Liu Ailing
Personal information
Full name Liu Ailing
Date of birth (1967-06-02) June 2, 1967 (age 54)
Place of birth Baotou, China
Height 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)[1]
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1993 Beijing
1994–1997 Tasaki Perule FC
1998–2000 Beijing
2001–2002 Philadelphia Charge 39 (12)
National team
1987–2002 China
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:45, 23 November 2016 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:45, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

Liu Ailing (simplified Chinese: 刘爱玲; traditional Chinese: 劉愛玲; pinyin: Liú Àilíng; born June 2, 1967) is a Chinese former footballer who played for the China national team at the 1991, 1995 and 1999 editions of the FIFA Women's World Cup. She won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and participated at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A playmaking midfielder, she played professional club football in Japan and the United States.

Club career

Born in Baotou, Inner Mongolia,[1] Liu excelled in basketball and athletics but did not play football until she was 17 years old. Her parents were initially reluctant to let her play what they saw as a masculine sport.[2]

In 1994 Liu joined Japanese second tier club Tasaki Perule FC. She helped win promotion in her first season and remained with the club until 1997.[3]

At the 2000 WUSA Draft, Liu was selected by Philadelphia Charge in the first round, second overall behind compatriot Sun Wen.[4] In the United States Liu experienced a culture shock; she bought only raw fruit and vegetables from the supermarket as in China she had been in regimented training camps for so long that she never learned to cook.[5] In the 2001 WUSA season 34-year-old veteran Liu was a success, leading the team on goals (10) and points (22). She was the first woman to win WUSA's Player of the Week in two consecutive weeks, and the first woman to win it three times. Charge coach Mark Krikorian said of Liu: "She has been one of the greatest center midfielders in the world".[6] In 2002 Liu was less effective, contributing two goals and two assists for six points in her 20 regular season appearances (11 starts). She retired at the end of the season.[7]

International career

At the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup, Liu played the full 80 minutes in all four of China's games. The hosts reached the quarter-finals before losing 1–0 to Sweden.[8] In the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup match, Liu scored twice in China's 4–0 win over eventual finalists Norway on 16 November 1991.

In 1996 she won the silver medal with the Chinese team. She played all five matches and scored one goal.

At the 1997 AFC Women's Championship Liu scored four goals in China's 10–0 semi-final win over Taiwan and two goals in the 2–0 final win over obdurate North Korea. She was named tournament MVP.[9] Liu was named in the 16-player All-Star team at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.[10] She scored the winning goal in the 2–1 first round win over Sweden and two more in the 5–0 semi-final rout of defending champions Norway, securing China's place in the final, where they lost a controversial penalty shootout to the United States.[11]

In 2000, she was a member of the Chinese team which finished fifth in the Olympic women's tournament. She played all three matches.

In 2003 Liu took a role as deputy secretary general of the Beijing Football Association.[12] Following the playing retirement of Liu and influential contemporaries like Sun Wen and Zhao Lihong, the Chinese national team went into sharp decline, culminating in an 8–0 defeat by Germany at the 2004 Athens Olympics.[13] In June 2007 Liu was running the only girls' football school in Beijing, when it closed through lack of interest.[14]






  1. ^ a b "Liu Ailing". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  2. ^ Fan Hong, J. A. Mangan (2004). Soccer, Women, Sexual Liberation: Kicking Off a New Era. Frank Cass Publishers. p. 58. ISBN 0714684082. Liu Ailing, another famous player, has stated that her parents once confronted her coach and told him that they did not want their daughter, 'such a lovely girl to play a boy's sport'.
  3. ^ "Players featured on FIFA's 100 Best Goals who played in Japan". Full Bloom: A Guide to Women's Football in Japan. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ "China's Sun Wen Selected by Atlanta with Top Pick". People's Daily. 11 December 2000. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  5. ^ Jensen, Mike (13 April 2001). "For soccer's Liu Ailing, a new country means new rules and new league". Knight Ridder. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Charge's Liu showing moxie down the stretch". WUSA. Archived from the original on 27 December 2002. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  7. ^ Narducci, Marc (3 July 2002). "Charge's Liu Ailing planning to retire". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  8. ^ "FIFA Women's World Cup China '91 - Technical Report & Statistics" (PDF). FIFA. p. 66. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  9. ^ "LIU Ailing". FIFA. Archived from the original on 16 April 2000. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  10. ^ "WWC99: Hamm, Sissi, Sun among 16 players selected to Mastercard All-Star Team". FIFA. 8 July 1999. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  11. ^ Farley, Maggie (15 July 1999). "Chinese upset by 'tainted' World Cup loss". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 26 November 2016.[dead link]
  12. ^ "刘爱玲要过安稳日子 正式出任北京足协副秘书长" (in Chinese). Sina Corp. 8 April 2003. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Rusty Steel Roses leave the past behind". FIFA. 8 September 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Fewer and fewer Chinese girls play football". Xinhua News Agency. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  15. ^ "辉煌战绩" (in Chinese). Sina Corp. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Awards for Saudi and China". Asian Football Confederation. 14 May 1998. Archived from the original on 1998-05-14.