Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Croatia.....NO! France........NO!Yokohama........YEA!

Our long national nightmare is over. Takashi Hirano finally decided to make up his mind and choose a team......HUZZAH! Really now, what was the delay for? France didn't want you, Croatia isn't the greatest destination spot in the world and Verdy is into Rui ball now. Yokohama F Marinos gives you an offer to go to their squad...........TAKE IT! Stop dithering. Aww, let's get to business.

Tokyo Verdy 1969 (official website) is reporting that Takashi Hirano is taking his ball and heading to Yokohama F Marinos. The 31 year old midfielder played in 80 league games for Tokyo Verdy from 2003-2005, scoring 8 goals. F Marinos will be his 6th team in his 13 year career.

God, I hope that this is the last of it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hope he's half as good and twice as durable

Sponichi Annex sports and smut du jour and Nikkan Sports are both reporting that the younger brother of Urawa MF and constant subject of media attention and adulation Shinji Ono had a tryout with Tokyo Verdy under the supervision of Rui himself. My first inclination is to be cynical and think, "Wow, Rui hasn't been in the news for about two days........what better way than to link to the Ono name?" but maybe the kid has some skills. Besides, they'll need the bodies for the sattlelite league.

FOLLOW UP: It seems as though the Kazuki Hiramoto apology has been pulled from the website. I don't know if it's common to do that after one day or if litigation is involved and they are trying to protect the player. Might just be a technical glitch but it does seem a bit strange to pull an apology that quickly.

J2 around the league-THE IN-BETWEENERS

This weeks edition of J2 around the league focuses on teams that finished in a position that was neither good or bad. I like to call them the In-Betweeners. A break here or there or a good offseason move could propel them into position for promotion. On the other hand, a poorly thought out move could doom them to dismal status in the second league for years to come.

Tokushima Vortis was the other expansion team in 2005. They kind of went below the radar with the exploits and tragic ineptness of their expansion sister, Thespa Kusatsu. Vortis has been rather quiet in the transaction market. DF Yusaku Tanioku and MF Shohei Kamada were shown the door after relatively decent seasons and former FC Tokyo DF Takayuki Komine called it quits after a 7 year career in the J-league.

The pickups were equally uninspiring with the additions of DF Shigeki Tsujimoto from Kyoto who fell out of the rotation completely last year and Brazilian import Jorghinio from Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who has an uneventful career in Hiroshima and Nagoya. He's relatively young and has potential so he should get more time on the field this year.

Then last week, Vortis took Jun Tamano off the hands of Verdy. This was a very solid move on their part, a young MF with good upside is always a positive addition in my book and Vortis added him without losing anything in return. I don't think they have a shot at promotion but there is a chance of finishing in the top half of the division this year and that's a good goal for a second year club to accomplish.

One of the longtime members of the J-League, Bellmare has struggled to find its way after the turn of the millenium. Bellmare has consistently sat near the bottom of J2 since relegation in 1999. This year, Bellmare decided to try and improve on it's 7th place finish by shaking up it's roster completely.

Gone are 14 members of the 2005 squad, including DF Josip Barisic and MF Yoshikazu Suzuki, who were major contributors but were inexplicably released. The big name to go was FW Michiaki Kakimoto, who takes his team leading 15 goals to Cerezo Osaka and J-1.

11 new members come in led by J-League imports Satoshi Yokoyama of Omiya and Daisuke Konoike of Montedio Yamagata. The big news for Bellmare are the three Brazilian recruits for 2006. MF Fabio comes over from Mito Hollyhock after netting 3 goals in 13 games. Nivaldo, who used to play for Montedio Yamagata in 2003, moves over from Atletico Goianiense in order to help shore up the midfield. The third member of the reinforcement group comes by way of Qatar. Adiel was a FW for Qadisia who hopes to pick up some of the scoring hole left by the departure of Kakimoto. It's hard to predict how Bellmare will gel with all the new faces next year. It really could go either way.

Sagan Tosu starts off 2006 with a new logo, new attitude, and new midfield. As has been the pattern in J2, Tosu jettisoned 14 members of last years 8th place squad. Three of the major losses were Brazilian import Biju, who is heading to newly promoted Ventforet Kofu to help with their defense (and cover for Hayashi's mistakes), young talent Yuki Takabayashi (off to rival Montedio Yamagata, and MF anchor Yuji Miyahara to Cerezo. Miyahara is a tough loss becuase he had a great season last year, teaming with Yoshiki Takahashi to help feed the offense. The good news is that Tosu is keeping it's two prolific forwards,Takaaki Suzuki and Tatsunori Arai, who combined for an impressive 32 goals last year.

Tosu's weak spot last year was it's Defense. To remedy this Ikuo Matsumoto decided to go the Shimizu/Nagoya route and brought in a Korean contingent to help shore up the D. Yu Jin Kim is a defender from last years Korean ACL representative (and home to Gang Jin Lee) Busan I-Park. Yun Jong Hwang was brought in from Chonbuk Hyundai to help shore up the midfield. Help is also coming from within the league in the form of returning MF Hiromasa Suguri (2 goals in 25 games for Sagan and Avispa Fukuoka) and Thespa refugee Takayuki Yamaguchi (4 goals and 3 assists in 28 games). Tosu has an outside shot to claim a promotion if the defense improves and the dynamic duo can reproduce last years goal fest.

