Maya Yoshida - Player Profile
Maya Yoshida - Player Profile
What do we know about Maya Yoshida?
Maya Yoshida was born in Nagasaki, Japan in August 1988. He has played for three different clubs in three different countries during his career.
- Nagoya Grampus (Japan)
- VVV-Venlo (Holland)
- Southampton (England)
Maya Yoshida moved to Southampton in August 2012. "To come to the Premier League has been one of my biggest dreams since I was a child," Yoshida said. "I am very grateful to be able to become a Saint.” He scored his first goal for the club against Sunderland, in November 2013.
What is Yoshida's style of play?
Yoshida is 1m89 tall – a good height for a central defender. But at the beginning of his career, for Nagoya Grampus, he played in midfield. When he was promoted to the first team in 2007, he moved to centre-back. The Southampton manager who signed him, Nigel Adkins, said: “Maya has a good physical presence.” But Yoshida does not depend only on his physique and is a very versatile player. Adkins also said: "He is comfortable on both the right- and left-hand side as he is good with both feet.” For that reason, Yoshida has also played at left and right back.
What do we know about the Japanese national team?
Japan went to the World Cup for the first time in 1998, and have qualified for every World Cup since then, including the 2002 World Cup that was organised by Japan and South Korea. The first time they played in the Asian Cup was in 1988, but they have won it a record four times, the last in 2011. Japan won the bronze medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Maya Yoshida has played over 30 times for the Japanese national team.
In Brazil, at the 2014 World Cup, Japan played Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast in their group. Unfortunately they didn't win a game.
How popular is football in Japan?
The incredible popularity of football in Japan began in 1993, when the Japan Professional Football League (The J-League) was formed. It was a fully professional league that attracted foreign players (for example Zico of Brazil, Gary Lineker of England and Salvatore Schillaci of Italy), and many more spectators than the old Japan Soccer League. Japanese football can now present excellent marketing opportunities. Maya Yoshida is on the cover of the FIFA 14 video game with Lionel Messi! "Hopefully it will encourage fans at home to pick up the controller and play as Saints!" Yoshida says.
Which other Japanese players have played in the Premier League?
Maya Yoshida is not the first Japanese player in the Premier League. The first was Junichi Inamoto, who was signed by Arsene Wenger, for Arsenal in 2000. Inamoto went on to play for Fulham, West Brom and Cardiff City. Other famous Japanese players to have played in the Premier League include:
- Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton Wanderers)
- Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal)
- Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)
Shinji Kagawa became the first Japanese player to win the Premier League title in 2012/13.
What do we know about Southampton FC?
Southampton FC began in 1885 as a church football team, which is why their nickname is ‘The Saints’. Their best position in the top division was in 1983-84 when they finished second. As a second division team, they won the FA Cup in 1976 in a famous final against Manchester United (1-0). Southampton is a city on the south coast of England.
What did you understand?
Can you put the words in the correct order?
Did you know......?
- Maya Yoshida is a centre-back, but wears the number 3 at Southampton, the number traditionally worn by a left back.
- Yoshida’s favourite food in England is apple pie and custard.
- Football in Japan is often called ‘sakkā’, a word which comes from the English ‘soccer’.
- The symbol of the Japan Football Association is a mythical bird with three legs called the ‘Yatagarasu’.
- The nickname of the Japan national team is ‘Samurai Blue’, or a combination of the name of the coach and the name of the country, e.g. ‘Zaccheroni Japan’, or ‘Zac Japan’ (The Japanese coach is Italian: Alberto Zaccheroni).
What do you think?
Leave a message in the comments section below and tell us your opinion :)