Sun Wen: Asian Footballs Most Successful Player

In celebration of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Women’s Football Day on Monday and to mark the third anniversary of the highly-acclaimed ‘It’s My Game’ campaign, China PR legend and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) Vice President Sun Wen is featured in the latest episode as she shares her inspiring rise to fame.

As one of the greatest women footballers in the world, Sun has achieved many accomplishments including winning the FIFA Female Player of the Century, the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 as well as the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award in the same year.

Before transitioning to football administration, Sun represented China PR in four FIFA Women’s World Cups and is most notably remembered for her impressive performance in 1999 when she led her country to a second place finish after losing to the United States on penalties.

“I am not obsessed with titles and honours. To me, the valuable memories are the fantastic teamwork, the atmosphere in the stadium and the interactions with fans. My teammates and I, we still relish these precious memories.”

She faced a different challenge after retiring from professional football and was appointed as the leader of the women’s game in the world’s most populous nation. “The administrative position requires a holistic view, an open mind and close coordination. From the bottom of my heart, I miss those days on the pitch as it was to me, a place of happiness.”

Sun witnessed the leap of women’s football after analysing all 52 matches as part of the Technical Study Group (TSG) during the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.

“We have seen the rise of European women’s football not only through results, but also in tactical performance. Compared to my generation, a significant symbol of women’s football in this era is that there are many brilliant players in every position, meaning Asian teams including China PR will face bigger challenges.

“Only high-level and high-quality matches can improve players. Organising competitions, especially a professional league is the key to boost the game. The FIFA Women’s World Cup in France also showed the innovation of the women’s football landscape. As football administrators in Asia, we need to promote our competitions with innovative ideas.”

Sun believes that the value of life lies in experience. Apart from football administration, she has experience working in different fields such as journalism, advertising and education.   

“The environment of professional players in China PR is rather isolated due to its unique system. Therefore, I keep reminding myself to always explore further and experience the diversity and excitement of the world, which will eventually lead me to where I belong.

“There are many challenges for women players including the various societal perceptions and how to balance family and career at the same time. So, I encourage women players to experience different possibilities. Every step counts. Those invaluable lessons will help you become a greater person to overcome those difficulties one day.”

Launched on the AFC Women’s Football Day on March 8 in 2018, the AFC’s ‘It’s My Game’ campaign continues to honour women’s valuable contributions in Asian football. More than fifteen women from different corners of the Continent have shared their stories and passion for football which has reached over 2.1 million people across the AFC’s digital channels.

To watch the full video, please click here.

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