I have a feeling that one of these teams might become the Kofu of 2006 and steal the third spot from more established squads like Vissel or Vegalta. Tosu, with their new look and their defensive reinforcements are my pick to surge next year.

Friday, January 27, 2006


INAGI CITY 2006/1/28 Kazuki Hiramoto got into a car accident at 9am today with a 30 year old woman on a motorcycle. It looks like he crossed the median and struck her. He was held out of practice today as a precaution, but had no injuries. The woman (who was unnamed in articles and on the Verdy website) will be in the hospital for 4 days with a flesh wound to her leg. It doesn't look serious.


It's out on the Verdy website........instead of giving all 48 dates at once I figured I would space them out and break it up into quarters......Here are the matches for March and April

3-4 Tokushima Vortis at home (Hello Jun!)
3-11 Shonan Bellmare away
3-18 Ehime FC at home (first chance to take a look at MIKAN MAGIC in action)
3-25 Montedio Yamagata away
4-1 Kashiwa Reysol at home (Rui, Basilio, Ono, and others get their first chance to have a reunion with their sunny brothers)
4-5 Mito Hollyhock away
4-8 Sagan Tosu away
4-15 Thespa Kusatsu home
5-6 All on the road against Vegalta Sendai, Vissel Kobe, Consadole Sapporo, and Ehime FC

8 road games, including 3 in a row against likely contenders for promotion spots. ACL starts on March 8th with a visit from Ulsan, Then Tabacco Money (not making this name up) on the 22nd, and Arema Malang for 2 games (4-12 away and 4-26 at home.........6 games in March with a road trip to Thailand and 9 games in April with a road trip to Malaysia followed by a 4 game league roadie. That is one ugly schedule.............if they manage a .500 record, I think they'll be in good shape to make a push for promotion at the end of the season. I think this is where Rui's "VETERAN STRATEGY" is going to come back and bite him. Old legs don't recover as quickly as young ones so with all those games, he's going to have to decide whether or not to send the sattlelite team to ACL, take a chance with the youngsters in league against Thespa and Ehime so the regulars can get a breather or go for it all. If Verdy is able to steal the first match against Ulsan, I think that ACL will be treated seriously, if they lose it 3-1 or 4-1, I think you will see a team of young guys like Kosuke Kiyama and old guys like Nagai making up a b squad for an asian roadie.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Then again.........

Maybe Croatia is a hell hole. Sponichi Annex house of sports and pornography is reporting that the Osijek deal is not looking good and Hirano might be heading to Yokohama FM......this is currently speculation (as was the Croatia stuff which I posted so blatantly). The article said Hirano is weighing his options which might include.........wait for it........a return to Verdy.

The saga continues

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

There are worse places than Croatia.........

I'm guessing road trips to Mito is one of those places. Takashi Hirano is off to Croatia to talk with officials of NK-Osijek about a job next year. Hirano was left off the 35 man roster for Verdy and figured to not be returning. He had a tryout in France which didn't go great and his options in Japan are fairly limited so it looks like (to me, Masa at MASA-NET, and the good folks at Sports Hochi) that he's probably on his way out. Here's some quick facts

NK-Osijek: Currently 5th in the twelve team division 1 Croatian league. They are 17 points behind perrenial Croat powerhouse Dinamo Croatia.

Takashi Hirano: Played 27 games for Verdy last season in the midfield. Hirano started his career in 1993 for Nagoya Grampus 8. He's played in 340 career games with 53 goals. He's played for Kyoto, Vissel Kobe and Jubilo Iwata, as well as Nagoya and Verdy.

Move 37? Possibly.

DEATH AND TAXES: I'm guessing another place that's not as nice as Croatia right now is Brazil. Former J-leaguer Emerson was arrested for having 2 birth certificates and now former Verdy Goal machine Washington is being held on suspicion of tax evasion. Sponichi Annex reported that Washington was being questioned for tax evasion in Brazil and it's going to delay his start to training camp (I babel fished this article so it's possible he murdered a taxi driver.......gotta love the fish!) It seems like he's in the clear on this and it's just procedural, but again it's babelfish so maybe he'll be executed........who knows?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Two more are shown the door

The Tokyo Verdy 1969 official website is reporting that Jun Tamano (2 goals in 26 career games) and Gang-Jin Lee (1 goal in 25 career matches) will not be coming back to the team next year. Tamano, a 21 year old MF will be heading to Tokushima Vortis. Lee, a 19 year old Korean U-20 national teamer, is returning to Korea to play for Busan I-Park.

I'm not crazy about letting more young guys go. I understand the need for Ramos to get Verdy back into J-1 but I feel he's sacrificing the future for a quick fix. This has been a pattern that Verdy has fallen into time and time again. I'll be the first to say that Lee had a train wreck of a year but who in that defense didn't? Everybody stunk, and letting Tamano go to a potential rival for one of three promotion spots is a huge mistake. I don't see the wisdom in letting Tamano go for a 34 year old midfielder who was on (the equivalent of) a 4th division team last year.

These were two guys who had their first taste of meaningful action, they had the perfect opportunity to earn a spot and play in J2 and they're gone........why? They kept Uemura, he's pushing 33 and he had arguably a worse season than Lee. I get the fact that Daigo and Soma got offers to play J1........they wanted to go and further their first division careers, but Tamano was not in that position.

