Archive for January 2012

vs. Fukuoka University (training match)   Leave a comment

The time of year has come when the players have finished their holidays and are back into pre-season training. This is usually quite a lot of fitness work, but there are also some training matches, especially important with a new team having been built and needing to get to know how their team-mates play.

The first training match was against Fukuoka University, who will have also lost players since last year, but are not a bad team and perhaps won’t have expected to have been beaten 5-0 across 3 45-minute periods.

All of the Fukuoka players will have been trying pretty hard I guess as they have a new coach to impress, and lots of new team-mates to compete against for a first team spot.
Very few players can consider themselves automatic selections for the first game and will need to be showing something in the coming weeks.

Period 1
The team lined up with a mixture of youth and experience, old players and new players. This seems to be the way in these training matches rather than play a straight first team and second team.

Perhaps the best thing for me is that they seem to be adopting a simpler 442 formation.


Jogo got an early goal to start the season, which appears to have been scored from a loose ball after sustained pressure.

Period 2
The second period started with much the same line-up as the first, but with Jogo and Ishizu switching. I’d like to see Jogo in more of a midfield role, and I’m sure striker suits Ishizu better. Eita replaced Kawata in goal.

Midway through this ‘half’ the team had wholescale changes to introduce a new line-up.


It also saw the return of the more familar 4231 formation, but playing with some strikers it seemed to work with a goal being scored quickly after the changes as Sakata got his first goal in an Avispa shirt.

Seeing Miyaji in midfield is a new one, and maybe indicates some lack of depth we have in that position, but he might be able to do well there as I also think Kobara could.

Period 3
The final period was much like the end of period 2, with the only notable changes being that Kamiyama came on as goal-keeper and Captain, and Hatamoto came back on to give Koga’s legs a bit of a rest.

Settling into the formation, and with some of the most experienced strikers on the pitch they scored 3 quicks goals as Sakata got a second, and Yutaka helped himself to 2 as well.

5-0 against one of the strongest University clubs in the country is a pretty good result, even more so with a bunch of players playing together for the first time.
Nearly everyone in the squad got a bit of time on the pitch with only Kim Min Je, Takumi Wada and Go Nishida not getting a game with what I assume are injuries.

Posted January 30, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

Squad Numbers   Leave a comment

Along with the new shirts being announced (see below) the club has also announced the squad numbers for the new season to put on the back of your shirt.

As usual it is impossible to tell too much from shirt numbers, but there are a few interesting points.

1. Ryuichi Kamiyama
2. Kim Min Jae
3. Ryu Okada
4. Takumi Wada
5. Masahiro Koga
6. Kazuki Yamaguchi
7. Toshiya Sueyoshi
8. Suzuki Jun
10. Hisashi Jogo
11. Yutaka Takahashi
12. Supporter
13. Shogo Kobara
14. Masakazu Kihara
15. Daisuke Sakata
16. Daisuke Ishizu
17. O Chang Hyon
18. Go Nishida
19. Sho Naruoka
20. Yosuke Miyaji
21. Hiroyuki Omata
23. Kohei Kawata
24. Masato Yoshihara
25. Eita Kasagawa
26. Son Jeon Ryun
27. Tokio Hatamoto
28. Taku Ushinohama
29. Shunsuke Tsutsumi

The first thing I would say is that it is a big, deep squad. The numbers might be similar to previous years, but this year I can see that all the players might be thinking they are close to getting on the pitch whereas in previous years there were always 4-5 players who you could see were youngsters or reserves.

In defence it is no surprise that Koga gets 5, but seeing Kazuki in 6 (for his 3rd different number in 3 years) is quite surprising. He might be getting the nod for being at the club longest rather than first team choice.
Ryu Okada looks to be starting the season as right back, and I hope Kim starts as first choice after keeping 2.

I’d have thought Sueyoshi would keep 22 as something of a trademark, but he seems to have been tempted by 7 which appears an odd choice. Getting 4 from Takumi Wada was unlikely to happen as owner of that shirt but in terms of players position would seem to make a lot more sense. 22 has been left empty, almost like people know that it has been strongly associated with Sueyoshi for a couple of years.

