There is still the chance for someone to make a name for themselves in the Emperor’s Cup next week but I’ll give my grades for the squad from this season.
I’m using English grades (A-F) rather than the Japanese school system where it doesn’t seem possible to get lower than a C in most schools.
A = A top performer. The club really needs to keep the player and base the team around them next season.
B = Has played well throughout the year and made a big contribution to promotion.
C = Probably had a few good games and a few bad. OK for a youngster who can get better, not so good for a 30+ player with nowhere to go.
D = Someone who I don’t think had a good season. If they didn’t do that great in J2 then they probably shouldn’t be playing at J1.
E = We got promoted so no-one can have done that bad. Don’t think I’m likely to give anyone E or below; depends how much beer I drink while I’m writing these.
Kamiyama – B+ At the start of the season I got worried every time he went near the ball, but the only real howler he made was against Roasso. I’d still like to see him more dominant on crosses but made important saves in the middle of the season.
Rokutan – B- Definitely 2nd to Kamiyama, but didn’t let himself down when he played and a very good back-up keeper.
Nakajima – B Deserves a chance at J1 level, but is probably going to get caught out a lot by pace. Often starts Avispa attacks and showed good delivery on set pieces.
Tatsunori – B+ Great stamina, but I fear he may also struggle against top wingers. Won’t give up and played a big part in Avispa’s resurgence after a bad start to the season.
Daiki – B+ Was the best player at the start of the season, but became less influential as the season went on. A great Captain and will hopefully sign full time. Would work better with a taller centre-back partner.
Makoto – B+ Had some excellent games, but can’t do it every game. Excellent positioning and one on one tackling, but lacks a physical presence.
Miyaji – B- Wasn’t used much at the end of the season, but I thought he did well when he was needed at the start. Became more confident in going forward and never looked out of his depth.
Nagira – C- Didn’t get used much, and when he was he cramped up at the end of the game. Doesn’t look very mobile and was probably correctly released.
Ii Jong Lee – B- Having been brought in mid-season from Tochigi where he didn’t play a game I wasn’t expecting much but he was pretty good in the few games he got.
Hiraishi – C- He looked pretty good when he came on as a full-back who will get forward, but then wasn’t used and got released. Shinoda saw more of him in training but he didn’t really get a chance.
Nakamachi – A+ Definite player of the season, we would be mid-table without him. He scored goals and went the whole season only giving the ball away a handful of times. If we hadn’t gone up this season I don’t know if we could have kept him. Narrowly missed out on J2 player of the year to Leandro Dominguez.
Sueyoshi – A- J2 rookie of the year. By the mid point of the season he was one of the most important players of the team. Did well, but needs to realise he isn’t the finished player and must keep developing. Might not find next season as easy and mustn’t lose confidence.
Kudo – B Made the right decision to play another season, but also made the right decision in retiring before J1. Gave 60 minutes of work in every game, and has excellent delivery but we will need more spark if we keep the 4231 next season.
Genki – A For the most part he was excellent, and looked like the only player capable of scoring in many games. He scored a lot of goals and will hopefully keep doing it next year. Can sometimes drift out of games, and I’d like to see him turning his man in the channel more often.
Suzuki Jun – B+ Avispa’s most creative player, he wasn’t used as much as I think he should have been. Isn’t really dynamic, but if played as a support striker he has the left foot to make things happen and is willing to fight even if his tackling is a little late.
Abe Shu – C+ Didn’t get many chances after Sueyoshi slotted in so well, but did alright when he did play. J2 quality, and will make a good player for somebody at this level. Should trust his ability and look for a pass forward more.
Yusuke – B makes things happen when he is on the pitch, but I don’t know if he will ever be able to do it for a whole game let alone a whole season. His speed is also a hindrance of sorts as his hamstrings seem very fragile.
Jumbo – D It’s difficult to be too hard on Jumbo after the end of the season, but it was sadly correct that he should be released as he wasn’t good enough for most of the season. Low in confidence, terrible first touch, and didn’t seem able to time headers.
Jogo – C Scored the goals in the middle of the season which led to promotion so again difficult to grade low, but he goes absent for so long in games. Seems only able to score from ‘perfect’ positions rather than always making the keeper work.
Yutaka – C Probably owes his contract to the wonder free-kick he scored against Verdy. A good finisher from in the box, and tries hard, but not top division quality.
Hideya – B His versatility makes him a great squad player, but not the answer in attack at the moment. Showed some good skill at times and may play himself into a starting position if he continues improving.
Oyama – C- I only saw him once but he looked full of energy and movement but never got a chance. Again, Shinoda saw him more often than me and released him, but i don’t think he got much of a chance to impress.