Bad moves, Self inflicted wound............this is the offseason version of an own goal.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thespa Update

Yesterday I posted an article saying that Thespa Kusatsu only had three goalkeepers with no J League experience and the legendary 40 year old Japan International Noboyuki Kojima. Well, that changed. Sponichi Annex and the Thespa Kusatsu website are announcing that Kojima has retired (If my Japanese is correct on this). Kojima played in 239 games in J1 for Bellmare Hirotsuka and Avispa Fukuoka as well as 23 games for the J2 newcomer Thespa Kusatsu. He also was part of the historic 1998 Japan Team that went to France for the World Cup.

That makes KING KAZU the oldest J leaguer still playing...........until Rui decides he can lace em up again.

Meet The Captain

Here is a picture of Verdy's newest captain.........Harutaka Ono. As you might know by now, Ono used to play under Verdy boss Rui Ramos. He also has connections to Verdy newcomers Basilio and Shigenori Hagimura. In 1998, all 3 were members of Kashiwa Reysol. He teamed up with Hagimura to help Reysol win their only championship.........the J League Cup.

It makes sense, considering Ramos philosophy of picking up guys who were former peers. Ono still has something left in his tank so he can keep up on the field while bringing experience and personal connections to the table.

What's going to make this tough is that Ono is taking over the captain's position from a Verdy staple. He has to fill the shoes of EXOTIC TERMINATER. Ono has no history with the club, so it might be a bit tough for fans to warm up to him, especially if the buzzards get off to a rough start in J2.

Anyhow, gotta go and think of website names for the new captain.......maybe HARUTAKA ONO IS A LAVENDAR ASSASSIN.......Yeah, it needs work.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

J2 around the league-RETURN OF THE KING

We start out this weeks installment of J2 around the league at the bottom......the very bottom. Thespa Kusatsu decided to go back to their roots and hire back the coach that led them into the J-League. Shigeharu Ueki, a former coach at Hiratsuka (Shonan) Bellmare and Montedio Yamagata replaced Satoshi Tezuka after the finished a dismal 5-8-31, trailing Yokohama FC by an overwhelming 22 points in the standings. Shockingly, the team only picked up 7 players, including Keisuke Ota (2 goals in 24 games) from Avispa Fukuoka, Yasunori Takada(2 goals in 26 games) for Shonan Bellmare and Yokohama FC, and a pair of Omiya players in MF Yusuke Shimada and GK Takahiro Takagi. 10 players are leaving next year, most notably Takayuki Yamaguchi to Sagan Tosu and GK co-starter Fumiya Iwamura to Avispa Fukuoka, leaving the nets in the hands of 3 players with no J league game experience and 40 year old legend Noboyuki Kojima. It would be very easy to say that this team will finish in last but there is a possibility that Ueki can muster up the same magic that led the squad to finish in the quarterfinals of the Emperors Cup.

Yokohama FC was a team that struggled last year so they decided to do some major renovations this year and drop 17 players from the 11th place squad, including Trinidad and Tobago National Silvio and 9 other midfielders. Some of the players joining next years squad are veteran Vissel kobe defender Ichiei Muroi who played in only 10 games for the J1 cellar dwellers and Chong Yong De, a little used MF from Kawasaki. The best pickup was probably former Shonan Bellmare MF Tomoyuki Yoshino, who had 32 caps in 2005. Of course, any column about Yokohama wouldn't be complete without the question, "How much does King Kazu have left in his tank?". He had 6 goals in 38 games last year and took center stage in Sydney FC's World Club Championship run, but he's 38 years old and 38 year old forwards don't have much of a shelf life. My guess is that he won't finish the season with the squad. I'm predicting he ends up in green one last time before heading back to Sydney for retirement.

Like their counterparts in Yokohama, Mito catapulted 15 players from the squad, including 9 midfielders. I'm guessing that the J-league midfielder has the same job security as your average McDonalds counterperson. I've seen 9 or 10 new McDonalds ladies in my local area in the past 3 months. Unlike the Mito midfield, they've all been hot! Let's get back to the article. Takamichi Seki is off to Consadole Sapporo and Shunta Nagai is off to Kashiwa....the pair combined for 6 goals in the Hollyhock midfield. Another player who is going to been seen on the other side of the J2 field is Fabio, who is headed to Shonan Bellmare. He netted 3 scores in 13 games. Yokohama FC DF Jungo Kawano leads 10 new members into 2006 which includes 2 Oita players, 2 Sapporo players and some amateur signings. Like Thespa and Yokohama, it seems like Hollyhock didn't do much to improve on a team hovering around the bottom. All three squads will probably hover around the same place in 2006.

Next weeks feature teams will be Sagan Tosu, Tokushima Vortis, and Shonan Bellmare.

OTHER NOTE: National teamer and former Kashiwa Reysol striker Keiji Tamada signed with Nagoya Grampus Eight in an attempt to stay on Zico's radar for 2006. Nagoya was on a downward spiral las year and played with a lackluster, haphazard style that quite frankly resembled Kashiwa. Welcome Home, Keiji! Nagoya also took Mito DF Kota Fukatsu. Fukatsu was a starter for Mito, playing in 39 with 2 goals and an astounding 14 yellow cards.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Verdy started practicing last week after the announcement of the new squad. Here's a picture of them in the snow (from the Verdy site) trying to build a tough mindset. If you browse around the daily publication websites, you'll be able to catch a glance of Ramos frolicking in the snow. I have to say, if the hiring of Ramos was purely promotional, then it was a stroke of genius. There has been prominent mentions of him in all the sports dailies. I think he's starting to rival "The King" as a publicity icon.
Here's a picture of the coaching staff with all the new members of the Verdy squad. Ramos is the one in the middle wearing a jacket that makes him look like THE RIDDLER from those bad batman movies in the 90's. I'm going to search all over south Saitama to see if I can find one of those jackets for myself.

