Soccer in Japan benefits from grass-roots level


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personally I'd rather watch paint dry than endure sitting through a game of soccer. Rugby has it beat in every department except simplicity (where it pretty reigns supreme). To each there own - but many are the soccer players and American footballers that I have turned to Rugby and once you've played Footy... there's no going back.

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Jayman, rugby is a great game agree as long as it is 15s. Not a fan of sevens. Football however is the beautiful game. To each his own sport, but watching barca play is like watching fireworks lighting up the sky.

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Japan really has come a long way in a relatively short time considering that it fights for space (quite literally) with other more established sports like baseball. I think it will get better too, as more and more youngsters get inspired by the current crop of Japanese players who are in other leagues. It is so easy to practice too, all you need is a ball and either a patch of dirt of a wall to kick against.

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All they need now is grass at the grassroots level. Most of the fields I see the kids practice soccer on are atrocious.

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@ratpack - agree there - I have to drive 1.5 hours out to Ibaraki to get decent pitches!

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the local elementary school has stopped baseball club as not enough boys want to play.the parents want a soccer club but none of the teachers have played the game. times are changing.

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Japan are slowly becoming a world force in football - they will be good at next year's world cup.

Soccer is the world game. Rugby is provincial.

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@Jaymann: "To each there (sic) own" is right, rugby? You're kidding, right? Snoozer. Soccer is non-stop, total 90 of action and thrills. Rugby, serious?

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Back on topic please. The subject is soccer in Japan.

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Great news but I have found snobbery from some Japanese towards domestic football. Yes, watching Barcelona is a joy and I can enjoy that spectacle while still getting behind my local teams in England and Japan. Let's have a bit more local pride and get behind your local team!

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“Even if you are a good player, nobody rates you if you don’t deliver results,”

Except the Japanese media, who chooses the golden boy before the tournament begins and awards that person the MVP award before it starts as well.

It's great that Japan is progressing as it is, and even better if it's truly because it's becoming more and more important at a grass roots level, but the latter is not as easy to see. And that's one thing that rubs me the wrong way about soccer in Japan, and sports in general -- when Japan does well everyone is out in the park kicking a ball around. If Japan flubs it or they go out before a rival team (like South Korea) does, suddenly no one talks about soccer and the kids have switched back to baseball in the park. You DO see it being pushed more on the school yard with clubs, but I want to see it pushed even more, with more professional coaches teaching city teams in summer, etc.

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I am happy that my two sons are a part of the grass roots level of soccer in Japan. The oldest one (9) is VERY interested in it. He practices drills every day even in the rain or snow. The younger one (7) does not show the same dedication but the intensity of his play (as keeper) reminds me a lot of Oliver Khan. We are fortunate that a soccer training facility is being built near our house on the Sagami Line.

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Congrats DaveAllTogether, in these days of videogames, having kids playing a real physical sport is as important as going to school.

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Let us do a little reality check here.

Japanese soccer is at best second rate, but the work at the grassroot level in schools is really admirable. I occasionally help out teaching european style soccer to the kids at the neighborhood school and I see good talent. Like the big boys, the kids too suffer from the japanese disease not to really look, before deciding. They simply start running, and ALWAYS forward. The blindly forward spirit of gambere ist still too prevalent, no one seems to really understand how important it is to hold the ball in ones own possession. Hasebe is the only really great footballer the country has, the others are overrated. Defeating Iraq and Turkmensitan is not really a sign of quality....

But...talking about grassroots.....

For almost five years I have been looking for a single place where people can play soccer south of Yokohama! I have lived on every continent in my life and whatever country I am in, I have never lived anywhere, where it was not possible to get to a soocer pitch in walking distance or at least on a bicycle. Even in the USA in 1983.... And just to see something that actually deserves the name soccer pitch in Japan, is also already a fulltime job.

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volland: "And just to see something that actually deserves the name soccer pitch in Japan, is also already a fulltime job."

Oh, come on! Those dirt parks are multi-purpose! ;)

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Totally agree with some modification: “The reason things are so good in Japan right now is that there is massive investment in youth soccer,” Read massive investment from the youth's PARENTS !!!

For example while I appreciate the shear number of clubs and places for kids to practice the game there are oddities typical for Japan (or may be not only?) First is the dedication from the parents who have to sacrifice other family members not interested in football (eg. - daughter). Once your boy or girl is one of the parent managed teams its over with family time on the weekends.

If your kid and you get really serious and try to go up the ladder to pro there are many hurdles. Selection to enter one of the J-league teams is severe. Once you are in the youth team all expenses are on the shoulders of the parents. Equipment, uniforms, travel for the matches - you have to be reach. No chance for talented kid without solid financial support. The team can kick you out and there only good to provide grounds and coaches which are of high standard generally.

I don't say it's all black but its harsh reality for kids and parents who decide to go to higher lever. Personally I am fine with my kid being able to practice sport and have only superlative words for the popularity and work everybody is putting for those kids.

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A whole article about men's soccer... When the women are the World Cup winners. And here lies the problem with Japan. If anything is "grassroots" with soccer in this country it's women's soccer. Very few school teams, very little funding and little media support. This article speaks volumes about the sexism here with sports.

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soccer is future of sports in Japan. Baseball is way to hard.. and requires too much equipment and too many kids for a pick up game.. a baby can kick a ball.. girls can play soccer.. you dont need shoes to play on the beach and that is too bad for Nike who sells shoes.. soccer is the most fair sport in the world.. I play all sports and I learned late that soccer is beautiful game. It is martial art.. it needs to be cleaned up at professional level.. it needs more promotion and also need to play more matches in Asian soccer.. all good players go Europe.. get abused.. need to bring in some more Brazilians and Japan soccer team needs to learn to dance.. move better with feet and rhythm in their play.. it is martial art.. and discipline.. soon China will exert its influence.. in this sport..

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a baby can kick a ball.. girls can play soccer..

Oh good Lord, proving my comments nicely....

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This article speaks volumes about the sexism here with sports.

True, True. Look at the constitution and you won't be surprised. Japan is 17th century mentality in gender roles.

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