Eyes on the goal: Women's soccer goes pro in Japan

By Natsuko FUKUE

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If players are properly professional then they will have the time for full training programs and girls will be attracted to playing from a young age. I'm looking forward to going to the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, and I hope Japan is one of the teams I'll be able to watch. After all, Japan did win the World Cup back in 2011, as the article points out - they may not be good enough to win it next time, but after that, who knows?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The 2011 team was one of the finest soccer teams to take the field.

At the time Homare Sawa, the greatest footballer in Asia, and winner of FIFA player of the year, captain of the WC Team, golden boot and golden ball winner WC 2011, was the highest paid female soccer player in Japan. After toiling for 18 years as a professional: she earned $35,000 in a year. Saori Ariyoshi, nominated for the Golden Ball, at the 2015 World Cup, worked the front desk at an athletic club to make ends meet. She was interviewed by the BBC and the video is posted online.

The women are talented and dedicated. Mana Iwabuchi, Yui Hasegawa, Saki Kumagai are key players on European teams. Kinga is a prized player in Australia. Nagasato and Kawasumi are important & popular players in the USA.

The players are fit. Work out. And indeed 'lift weights'. They are well-trained and skilled. What is lacking is proper salaries and the opportunity to play soccer full\tome as a professional.

The current team is a rebuilding effort by Coach Takakura. She was able to win the AFC Cup, with the inclusion of veteran players, but has abandoned that strategy. The team, excepting Iwabuchi, Hasegawa and Kumagai are lacking in talent on par with the 2011 team. There are talented young players and the possibility of a medal, but the USA, which honors its veteran players will easily defeat Japan.

Coach Takakura, will be looking for employment post-Olympics.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have coached teams in USA and know what is required to get to the top.

USA football program is the Gold standard.

When I go to the Health club, I see High school and Collage athletes' come in fully fit and workout a few hours with no smartphones' and go back back. This is in addition to whatever exercise they do at School and Collage.

It's called Dedication.

In USA, football is played from kindergarten to Collage.

A program is in place.

Setting up a League is one thing but will the players have the time to workout to strengthen, also work with coaches on drills?

If the Japan work requires these women to work endless hours and no time for play, then it's a thankless task.

I would like to coach and also setup a program like in USA where we breed players from a young age and progress.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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