The oddest thing for me is the decision to not have a number 9. As one of the most prestigious shirts there must have been a few players who wanted it, and last year’s recipient Yutaka has relinquished it to leave it empty. I don’t think it means we have some big name Brazilian turning up as I have heard people guess, rather we have so many strikers on the books with no immediately obvious first choice that it was left empty to show all of them they have equal chance.
Naruoka keeps 19 unsurprisingly, while my choice for main man Daisuke Sakata gets 15. Nishida, Ishizu and Yoshihara get general squad numbers and should be playing up pre-season to be aiming for a place on the bench.

Posted January 19, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

New Uniforms   Leave a comment

The new strip for 2012 was released this week, and it looks like it could be really nice.

As a 2nd year strip it seems SVOLME haven’t been quite so eager to get their logo on every possible angle, and a more classic, Serie-A style wide stripe design has been adopted.

There is an obvious parallel to Inter Milan (albeit perpendicular stripes) but perhaps the best part is the rumour that we may have no shirt front sponsor.
There are obvious negative aspects about this financially, but the strip will look better and hopefully get some record shirt sales as people want a shirt with no advert on the front.
There will be a Fukuya store advert on the left sleeve, and as far as I can tell the newspaper will still advertise on the shoulders.

It is a little alarming that they don’t have a made version to show yet, and there were some complaints about the quality of the fabric compared to previous Mizuno shirts which I will need to wait until the shirt is made before I know if this has been improved.

Posted January 19, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

2 more players arrive!   Leave a comment

With Shigematsu leaving I thought that our squad was looking pretty much complete and wasn’t expecting any more arrivals when 2 more were announced.

One of these may well turn out to be the most important signing of the Summer as one time National Team player Daisuke Sakata comes to the club.

Daisuke Sakata
Having played with no striker for striker for a lot of last season we now have a few who I would have really liked in J1, including probably the best of the bunch Daisuke Sakata.
After playing in the J-League with Yokohama Marinos for 10 years he headed to Europe for a spell at Aris Thessalonika in the Greek top division where he also experienced the Europa League.
During his time at Yokohama he was also called up for the Japanese National Team where he managed to get a single cap in a performance lasting 4 minutes. He had previously been in the U-20 team which made the last 8 of the World Cup with him scoring 4 to be awarded the Silver shoe top scorers award.

I’m not entirely sure why at 28 years old, in what should probably be his peak years, he is now coming to Avispa in the second division, but I’m very pleased that he is.

He is a short, agile striker who can shoot well with both feet. He has played on the wing in an attacking 3 before, but with his proven talent I hope we play him through the middle and ask him to get into the box as much as he can.
I had been optimistic about promotion after our recent signings, With Sakata I think we should probably be close to favorites for going up as Champions.
Comments when joining…”Last year I had different experiences in Greece and Tokyo, this year I want a year of victory. The goal in Fukuoka is to return to J1 in 1 year, competing as a team. I can score goals and force the team. Thanks for your support.”

Shunsuke Tsutsumi

I what must be our final addition to the squad for next season (we now have a bigger and better squad than last year) we have another defender, and another left-sided defender in Shunsuke Tsutsumi from Urawa Reds.
Listed as someone who plays as left-back and centre-back It looks like we now have 5 players who have experience of playing at left-back in the squad.

Tsutsumi has experience of J2 having played at Tochigi SC last season on loan, and at Kumamoto the season before that where presumably he has impressed someone enough to add him to the list of players at the squad for 2012.

He has played for Japan at U18 and U19 level, but then like so many young Japanese defenders didn’t push on and secure a regular starting opsition at his J1 club. He wasn’t helped by a serious injury when he damaged his cruciate ligament a couple of years ago.
At 24 he needs to start playing regularly, but with so many defenders in a similar position at Avispa a few of them are going to be disappointed.

Posted January 11, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Shigematsu back to Tokyo.   Leave a comment

It has taken quite a long time but today there was the confirmation that Shigematsu has returned to FC Tokyo.