Friday, January 20, 2006

You can't know the players without a program!

Even then, it might not help. Verdy released the name of the 35 players selected for the top squad. Only 13 of the 35 are returnees. Korean youth international Gang Jin Lee was not among the listed players (I'm not sure if he's gone or if Verdy is pulling an Urawa and stashing him somewhere). 3 players were picked up from the youth team, 1 player was a college signing, and 17 were either borrowed, reclamated, repossessed, or outright stolen from other squads. Oh yeah........one was pulled from the regional leagues.

Anyhow, here's the rundown (former squads in parenthesis)

GK -Hiroki Mizuhara, Satoshi Tokizawa, Yoshinari Takagi, Takaya Kurokawa (Shimizu S Pulse)

OUTLOOK: Takagi is the incumbent and will probably get the spot, however, don't be surprised to see Kurokawa get a fair amount of starts with the bloated schedule. Surprisingly, this was the position with the least amount of change

DF- Kenta Togawa, Kenichi Uemura, Masayuki Yanagisawa, Dedimar (Santo Andre), Naoki Mihara (Verdy Youth), Yugo Ichiyanagi (Sagan Tosu), Seitaro Tomisawa (Vegalta Sendai), Shigenori Hagimura (Albirex via Kyoto), Yukihiro Aoba (Ventforet Kofu), Taisei Fujita (FC Tokyo), Takaki Shigemitsu (college)

OUTLOOK: This one is hard to call...............Dedimar is a lock to play in the back 3 but the other two slots are wide open. Yanagisawa, Togawa, and Uemura are the only returners from a backfield that was a complete joke. Tomisawa is a strong possibility as well as Hagimura.
That's who I'd start......Tomisawa, Hagimura, and Dedimar

MF-Kenta Tsurumaki (Verdy Youth), Hideki Nagai (FC Ryukyu), Tomo Sugiwara (Vissel Kobe), Anailson (San Caetano), Nozomi Hiroyama (Cerezo Osaka), Koji Maatsura (Vegalta Sendai), Masahiro Ohashi (Yokohama FM), Shin Kanazawa (Omiya), Jun Tamano, Masatomo Kuba, Shingo Nejime, Yuhei Ono

OUTLOOK: Decimated by the vultures of J1 (no pun intended), this will be the position that nobody will recognize. Anailson is a lock for opening day, Nagai and Sugiwara will probably be resuscitated to give the fans that natsukashii feeling. If they stick with a 3-5-2, it might be Ono at the tip of the spear. Ahh, hell, let's go with a 3-4-3 and call it Anailson, Sugiwara, Nagai, and Ohashi

FW-Harutaka Ono (Kashiwa), Basilio (Santos), Ryosuke Kijima (Oita), Kazuki Hiramoto, Kazunori Iio (Kawasaki Frontale), Takayuki Morimoto, Kohei Kiyama (Verdy Youth)

OUTLOOK: Even with the loss of Washington and Gil, this is the strongest position on the squad. Ono, Basilio, and Hiramoto will get the early season call with Morimoto serving as a super sub. Not alot of depth in the front 3, but there is some talent.

This is all subject to change after Guam though. It's a strong possibility that one or more of the young guns will step up and claim a spot. the guys that aren't playing will probably form an ACL squad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Blast from the past

Who says you can't come home again? Tokyo Verdy's official website is reporting that Mr. Hideki Nagai is coming back for his 4th stint in green. Nagai has career totals of 36 goals and 213 appearances. Nagai started his career in Kawasaki for the green back in 1993. he had another stint in 1997 and a turn with the Tokyo model in 2001/2002. His last appearance in the J-league was a brief stint in 2004 with Oita Trinita. Lately he has been trolling around with the recently promoted JFL squad, FC Ryukyu .

The Verdy website also added that Ramos loves this guy........whatever that means.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Two more faces appear

Here are photos of Anailson, Basilio (1998 Kashiwa Reysol photo), former teammate and newest acquisition Shigenori Hagimura (battling former Verdy legend Bismarck), The always fabulous Dedimar, and FC Tokyo pickup Taisei Fujita.

Sanspo.com is reporting that Verdy picked up Albirex Niigata and longtime former Kashiwa Reysol stalwart Shigenori Hagimura. Hagimura is a defender with 7 goals in 184 appearances.
Sanspo.com also reported that Taisei Fujita is also joining the squad. Fujita is a 23 year old MF/DF whose been in the league for 6 years. He didn't see any action for the top team in 2006 and has spent most of his career in Nagoya.

Outlook: Hagimura has a little bit left and Fujita is a prospect........not the strongest pickups ever but the way the squad has been hemmoraghing, they need the bodies. Especially considering the almost doubled amount of games they'll be involved in.

