The squad list and numbers for the upcoming season have been announced.
On the whole it looks like a better squad than at the start of last year, although not by a lot.
There are more attacking options than the fairly obvious Jumbo route from the start of last year, but the defence is potentially a bit weaker with Nakaji gone and the unknown quantity of the young Korean to replace him.
#1 Ryuichi Kamiyama – Will make 4-5 horrible mistakes during the season, but displays excellence at shot-stopping and improvement in coming out for crosses.
#2 Kim Min Je – Unknown quantity. Korea have been making some good full-backs recently so he might be really good, but impossible to tell at the moment.
#3 Tatsunori Yamagata – One of the players of last season after he came back into the team, but will be tested far more defensively next year. May struggle unfortunately.
#4 Takumi Wada – Didn’t stand out for a JEF team which failed to get promotion. Wearing 4 but playing at centre back, and even shorter than what we had before. Probably starting from the bench as backup.
#5 Makoto Tanaka – Some great games last year, but also out-foxed by some quite average J2 strikers at times. How many more years can he go on for? I think this could be his last and hope it doesn’t end badly.
#6 Daiki Niwa – Returning on loan again for the 3rd season, not sure what the advantage of him still being contracted to Osaka is. Will presumably be Captain again and needs to show his early season form.
#7 Kosuke Nakamachi – Whether we stay up or not will depend a lot on him. Player of the season last year he won’t score as many goals from set pieces this year and shouldn’t be expected to. Needs to step up, but may well move on to a bigger club next season if he does.
#8 Jun Suzuki – The most creative player at the club, he doesn’t get as many games as I would like presumably because of defensive deficiencies. His left foot is the single best thing at Avispa.
#9 Yutaka Takahashi – Did less than Jumbo last season, and probably owes his contract to that free-kick against Verdy. Dangerous in the box, but not good enough for J1 elsewhere in the pitch.
#10 Hisashi Jogo – I really want him to pull it off, but I fear he may get found out at J1 level. A scorer of great goals, but not a great scorer of goals he plays well instinctively, but not so well when he has time to think.
#11 Yusuke Tanaka – Could be the big thing this year. Pace will always cause problems and Yusuke has spades of it. His season will depend on his ability to stay fit.
#12 Supporter number
#13 Shogo Kobara – Inheriting Nagira’s #13 shirt he will probably also inherit his role of rarely used central defender. Emperors Cup candidate.
#14 Takuya Matsuura – Exactly the player we needed. Someone with pace and tricks, and able to shoot from outside the box. The most exciting of our transfers this season for me.
#15 Lee Jong Min – Did pretty well in his few games last season, but if he was only good enough to be rarely used at J2 level I don’t know how effective he will be in J1.
#16 Hideya Okamoto – Will end up being a versatile midfield/striker option on the bench again. Has looked good in spells, but never often enough to merit a starting spot and things just got harder with Matsuura, Naraoka, and Shigematsu joining.
#17 Kazuki Yamaguchi – Didn’t really play at all last season, unlikely to again I don’t know why he was offered a new deal unless he has low wages. Possibly saved by his hair-cut.
#18 Masato Yoshihara – The new Jumbo? His development was halted by injury last year when he had looked very good. Hopefully is fit again now and can start getting some game time to see if he can make the grade.
#19 Sho Naruoka – I’m expecting some good things from him, and he will be expecting to start. Will possibly be starting the season in the secondary striker role and could keep us up if he plays well.
#20 Yosuke Miyaji – Looked a good young player who could play across defence at the start of last year, but then didn’t get a game in the 2nd half of the season. Will be released next year if the same happens.
#21 Norihisa Shimizu – The player with most recent experience of J1 he is unlikely to last every minute of every game of the season, but could be an inspired transfer if he regains some energy with a change of club.
#22 Toshiya Sueyoshi – J2 Rookie of the Year last season he needs to keep his feet on the floor and keep progressing. A long way from the finished article, he might find the step up to J1 difficult and needs to learn from Shimizu.
#23 Yuji Rokutan – Few clubs can have as reliable a back-up keeper. He must be ready to want to play as first choice, and may look to go elsewhere if opportunities don’t come his way.
#24 Kentaro Shigematsu – Highly rated by FC Tokyo fans he could force his way into the first team. A bit of an unknown quantity.
#25 Eita Kasagawa – Never seen him play, and with 2 good keepers in front of him I’m unlikely to do so this season either.
#26 Son Jyon Ryun – Looked to be the best of the youngsters last season and I expect him to get more time this year. Could end up fighting for a start by the end of the season.
#27 Tokio Hatamoto – Academy player, I know nothing about him.
#28 Taku Ushinohama – Another academy guy, won’t get any games.