Not sure why it took so long to be announced as it must have always been fairly clear-cut that he probably wasn’t going to spend time in J2 after having scored goals in J1 as a teenager and generally looked pretty good when he has played.

Kentaro Shigematsu

I think that Shigematsu may well have a decent career ahead of him after coming to the club on loan and having the confidence as a teenager to run with the ball and hustle more illustrious players as a hard-working forward.

He was willing to play on the wing as well as up front, and displayed a willingness to shoot from almost anywhere. Sometimes he chose the wrong options in his desire to get shots on goal, but he also scored some good goals.
His best attribute is his energy and willingness to chase down defenders and force mistakes. His pace means he comes at players early and was often the best defender for Avispa by limiting the time on the ball for the opposing team and causing passes to go astray.
I think there was a point during the season when despite being bottom of the table by a long way all of the points which we did have had been won during the times when Shigematsu was playing.

FC Tokyo should continue giving him substitute appearances, and encourage him to play off the shoulders of defenders when his team are in possession of the ball

Posted January 11, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Nearly all players decided.   Leave a comment

As soon as the big stumbling blocks of Rokutan and Nakamachi were dealt with it was quickly announced about the rest of the squad had re-signed for another season at the club.
I’m quite surprised that all of them have signed up, which means that with the exception of Tatsunori at the start of the window all the players from last year have clubs sorted out (or are retired in the case of Makoto). It means that Avispa now have quite a big squad, but it would be nice if a couple of young players could be brought through the U-18 team of University.

Kim Min Je
The best news for me from this window so far is that Kim Min Je will be at the club again next year. I had pretty much given up on him being with us, and as my Player of the Season from last year I’m very happy about it.

His defending is a bit suspect, but that is bound to happen with someone who pushes forward as much as him and at 21 he is still a very young player and will get better with a season of J2.
Hopefully our new manager will be able to see how good he could be and give him the games as first choice left-back.
I think playing at left wing is definitely worth a consideration as the best crosser of the ball at the club, and pace to spare.

Takumi Wada
Someone I am less happy to see signed for another season is Takumi Wada. I don’t think he is a bad player, and had a couple of games last year when he was among our best players, but it is competition at left-back where we already have a few players.
He has received the reputation of the Angel of Death after getting relegated with Tokyo Verdy, Yokohama FC, JEF United and Avispa Fukuoka in his career (4 of the last 5 years!) but I think that shows a guy who is willing to play in a battle as he could have spent his career coasting at J2 clubs rather than fighting against relegation at the bottom of J2.
He does try to get forward from left-back, but without the quality of Kim, and is generally considered to be defensively stronger although he had a couple of terrible moments last year when he allowed balls to bounce in the box or players to get in front of him.
A very useful squad player, but if he starts ahead of Kim I’ll be annoyed.

Jun Suzuki
I would have been very surprised if Suzuki Jun had left after a season when he got 30 games of J1 football, and a likely spot as first team central midfielder this year. A year in J2 now will show if he has what it takes to be a quality midfielder; if he does very well it could give him the confidence to push on, if he struggles against second division players his early promise will probably not materialise.
He wasn’t as good in attack as I had hoped he might last season, but he looked much better than I was expecting in a defensive midfielder role. Previously I’d thought he should play on the left of the attacking 3, now I think he is a harder tackler than Sueyoshi and should concentrate on being a defensive midfielder spreading long balls forward from a quarterback role. This will also help with is lack of dynamism.
Loves AKB48.

Yutaka Takahashi
Another player I didn’t really want to re-sign, but not because I think he is a bad player is Yutaka. Again I think he is a decent player, and could be very good at J2 level as he links play well and has a great shot, but we have some really good young strikers who have to be given more of a chance. A 31 year old striker who has had chances at J1 & J2 level when he was closer to his peak, and didn’t score lots of goals isn’t a very forward thinking strategy for success.
Hopefully he is very good on the training ground (and he seems a very nice guy so it is a possibility) and will help the development of Masato, Nishida, Ushinohama etc. but not be taking their spot in the team or on the bench.

