JFA seeks Nadeshiko Japan revival under youth wizard Futoshi Ikeda

The Japan Soccer Affiliation on Friday confirmed Futoshi Ikeda as Nadeshiko Japan’s new head coach, inserting their belief in him to take the standout outcomes he’s achieved on the underage stage and apply them to a senior group that has struggled towards worldwide friends in recent times.

Ikeda will inherit a Nadeshiko group far faraway from its famed triumph on the 2011 Girls’s World Cup in Germany, the place Norio Sasaki’s squad shocked the USA in a penalty shootout to grow to be world champions.

“Japan grew to become No. 1 on the earth in 2011, and I need to construct a group that may reclaim that place,” Ikeda stated. “We have now to boost our customary, intention to grow to be one of the best on the earth and grow to be a group that everybody helps.”

The 50-year-old spent 20 years as a youth and top-team coach with Urawa Reds — the place he additionally performed as a defender through the first 4 seasons of the J. League — and with Avispa Fukuoka earlier than being named head coach of Japan’s U-19 ladies’s group in 2017.

Ikeda guided that facet to victory on the 2017 AFC U-19 Girls’s Championship earlier than successful the 2018 U-20 Girls’s World Cup in France — Japan’s first-ever title in that age class.

“There have been plenty of officers there from across the soccer world who praised Japan’s play in that match,” JFA President Kozo Tashima advised a information convention on Friday. “It wasn’t simply that Japan received, however the best way through which they performed.

“I believed it was the sort of soccer we have to play so as to succeed internationally, on each the lads’s and girls’s sides.”

Whereas a five-year rebuilding mission underneath former head coach Asako Takakura noticed many younger gamers earn their senior debuts, it failed to supply a group able to competing in a quickly evolving world panorama for girls’s soccer. Japan crashed out of the 2019 Girls’s World Cup within the spherical of 16 and was eradicated within the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Video games by eventual runner-up Sweden.

“There have been occasions when the group was in a position to play the sort soccer Takakura was aiming for, and occasions when it wasn’t,” JFA Girls’s Committee Chair Junko Imai stated. “We don’t assume we’re on the mistaken monitor, however we do acknowledge a necessity to enhance on what Japan’s strengths are.

“(In Takakura’s successor) we needed somebody who believes in Japan’s potential and may get one of the best out of the group, can use younger gamers, and never solely enhance the nationwide group however contribute to the general progress of ladies’s soccer in Japan.”

Ikeda’s appointment comes at a vital juncture after final month’s launch of the WE League, the nation’s first skilled ladies’s competitors. Whereas a rising variety of Nadeshiko stars have moved abroad in recent times, the group’s new boss careworn that he can be trying not at gamers’ places however fairly their capability to supply on the pitch and contribute to a robust squad.

“With the launch of the WE League, the gamers have an atmosphere through which they’re in a position to concentrate on the sport, and I feel we’re going to see gamers enhance due to that,” Ikeda stated.

“It isn’t a query of giving desire to gamers who’re performing effectively abroad. It’s about taking a look at their efficiency, what they’ll do on the group, what affect they’ll convey to Nadeshiko Japan.

“I feel we’ve to have a look at all of our gamers the identical approach, whether or not they’re abroad, within the WE League or within the (beginner first-division) Nadeshiko League.”

Ikeda’s first video games in cost will come throughout November’s worldwide match week. He can even maintain home coaching camps in October and December forward of January’s Girls’s Asian Cup in India, which can function the continent’s qualifying match for the 2023 Girls’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Imai described Ikeda’s appointment as a “three-year mission,” with the anticipation that he can be answerable for the group by the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s by the work of everybody who’s contributed to Nadeshiko Japan and carved out a path for girls’s soccer that we’ve gotten to the place we’re,” Ikeda stated.

“Nadeshiko Japan has to take a step ahead so as to join these efforts to the longer term, and I’m able to do my greatest so as to tackle such an vital duty.”

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