Monday, January 16, 2006


First off...........Major credit goes to MASA at MASA-NET for being the one to crack the Hirano to Croatia story (negotiations to be accurate). The guy looks at Croatian websites for stories for CHRISTSAKES! I won't get into details on Hirano until more develops.

Second, Sponichi Annex (the one who botched the Hirano story and advertises prostitution on its website.............AWESOME!) is reporting that Yamada will join Cerezo Osaka.

Finally, there's more rumors of Anailson and Dedimar joining up with Ramos and Verdy. Dedimar was another Ramos contemporary (Along with new pickup Basilio) back in 1998. If you have a chance, go and check out www.dedimar.com.br and see the love and sheer devotion Dedimar shows to..............himself. Wow, talk about an ego.......I especially like the Dedimar glamour shot at the top where he does his best Mary Kate/Ashley Olson full house pose. Also by checking out the site, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's really gonna want the number 3.

The Daily Yomiuri print edition had an uplifting piece about Basilio saying that Wanderly Luxemburgo wasn't going to use him this season and let him go. Splendid.

More tomorrow! Night all!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another man bails out!

This one took me by surprise.........although it probably shouldn't have. Defensive MF and longtime Verdy member Kentaro Hayashi agreed to join Ventforet Kofu in their inaugural J1 campaign. Hayshi played 250 of his 257 career matches for Verdy (with a brief pause in Kobe)
Hayashi was yellow carded 7 times this season and red carded twice.

It does make sense that he's leaving for a team just starting J1. He's had a long career which is winding down and he won't get too many more opportunities to play first division soccer in the future. Combining this with the loss of Daigo and Yamada's announcement that he's leaving the club and it's been a terrible weekend for Verdy fans everywhere.

Just a recap :Gil, Washington, Daigo and Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Yoneyama, Soma, Machida, and now Hayashi have all left the team

Yamada is on his way out and MASA-NET has rumors about Takashi Hirano leaving.

Notables remaining are Yoshinari Takagi GK, Masayuki Yanagisawa DF, Gang Jin Lee DF, Jun Tamano MF, Kazuki Hiramoto FW, and Takayuki Morimoto FW.

It's possible Takagi, Hiramoto, Tamano, and Morimoto could all be picked up by J1 or high end J2 teams (or in the case of Morimoto, a European squad). Rough days ahead.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What will happen to my favorite Verdy J-blog now?

Well.......we all knew this day was coming. My man Masa at MASA-NET found a post on Takuya Yamada's website. Yamada basically thanked the fans for 9+ years of support and said he had to go instead of playing in J2.............sad but not unexpected.

The big question now is this...........what becomes of "TAKUYA YAMADA IS EXOTIC TERMINATER"? Does it disappear? Does the creator become a Cerezo fan (or Yokohama FM or Ventforet Kofu or any other team that EXOTIC TERMINATER decides to bring his flowing locks to)?

I'm crushed to think of a world without TYIET.............It's like finding your true love and having her hit by Andy Dick in one of those hybrid cars after he's been on a 48 hour man party and coke bender.


New Import

Santos FC and Sports Hochi are reporting that diminutive forward Basilio will join the squad next year. Basilio is 33 years old, weighs 62 kg and is 169 cm tall. He put in 42 goals in 116 matches in Brazil. Ramos must have had a really good sales pitch. You might remember Basilio from his days as a striker for Kashiwa Reysol back in 1998. He had 9 goals in 31 total appearances.

Daigo is off to Omiya

It's official................the Omiya and Verdy sites both reported the Kobayashi signing today. Yamada is the last big talent left right now...............what will happen to the site "Takuya Yamada is an Exotic Terminater if he leaves?

Site : www.geocities.co.jp/Athete-Athene/8541/

Seriously, this is devastating losing a major young talent like Kobayashi. Good Luck at Omiya.....here's hoping for a triple.

J2 Around the league 1-14-06

Our first installment of around the league lets us take a look at three of the newcomers to J2, Kashiwa Reysol, Vissel Kobe, and Ehime FC

Kashiwa Reysol has arguably been the hardest hit of the three newly relegated clubs. In total, 18 members of the Sun Kings have been shown the door in one form or another. A pair of Defenders, Yasuhiro Hato and Yukio Tsuchiya are heading up the Noda line to Omiya. Both Hato and Tsuchiya play an aggressive style of defense as shown by their combined 14 yellow cards and 2 reds. 10 year Kashiwa mainstay Tomokazu Myojin is heading to defending Champs Gamba Osaka. The 19th member of this expanding group will be National team striker Keiji Tamada. Reports on January 13th had Tamada rejecting bids from Shimizu and Omiya and selecting perennial underachiever Nagoya Grampus 8. However, a report in Sports Hochi has Yokohama F Marinos teaming him up with fellow national teamer Tatsuhiko Kubo. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/hochi/soccer/jan/o20060113_40.html

Kashiwa has gotten some players back from rental agreements, including Kashima Antlers midfielder Ricardinho as well as picking up a bunch of youth players, college kids and rentals and castoffs from J1 clubs. Kashiwa is in for a long season in J2 as well as a long stay. It wouldn't be surprising to see them finish in the bottom tier of the league.

Another Team that is facing the "Joy of relegation" Rakuten Empire charter member Vissel Kobe. Kobe has seen their two imports Martin and Ivo head back to Europe, Ryuji Bando join Gamba Osaka and numerous others scatter to various J1 and J2 clubs. Vissel has decided to rebuild with youth, signing 4 members from it's strong youth program and 6 players from the ranks of High School and College.