Shogo Kobara
Glad that he is signed for another season as he did pretty well last year, and seems like an intelligent defender, but he might find that competition for places is harder next year than it was in J1.
I think that our defence will actually be better next year, but should see Kobara starting as first choice alongside Koga and should be one of the better central defensive pairs in the division.

I’ve always thought that he could be used as a defensive midfielder if need be, but it looks like we have enough options now that that shouldn’t be necessary.

Yosuke Miyaji
A useful player to have as a versatile back-up defender, but unlikely to ever be someone of a high standard.

I guess that he is quite a cheap player to have on the books, and maybe he will get quite a bit better with a few more games under his belt, but should be considered a squad defender at best.
He has a decent long throw which is always quite useful, and will definitely be good enough for games against 2/3rds of the division.

That leaves the only player I haven7t heard anything about being Kentaro Shigematsu. I would have thought it was totally obvious that he was going back to FC Tokyo and will continue getting games from the bench in J1, but unless I have missed it I haven’t heard official confirmation of that as there was with Matsuura and Daiki.

Possible first team from the squad….


Kim Min Je………….Jogo…………….Naruoka…


Okada…….Omata…..Koga……O Chan Hyon




Posted January 11, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Nakamachi and Rokutan leave.   Leave a comment

It comes as no big surprise that Nakamachi and Rokutan have both left the club today, and it wasn’t a very well guarded secret that both have signed for Yokohama F Marinos.
I think that their time to leave the club had probably arrived as despite putting in good performances at the club during their time they didn’t finish the season well and will probably both benefit from a fresh start.

Kosuke Nakamachi

Arrived at Avispa in 2010 as a player returning to football after 2 years out of professional football at Keio University. The break seemed to have done him some good as he had an incredible season in our promotion year being the best player at the club and scoring 10 goals while running the midfield.
It was no big surprise that he came runner up as J2 Player of the Season (2nd to Leandro Dominguez) and was duly installed as Captain of the club for our return to J1.

While Leandro Dominguez continued to be a standout player, things didn’t go so well for Nakamachi as the 2 man Avispa midfield got regularly outclassed, and then he got injured a third of the way through the season.
He never looked that comfortable in J1, and the goals which marked his time in J2 (especially those with his head, as he is a good header of the ball for his relatively small height) dried up.

He could turn out to be a good player for Yokohama F Marinos as he will have better players around him in the midfield which may take some pressure off him. He doesn’t seem to cope when things aren’t going well, something which dropping out of the game from Shonan Bellmare to go to University might indicate.
Got married to karate-ka Miki Waterhouse during his time at Avispa.

I hope he does OK at Yokohama and can start enjoying the game again as he didn’t look to be having much fun towards the end of the season when he was on the bench more often than not and not looking like the player he did in 2010. A season back in J2 as the best player on the pitch might have been exactly what he needed.

Yuji Rokutan

As soon as Kamiyama signed a new contract it was apparent that Rokutan would probably be leaving. Having two goal-keepers of very similar standard and age isn’t very good for either of them as a goal-keeper needs to know he is safe in the team (or back-up), rather than playing with the knowledge that all his mistakes may end up costing him his position.

Rokutan came in for Kamiyama mid-season after some terrible mistakes and actually improved the team a bit. He doesn’t have the pure shot-stopping skill of Kamiyama, but is quite a bit more consistent.
I hope he isn’t going to Yokohama thinking he might be able to get into their first team as he is nowhere near good enough for that, but should be able to be at a high achieving club and be a safe substitute keeper and be happy in that role.

My slight concern is that as with most goal-keepers he has quite a hot temperament and might genuinely think he should be more than a bench player. This temperament showed itself at the end of a game last season when he had to be held back from the crowd after a game when someone shouted at him to start saving some shots.

He has no particular key strength, but also has no obvious weaknesses and could be relied upon to sit on the bench for 34 games next season and not let anyone down if he had to come on for 15 minutes if the first choice goal-keeper gets himself sent off.
If the first choice goalkeeper snaps his cruciate ligament on the first game of the season and Rokutan plays all year I’d forget about the title for another season.

