ve also got my sights set on the adidas Golden Boot and I’m aiming to score more goals and make it mine.”
Scoring seems to be an obsession of hers, as her performance in the Asian qualifiers showed, when she struck nine of Korea DPR’s 14 goals, including seven against Thailand. The April 25 player has stayed in the groove in Azerbaijan, thanks in no small part to the support she has been receiving from her 16-year-old club-mate Ri Kyong-Hyang.
“We play for the same team back home and I’m closer to her than anyone else in the side here,” she said of her fellow Ri, who has scored three goals in the competition to date and served up two assists, one less than another influential Ri singled out for praise by Korea DPR’s leading scorer: Ri Hyang-Si, who stands second in the assist rankings.
“The fact is though that I have a very good understanding with all my team-mates,” explained Un-Sim, emphasising the collective strength of the Koreans.
Praise from the best
One man well qualified to assess Un-Sim’s contribution to the team is Korea DPR coach Hwang Yong-Bong: “She’s a team player and reads the game excellently, though there are a lot of reasons why she is the player of the tournament to my mind. She’s a lovely person too and very honest with it.”
The smiling, easy-going striker has plenty of admirers elsewhere too, among them Chinese legend Sun Wen, FIFA Player of the 20th Century jointly with the USA’s Michelle Akers.
“I have to say both her technique and physique are remarkable,” said the former China PR star. “She also seems to have the mental strength to go with it too. She is also very young and has all the time she needs to develop and progress.”
Ri Un-Sim still has two appearances to make at Azerbaijan 2012, more than enough time for her to continue her fast-paced development in front of the watching world and to bolster that already-impressive goal tally.