They did manage to get a find in young Sanfrecce striker Hiroto Mori who netted 4 scores in 12 games. they also picked up a couple of released Yokohama FM players (Nobuki Hara and Sho Kitano) who rarely played for the first team.

Finally that brings us to JFL champions and new boys, Ehime FC. It looks like a long, long season for Tangerine Dream as they set out with their core from the JFL, rented sattlelite players from Sanfrecce Hiroshima (3 total, plus a pickup) and Kashiwa Reysol. It would be a major upset if they finished ahead of anyone in J2. Honestly, I know little about this squad but I have a feeling that they are going to rival Thespa Kusatsu for ineptitude in their inagural season. Fortunately, they have the backing of their entire community so their long term future is bright.

Next weeks featured teams will be Mito Hollyhock, Yokohama FC, and Thespa Kusatsu.

CORRECTION/UPDATE: Sports Hochi is reporting that Tamada will join Nagoya as well. Cleber, an integral part of Kashiwa, left the team for Santos in Brazil. By my new count, that's 20 including a good foreign import and a National team player. They are having a supporters meeting on the 29th. Cookies will be served, blood will be spilled. That is all.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Features

Coming soon to SG1969 are two new features......a weekly check of activities around J2 on Sunday nights. I'll try and have updates on movements around the league.

Also because you demanded it (actually my friend suggested it.......there was no real demand involved), I will have a link to the history of Tokyo Verdy 1969. I'll pretty much steal things straight from Rising Sun News and Wikipedia, but I'm hoping I'm able to provide one or two little nuggets of wisdom that weren't there before!

Coming in February.......look for the link!

Also Verdy signed a College Defender named Shigemitsu Takaki He's 22 years old, 69 kg and 174 cm. the Verdy website had a blurb about him and J1 so they must be very high on him!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Vissel pickup

The prodigal midfielder returns! Longtime Vissel Midfielder and former Kawasaki Verdy player Tomo Sugawara rejoins the club of his youth. Sugawara played in 15 games for Vissel and netted 1 of their 30 goals for the year.......a rare feat indeed! Sugawara has 4 goals in 165 career J1 matches. This one kinda fell through the cracks with all the other mayhem going on with the team.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kofu pickup

If you had told me after last years emperors cup that Verdy would be looking at Ventforet Kofu's released players, I would have called you insane. In a land where the most popular comedian is called Hard Gay and women prefer natto to chocolate, I guess anything is possible.

Anyhow, this is Yukihiro Aoba. He was a member of Kofu since 2002, when he played in 43 games. He has been going downhill since, playing 38, 34, and a career low 25 last year. that being said, he could be in the mix for a starting spot next season and he adds depth.

The Vegalta Connection

Satoshi Tsunami has brought a couple of his youngsters in to help reinforce a bare-bones Verdy squad. I'd like to comment on Tsunami first.......I think it was one of the better moves to bring in a coach who has roots in the squad, experience (he was one goal away from facing Kashiwa in the promotion/relegation playoff and knowledge of the opposition in J2. It also tells me something about Ramos and his ego being small enough to allow someone with bigger credentials on his staff. That's a very good sign.

Seitaro Tomisawa is an expiring loan repossesion who played in 14 games last year as a DF. He rated a gaudy 6.00 in Weekly Soccer Digest. He's 23, weighs in at 73kg and stands at a sturdy 181cm. He is a welcome addition to a porous defense.

Koji Matsuura is a 25 year old project MF. He played in 13 games and was dropped by his squad at the end of the season. Tsunami, Ramos, and the rest of the staff must see something in Matsuura because the numbers sure don't look promising. I'm guessing he will float between the first team and the sattlelite unless he catches fire.

One Kobayashi out, one to go?

Wow, go back to work and hell breaks loose in Verdyland. We'll start with news from Saitama. Go!Go!Omiya Ardija and the Tokyo Verdy 1969 website are reporting that Yoshiyuki Kobayashi is headed to the Orange Empire. The good news for Verdy is that MF Shin Kanazawa will be coming to Verdy on a one year loan. Kanazawa netted 2 goals and an assist in 18 games.

Other noteworthy deals for Verdy, Ventforet Kofu DF Yukihiro Aoba, Cerezo Osaka MF Nozomi Hiroyama, and Vegalta Sendai MF/FW Koji Matsuura all will be members of the Mean Green in 2006. Ramos and his staff were officially introduced. And one more thing......


Originally found on MASA-NET, 70 Verdy supporters, thouroughly disgusted by the losses of Washington, Gil, Yoneyama, Soma, Toda, and now Kobayashi the elder, decided to hold an 8 hour sit-in in front of the team clubhouse in an act that was reminiscent of the Kashiwa fan rebellion last season. This is starting to get a bit ugly for the Verdy front office.

I will post more later on the new acquisitions and other rumors possibly out there.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Yamada Campaign

Fans at Verdyblog http://verdyblog.ameblo.jp have started a drive to try and convince Captain Yamada and Daigo Kobayashi to remain in green and help with the campaign to re-enter the upper eschelon of Japanese Soccer. The website shows examples of Cerezo Osaka and Oita mobilizing fans to get key players to stay. It's ironic that they bring up Cerezo as an example because in the same post (unless I just misunderstood the Japanese completely) Cerezo is actively pursuing Captain Verdy. MASA-NET also has a story about bloggers using trackbacks to contact Yamada like an electronic petition (link to MASA-NET is on the side).