Posted January 10, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Incoming defenders   2 comments

Having brought in quite a few attacking players the defence was the area which looked in most need of reinforcements after recent transfer activity.
This has been partly addressed with the arrival of three defenders from the fringes of J1 squads.

The players who are on Avispa’s books but are yet to be confirmed as re-signed are Rokutan, Takumi Wada, Shogo Kobara, Kim Min Je, Suzuki Jun, Kosuke Nakamachi, Yutaka Takahashi, and Kosuke Shigematsu.
Of these I expect Kobara and Suzuki to re-sign, and really hope that Kim does.

Ryu Okada
I don’t know if there is some connection between the owners of Avispa and Jubilo but we have signed another player from them, this time on loan, as left-back Okada comes to Fukuoka.

Joining Jubilo from University he has only played 31 games in 5 years which means that at age 27 he is in need of some experience on the pitch and will follow the route of Matsuura in heading to Fukuoka to get it.
Playing at left-back I am concerned that this means that Kim Min Je may well be leaving the club, or wouldn’t be an immediate choice for left-back if he does stay. It is rumoured he has to return to Korea for military service so this may be happening.

Okada seems to be a battler type full-back (or midfielder) being likened to Gattuso in style. If he can put in some big tackles in front of the Ultras next season he will become popular very quickly.

Joining comments…”I’m Okada Ryu from Jubilo Iwata. I want to become familiar with Fukuoka as quickly as possible to play to my best. I will strive to be a driving force towards promotion to J1. Thank-you very much to everyone in Fukuoka for today.”

Masahiro Koga
In what could turn out to be our most important signing of the year we have signed another defender from Jubilo in Masahiro Koga.

As a tall, experienced central defender it is exactly what we need, and just need to hope that at 33 years old he still has a couple of years in him to fill the gap left by Makoto Tanaka.

Having played for 15 years at J1 level this will be his first drop into the second division and hopefully he will have the quality to mean he can be back in J1 next year.

A Fukuoka native he left Higashi Fukuoka High School 15 years ago to go to Nagoya, and can see this as something of a home-coming.
He is a hard-tackling stopper type defender.

Joining comments…”I am excited that after 15 years I am able to play soccer in Fukuoka again after High School. I want to be recognised as part of Avispa Fukuoka as soon as possible.”

Hiroyuki Omata
It isn’t just Jubilo Iwata we can sign players from, and to prove it here is one from Cerezo Osaka.

Again a player who hasn’t had a lot of time on the pitch, but will have trained with J1 standard players and wil hopefully know what it takes to be successful at that level.

After being a promising youngster who got recognised at U-18, U-19 and U-20 levels he lost his way a bit and bounced between clubs in J1 and J2 performing well enough at Bellmare to be picked up by Cerezo as the got promotion, but then see his opportunities limited.

Will hopefully come with something to prove, but seems to also play in a left-back role although he is quite tall so may be able to play in the middle.
At 28 years old and with less than 100 games played at professional level I’d hope he still had a lot of running in him, and can hopefully enjoy his football in Fukuoka and get enthusiasm for the game after a long career on the bench.

Joining comments…”having talked it is now time to join Avispa Fukuoka. I will try my best to become a force to return to J1. Thank you for your support.”

Possible line-up from signed players (starting to look pretty good!)




..Okada…….Omata…..Koga……O Chan Hyon

…………………..Kamiyama………………….(edited Re: Steve’s comment on Kihara below)



Posted January 6, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Joining the club.   Leave a comment

As some players leave, others come in to fill their place.

There is a rumour that the new manager is trying to fill the squad with players originally from Kyushu, and while this might be a happy coincidence it also isn’t a bad idea.
There are plenty of J1 players who are originally from Kyushu, but now ply their trade away from the island. Who wouldn’t want to come home?

Go Nishida
Originally coming from Kagoshima I guess that the manager has some prior knowledge of the player, and sees him as someone who will be able to score goals at this level.
He is a fairly well-rounded striker, and one who has managed to impress people without ever scoring a huge number of goals (career average of about 1 in 8 games).
Probably very happy to escape from Yokohama FC who have just finished what was probably their worst season since re-forming. A quick, finisher type striker who can use his head and will be looking to fill the furthest forward role.
The club is starting to have options in the forward positions and there is likely to be some competition for the central forward position come March.
Joining comments… “I am delighted to transfer to a great club. I want to work, and to maximize the team’s power and chances to win. Coming from Kyushu myself I have a warm feeling to be here, thanks for your support.”

