Song of the day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBo4wZmH0UQ&feature=related Adieu Lux Interior......Rest in Peace!
First off.........Osama El Samni heads to FK Teplice in Czechoslovakia. In 2 years he couldn't crack the starting lineup.......that might have had something to do with Hashiratani and Takagi being player gatekeepers. Anyhow, the Egyptian-Japanese striker has a chance to make his mark in Europe......good luck!
Meet the Keepers
1. Yoichi Doi- The 35 year old keeper comes back to Verdy for a cut rate price after shockingly being told that his services were no longer necessary just days before the final game of the season. The former FC Tokyo stalwart and National Team keeper has lost a step but can conjure up classic performances between the pipes. With the athleticism gone, Doi now relies on good instincts and precise distribution to succeed. After 14 years of J1 play for Kashiwa, FC Tokyo, and Verdy, this will be Doi's first stint in J2. (2nd year with Verdy)
21. Yoshinari Takagi- The longest tenured consecutive Verdy player, Takagi comes into 2009 as a backup to Doi yet again. After 5 years of starting, Takagi found himself watching, only appearing in 3 cup games in 2008. Takagi has always had the talent and physical skills to be a decent J1 keeper but his iffy decision making and lapses in judgement at crucial times leaves coaches leery of completely putting their faith in the big man. (10th year with Verdy)
26. Takahiro Shibasaki- The first man in the net........if you have a training match with Arte Takasaki. Shibasaki starts year 9 as a professional keeper. He has appeared in 3 league matches and 1 cup game in stints with Verdy, Yokohama, and FC Tokyo. With 51 games this year, he might see a match or two.
34. Tomoyuki Suzuki- Suzuki starts his second year as the 4th keeper for Verdy and the presumed keeper of the future. Last year he apprenticed under the professional Doi.
Meet the Defenders
2. Kensuke Fukuda- The pressure is on young Fukuda in year 3 to show he can be a full-time side back. Fukuda has good speed and a nice cross but often misses on defensive assignments and can be overpowered in one on one situtations. Fukuda was unable to unseat (current JEF defender) Takumi Wada from the starting lineup in 2008. Now with the right side vacant, Fukuda heads into camp as the frontrunner for the job.
4. Masaki Iida- The big defender starts year 3 of his Verdy adventure. Wada saw some time in the lineup last year after toiling as a practice sqaud player in 2007. Iida is a good physical presence and will challenge for the starting spot at center back.
14. Seitaro Tomisawa- Tomisawa starts his 8th year with Verdy and is known for doing everything.......poorly. Tomisawa is a big, physical player who can play central defense, midfield, or side back and has the infuriating habit of following a good play with an awful decision. He probably will get the nod in Daisuke Nasu's spot at centerback.
17. Yukio Tsuchiya- Tsuchiya is a man who plays far bigger than his size. Tsuchiya had one of the few great years for Verdy but the wear and tear of the season seemed to slow him near the end. An unfortunate incident with Tatsuya Tanaka while at Kashiwa made him public enemy #1 with the Urawa crowd and drove him from Omiya to anchor Verdy. Tsuchiya will be 35 in July so it will be seen if he can keep up his physical, athletic style for much longer.
20. Kazuya Iwakura- Iwakura rejoins his former manager at Yokohama FC after a one year stint at New Wave KitaKyushu. Iwakura was brought in to compete with Fukuda at the right back position and provide some depth for the squad.
22. Toshihiro Hattori- Hattori comes back to captain the squad after a painful and well detailed break from the team a week before the end of the 2008 season. The longtime Jubilo and National team wing lines up on the left for the third year in a row after taking a huge paycut. Hattori will hit 36 this year, which is old but not uncommon for J2 defenders. Seemed to lose a step last year and relied more on physical play and theatrics when he was beaten. Good locker room presence.
24. Masahiro Nasukawa- Nasukawa's main job this year is to learn everything he can from Hattori and be ready to fill in on the left if he has to. Nasukawa is a highly rated prospect from the Aomori Yamada program and Chukyo University.
29. Takumi Wada- Wada was a starting member of the Verdy youth system that made two semi-final and one quarterfinal appearances in the three major club youth competitions in 2008. Wada is a speedy right back who should see most of his time in practice matches and training.