I think the fans are getting tired of losing all their heroes. If Yamada decides to walk, it will be devastating to the morale of the fans. I'll say it's not an easy position for the Captain to be in, either leave the only franchise you've ever known or face the possibility of spending the best part of your career in the second division.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Midfield reinforcement

Masahiro Ohashi, a 168cm MF from Yokohama F Marinos, has decided to shed the tricolor and don the brilliant green of Verdy.
(Sports Hochi www.yomiuri.co.jp/hochi/soccer/jan/o20060108_60.htm ) Ohashi had one goal and 5 assists in 25 league games for Yokohama FM last year. He spent most of his career in the red, white, and blue, with J2 stops in Mito (2001, 7 goals) and Albirex (2002). I'm a little surprised to see Marinos give up on a young talent like this, I'm thinking it's got to be a rental. The article mentions his free kick on set plays.

I'd pencil him as a starter. Looks like Kobayashi is leaving.

New Buzzard?

Found this bit of information on a Reds fan blog so take it with a grain of salt but it's possible that Oita FW Ryosuke Kijima is being brought in. Kijima was released by Oita in December so it might just be for a tryout. He's 26 years old, weighs in at a husky 65 kg and stands a whopping 166 cm tall. He played in 10 games this year with 0 goals and 1 assist. He started his career off at Yokohama in 1998 (back when they were just Marinos and not FM). He joined Oita in the promotion year and scored 3 goals for them last year. Maybe tomorrow we will have an official announcement.

The Tale of Daigo

Nikkan Sports had an article today saying Daigo Kobayashi would like to become a member of the Ardija. The Ardija would like Daigo. Hmm.......getting the picture yet? The other Kobayashi has yet to decide on the Ardija offer.

Now would probably be helpful to create a roadmap of what happened since the last days of J1

The fearless 15 for the Oita match

GK Takagi (Now in a battle with S-Pulse rental Takaya Kurokawa.....will probably see time with the extra J2 matches and ACL scrums)

DF Hayashi (Career Verdian.......might be one of the few vets to survive the purge)

DF Yamada(Still desired by other J1 squads and a decent talent. 80/20 says he's gone. He was the face of the team during the Emperors Cup last year.)

DF Yoneyama (Gone to Kawasaki Frontale. Possibly replaced by Yugo Ichiyanagi or one of the bench players)

DF Yanagisawa (Relatively young DF. His job to lose for now)

MF Toda (Gone on Loan to Sanfrecce. Ono from Kashiwa might fill the void)

MF Hirano (Career J1 journeyman. I don't think he'll stay but he might. Maybe back to Nagoya? Still has something left in the tank.)

MF Soma (Off to Urawa for recognition and riches.)

MF DAIGO (Off to Omiya? It looks more and more likely)

FW Washington (Taking over for Maric in Urawa)

FW Gil (Back to Brazil)

And the Bench GK Mizuhara (Now 3rd on the depth chart?), DF Uemura (Could compete for a starter spot), MF Ono (could compete for one of the numerous vacancies coming soon, only got into one game last year) , MF Tamano (Young Mid who saw some time last year. He could grab a spot), andFW Machida (Gone to Kawasaki Frontale).

As of now, Verdy only has 2 forwards who saw any time in a J-league game (First or second division). Ramos is pursuing three Brazilians (Who I'm trying to get info on. Anailson from Sao Caetano and two others.......one with former links to Jubilo, possibly).

Things are getting ugly in Ajinomoto.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Playing with the big boys

It's kinda cruel to throw three young lads to the wolves in Asia but Verdy went and did it. Meet FW Kohei Kiyama, MF Kento Tsurumaki, and DF Naoki Mihara, Verdy's young reinforcements from their successful youth team. I imagine that will be a theme throughout the season......young or as we like to say of the youthful and inexperienced back in the land of the free................GREEN!

New Additions

Here are pictures of MF Harutaka Ono and GK Takaya Kurokawa(on loan from Shimizu S-Pulse). Welcome to Tokyo! (Picture taken from Kashiwa Reysol and Shimizu S-Pulse official sites)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Toda to Sanfrecce

MF Kazuyuki Toda is on his way to Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The 28 year old mid spent most of his career with S-Pulse, taking a small detour to Tottenham and ADO Den Haag. Toda's brief Verdy career will probably best be remembered by his performance against the highly effeminate and completely overrated David Beckham, which caused a half-time confrontation with allegations of Toda spitting in Beckhams face. The Real Madrid goon squad managed to take him out on a cheap shot in the second half. He rated a 5.86 in Weekly Soccer Digest.

Sanspo.com link via MASA-NET: http://sanspo.com/soccer/top/st200601/st2006010706.html

Vaya Con Dios, Toda! Another one bites the dust.

6 players gone, 1 added, what's next for TV69?

Kobayashis to Omiya?

Kind of a surprise.........more developing.


The Yoshiyuki Kobayashi to Omiya rumor was pretty widespread but I did not expect to hear Daigo Kobayashi mentioned with Omiya.........I could be reading this wrong and I'm not sure if they made an offer or if it's actually a done deal.