Masakazu Kihara
Arriving as something of an unknown quantity is Masakazu Kihara from Omiya Ardija. Having only played once in his 2 seasons at Omiya I can’t find out much about him, but a similar thing could have been said about Matsuura last year.
The similarities with Matsuura don’t end there as Kiharu is an even shorter player at 164cm and can play anywhere across the front, although I suspect he will be utilised on the wing.
Relying on very fast pace I hope that we will finally see a winger who can hit the corners and make some more space in the middle.
He played for Japan at University level, getting a Bronze medal in the Universidade in Serbia, but has been troubled with injuries since then.
Joining comments… “Pleased to meet you everyone. I am Kihara from Omiya Ardija. I hope to use my speed to contribute to the team’s victory as we push for promotion to J1. Thanks for your support Avispa Fukuoka fans.”

Kouhei Kawata
Returning to Fukuoka after playing for the University team here is Kouhei Kawata on a season long loan from Gamba Osaka.
After 2 years at Gamba Osaka he is yet to play a game, and will be looking to compete with Kamiyama for the starting position at goal-keeper.
I expect Kamiyama to start the season in goal, but if he makes mistakes like last year will quickly be dropped. With 3 goal-keepers now signed for the season it almost certainly means that Rokutan won’t be at the club next season (with Yokohama rumoured as a possible destination).
It is listed as a loan move until 2013, so Gamba would seem to rate him quite highly, using a spell in Avispa a chance for him to get playing experience.
As with Kihara he represented Japan at University level, possibly in the same team as they are of a similar age.
Originally from Kyushu it sticks to the other players who have been brought back closer to their home towns.

Possible line-up from comfirmed players…




……Son…….Yamaguchi…..Hatamoto……O Chan Hyon




Posted January 5, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Staying for J2   Leave a comment

With all those players deciding their future was away from Level-5 Stadium it was good to see some who have signed up for another year.

Ryuichi Kamiyama
I like Kamiyama and am glad that he has signed for another year, but he does have some serious deficiencies which were painfully highlighted in the middle of last season when he became a bit of a laughing stock.
He didn’t hide and came back into the team when he got his chance and played much better.
Excellent at shot-stopping, he is prone to making terrible mistakes and can be a little weak at crosses. Our goal-keeping coach has just left to go to Tochigi; if we can get a decent guy to come in and sort out his problems then Kamiyama can be a good keeper.
It probably means that Rokutan is gone. Of the two I would prefer to keep Kamiyama.

Toshiya Sueyoshi
I’m glad that Sueyoshi is staying for at least another year as I think he has the chance to be a very good player for the club at J2 level, which will help him develop as a player more in the long run.
There were times in J1 when he looked a little behind the pace, and a year in the lower division should see him regain some confidence and get back to his Rookie of the Year standards.
He needs to decide where he sees himself as a player. I’ve always considered him a defensive midfielder, but he needs to tackle a lot more to fulfil this role. His long passing is good enough to play in a style of someone like Dunga, but he must become more solid if that is where he sees himself. To fulfil any other midfield role he needs to start being a lot more dynamic.

Sho Naruoka
The biggest disappointment of last year was seeing a guy who seemed to have top-flight pedigree come in, and then stay on the periphery of the squad rather than having the team built around him.
Naruoka has undoubted quality, but he needs to work alongside the limitations of his team-mates and not try to be playing fancy short passing moves if no-one else can.
Asks a very big question of where he is going to be played. Finished last season on the right, but is better more centrally. Not solid enough for the midfield 2, if the formation is kept at 4231 he will be playing behind Jogo which leaves the same problem as last season in starting games without an out and out striker.

Possible line-up…




??????????…….Yamaguchi…..Hatamoto……O Chan Hyon



Posted January 5, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News