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Farewell 李洁


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An 11 year national team veteran, named to All-Star team at the Beijing World Cup last year, and exactly what a keeper wants to see standing in front of her at center-back. She leaves behind a storied career and standard for the Chinese youth players and will make a great teacher:


Former Chinese women's soccer skipper retires from international duty


BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The former captain of the Chinese women's soccer national team Li Jie has retired from the international duty to secure a more promising future. The 29-year-old defender reckoned that she could not carry on after China lost to Japan in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics women's soccer tournament.

"I love the game which had brought me so much, but I have no idea where I will end up if I hold on with the national outfit," she said.

The Chinese women's soccer offers a bleak prospect for its players, as most of them can hardly live a decent life with a meagre monthly salary of less than two thousand yuan. Even for theplayers like Li, it has been always a problem for them to seek a proper job following retirement.

"I began to play soccer at a tender age, and I had spent nearlyall my life on this game," said Li, who is now studying at BeijingNormal University.

"And when I was pondering retirement, I suddenly realized that I was almost capable of nothing, except for playing soccer," she said.

On every afternoon of the weekdays, Li goes to Beijing women's soccer club by bus to train with her club teammates.

"I will play for my club at next year's National Games in defence of our title. After that I will retire from the club soccer and put all myself into study. I hope I will graduate in 2010 and become a primary school teacher," she said.

Li now lives alone in an apartment awarded to her by the Beijing club as prize following the team's success at the National Games three years ago.

After school, she often dines out to treat herself with some simple food, such as meat pies or gravied rice. In the restaurant near her apartment, she has never been worried that she will be mobbed by autograph seekers, as there are very few women's soccer fans in Beijing as well as the rest of China.


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