Reporter Yoon Jin-man of Sports Chosun] It is true that Japan, which will face Hwang Sun-hong for the men’s football gold medal on the 7th, includes a “student player,” but the concept is different from the “college player” common in Korea.
The university has 10 members, which is a little less than half of the 22 members of the Japanese Asian Games national team. The average age of the players is also about two years younger than Korea, showing a big difference in squad weight with Hwang Sun-hong-ho, who is all 22 professionals. Some call Japan a “college student team.” 안전놀이터
However, it is necessary to know that 10 college players belonging to the Japanese team are “special designated players” in the J-League, not college students who went from high school to university. The J-League specializes in designating up to three players without changing the currently registered squad to participate in club training and play official games. In other words, ‘college players’ designated as specially designated players can play for both their universities and J-League clubs in the same season. The J-League has been implementing such a system since 1998 to provide players with a high level of soccer environment and academic opportunities. Many of the current J-League players have gone through college, and Ueda Ayase (Peyenoord), a national striker, also spent two years at Hosei University.
Many of the 10 college students who participated in the Asian Games are from youth in J-League clubs. Midfielder Sumi Koshiro is from FC Tokyo, Yamaguchi Gakeru (Tsukuba University) is from Vissel Kobe Youth, and right back Hiroki Sekine (Takushoku University) and defender Yoshida Manato (Kanoya University) are from Kashiwa Reysol and Yokohama F, respectively.He is from Marinos. Defender Hayato Okuda is from Gamba Osaka Youth and moved to Cerezo Osaka as a specially designated player this year and then went to Momoyama Gakuin University.
Most of them do not have enough professional experience like Korea, but they are “elites” who have gone through the national teams of each age in recognition of their potential. Japan has not come to the finals by catching both the content and the results with its remarkable performance in this tournament.
Japan also has overseas students. Midfielder Sato Gain plays for Germany’s Verdebremen second team. Defensive midfielder Daikhi Matsuoka is uniquely a member of Brazil’s Novorizonito. The original team is Shimizu S-Pulse, and he left for Brazil this season to study on loan. Matsuoka is a player selected as a key player in Japan by KBS commentator Lee Young-pyo, “Chorong.”
Ace Nishiga and Jun, No. 10, and key winger Yuta Matsumura are alternating starting and replacing for Sagan Dos and Kashima Antlers, respectively.
It is hard to say that Japan is the best player because it did not select the best players in the same age group, Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Yukanari Sugawara (AZ Alkmar), and Hiroki Ito (Stutgart). Striker Naoki Kumata (FC Tokyo), a high-end rising star, was knocked out due to injury. However, under the leadership of coach Ko Oiwa, who took the helm in 2021, he reached the final with solid organization. It is clear that Korea is the toughest opponent to meet in this tournament.