I'll try to have more tonight.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


El Jefe

This is a picture of TV69 leader and former Verdy legend Rui Ramos........he kinda gives off a David Koresh cult leader vibe.


More Rumors

Here's a couple of reinforcements......maybe.........for Ganggreen FC.

Arguably, the weakest position for Verdy this year was at keeper. Verdy is trying to steal away the backup to Nishibe at Shimizu. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Takaya Kurokawa. Kurokawa is a 24 year old keeper who has been in the Shimizu organization for 5 years. He played in 24 games in 2003 but was replaced by Nishibe, a former Urawa and Kashima product.

Kurokawa played in 5 league matches and 1 Nabisco Cup match, posting a record of 1 win 2 ties and 3 losses. He had a GAA of 1.50 . Considering his losses were against National team keepers Sogahata of Kashima, Doi of FC Tokyo and Narazaki of Nagoya Grampus 8 (along with a tie), I'd say his record isn't too bad. The other tie was a 3-3 affair against Gamba Osaka where he had to face 27 shots. Here is the article www.yomiuri.co.jp/hochi/soccer/jan/o20060104_70.htm (Sports Hochi via Masa-Net...........the king of posting news on J-League!)

A move that I'm less excited about is the possible pick up of Harutaka Ono, a 27 year old MF who has spent most of his career with fellow relegation victim Kashiwa Reysol. Ono played in 18 games this year, picking up a goal, 3 assists and a 5.87 rating in Weekly Soccer Digest. Maybe there was a connection with Ramos during the few months El Jefe was coaching at Kashiwa. It seems like Ono has dropped off in the past couple of years, floating around Kyoto, Nagoya, and Kashiwa. Maybe J2 would be the perfect place for him to regain some form and give a little boost to his career. Or maybe, this is a case of getting bodies on the field after the great exodus.

With the possible defections of the Kobayashis, Toda, and Yamada, Verdy's current lineup in the midfield would be career Verdian Kentaro Hayashi, journeyman Takashi Hirano, rarely used Masatomo Kuba, and youngster Jun Tamano, plus Verdy Youth reinforcements and others who didn't see action while on the senior team. Ono makes sense in this case. I'm just not real optomistic about him improving on last year's performance.

Here is the story www.sponichi.co.jp/soccer/news/2006/01/05/01.html (Sponichi Annex via Masa-net........both articles are in Japanese)

Seems like there's a new rumor everyday about TV69!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Comings, Goings, and Rumors

Well, more goings than comings.........Here are the official goners

Washington----off to Urawa
Gil---back to Brazil
Atsushi Yoneyama---Kawasaki Frontale
Tadamichi Machida---Kawasaki Frontale

and the official comers

Kazunori Iio---from Frontale
Yugo Ichiyanagi---a 20 year old defender from Sagan Tosu who played in 15 games and had a player rating of 5.69 in Soccer magazine Japan.

Here are the rumors-------goodbye :( ????? (all links in Japanese)

MF Yoshiyuki Kobayashi to Omiya Ardija (possibly a reunion with Naoto Sakurai?)
www.saitama-np.co.jp/news01/04/04a.htm (originally found on GO! GO! Omiya Ardija)

Wasn't an overwhelming force for Verdy last year and his upside is limited. Probably better suited as a role player on a J1 club.

MF Daigo Kobayashi to Kyoto Purple Sanga
http://osaka.nikkansports.com/osc/p-ot-tp3-060104-0015.html (originally found on Masa-net)

If this goes through, it's a killer. Daigo is a promising young MF who will only get better. He should have a good year if he's teamed up with Alemao and Paulinho but this would be a huge loss for Verdy

MF/DF Takahito Soma to Urawa Reds

This one was posted yesterday but another site http://reds.boy.jp/ra/index.html#itv also has posted that it's a done deal. What Urawa wants, Urawa gets. It's a killer.

And one more rumor, found this buried in the Soma story.........it looks like Ramos is going after a striker from Sao Caetano named Anailson. I can't find any info on the guy but here is the article

I'm also speculating that Toda and Yamada will leave the team for J1 squads pretty soon.....no info yet, just a feeling. I imagine that next years squad is going to be very, very young. I'm not so concerned about purging the veterans so much and it was expected that Washington wouldn't stay but the possible losses of Soma and Daigo are killers. Those are two talents you can build a team around.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Urawa's picking at the Vultures bones?

Wow, talk about gravedigging. New Emperor's cup champs and all around annoying team, THE URAWA REDS are now trying to pry away future star and team MVP Takahito Soma from the lads in green. As you already know, Urawa took Brazilian goal machine Washington away from Verdy and now they are hungry for young talent. (Rumor found on MASA-NET http://blog.goo.ne.jp/stammibene2003 link to original Japanese article can be found there)

Arguably it would be great for Soma, he's only 24 and playing with Hasebe, Tsuboi, and Santos would instantly get him some national recognition. It really stinks for TV69, however, the one relative strength that they have is their youth. Soma is a building block to the future and it would potentially cripple any hopes for promotion.

There's also a possibility of goal scoring prodigy Takayuki Morimoto getting some interest from a big club in Europe.........more on that when I get more confirmation. As of now it's just a rumor.

As of now, I don't think they have enough to compete with Ehime much less Vegalta Sendai or the powers in the ACL . the buzzards are circling and they aren't wearing green :( .

Pictures anyone?

Here is the flag of Verdy 1969 with the bird in the center