Thursday, 5 March 2009

2009 Player Profiles - Midfielders

6. Yosuke Kataoka - 片岡 洋介 - 26 May 1982 - 179cm / 73kg

Physically imposing but regarded as a weak link in the Squirrels team, the ex-Kokushikan University man has neverthless still managed to pick up a good amount of playing time in the middle of the Ardija midfield. Seems like the sort of squad member that incoming coach Jang Wae Ryong might appreciate, but Kataoka hasn't made many appearances among the pre-season first team - so, fingers crossed...

7. Tomoya Uchida - 内田 智也 - 10 Jul 1983 - 166cm / 58kg

A wide midfield player who joined from Yokohama FC on a season-long loan a year ago, but has now made the move permanent. When he did crop up in the first team, Uchida started very slowly and appeared out of his depth in J1; later in the season, however, he found his niche and chipped in with some key assists and a cracking long-range goal against Nagoya Grampus in the Emperor's Cup. Whether he'll be a regular starter in 2009 is open to question.

11. Chikara Fujimoto - 藤本 主税 - 31 Oct 1977 - 168cm / 68kg

After a very disappointing 2007, Fujimoto was freed of the responsibility of the captaincy and knuckled down to make a much more solid contribution. His goals tally was still on the low side, but his commitment and determination at times inspired his team-mates. Fujimoto kept his nerve to convert a twice-taken penalty in the crunch relegation game against JEF United, which brought about a sea change in the Squirrels' fortunes. A definite starter.

14. Park Won Jae - パク ウォンジェ - 28 May 1984 - 176cm / 68kg - NEW

One of the main signings brought in by coach Jang over the close season, Park has spent all of his career to date with K-Leaguers Pohang Steelers and has also made five appearances for the South Korean national team. Although nominally a midfielder, it's thought likely that he'll challenge Yasuhiro Hato for the starting slot on the left of defence and fans hope that he will bring some dynamism and movement to that area of the team.

15. Masato Saito - 斉藤 雅人 - 01 Dec 1975 - 172cm / 65kg

Hard to imagine an Omiya squad without Saito, with the club as an amateur since the JFL days of 1998 and still technically an NTT employee. Calm, reliable and a notably intelligent footballer, he may not have the profile of other squad members but can be counted on to do a composed job in the centre of midfield or the back four. Will doubtless make a good number of appearances as a starting member or from the subs' bench throughout the season.

17. Hayato Hashimoto - 橋本 早十 - 15 Sep 1981 - 175cm / 63kg

Hashimoto was first given a run in the side in late 2006 thanks mainly to Chikara Fujimoto's injury. Left-sided midfield player with a good cross and a fine line in free kicks, he actually emerged as one of the stars of the season and more or less forced then boss Toshiya Miura into keeping him in the side after the recovery of Fujimoto. But Hashimoto has slipped out of contention in the last two years and will probably only see action when team mates get injured.

23. Shin Kanazawa - 金澤 慎 - 09 Sep 1983 - 174cm / 67kg

Popular with the fans, having made his way through the Omiya youth set-up and then turning out for the first team between 2002 and 2005, Kanazawa is in his second spell at the club after two years on loan at Verdy. Never entirely convincing as a starting player at J1 level, he's still a versatile midfielder who played a key role in the Squirrels' 2004 promotion campaign.

24. Takaya Kawanabe - 川辺 隆弥 - 22 Dec 1988 - 174cm / 62kg

Now in his third season as a member of the squad having been promoted from Omiya Youth, Kawanabe has made a grand total of one appearance in the first team - and that in the Nabisco Cup in 2007. Hard to see him making much of an impact this year, either, as the overall strength of the Ardija midfield appears improved. Possibly a candidate for a loan deal elsewhere.

25. Kohei Tokita - 土岐田 洸平 - 16 Mar 1986 - 176cm / 72kg

Of all the youngsters who joined the club twelve months ago, Tokita was the one who got the most first team opportunities as he more or less squeezed Kota Yoshihara out of the side. He has some pace but whether the former Hosei University student is quite up to the quality required by J1 is open to question, as illustrated by the fact that he only scored once in more than twenty apperances. Jang has used him in defence in pre-season, so Tokita's role in the squad may be as a utility player rather than anything else.

26. Takuya Aoki - 青木 拓矢 - 16 Sep 1989 - 179cm / 72kg

Now approaching his second season with the club, he spent much of 2008 on tour with the U19 international squad and therefore Aoki's opportunities to make an impact at Omiya were limited. A central midfielder, it's perhaps unlikely that he'll usurp the likes of Yoshiyuki Kobayashi but Ardija fans are hopeful that the Gunma boy will move up the pecking order.

32. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi - 小林 慶行 - 27 Jan 1978 - 178cm / 71kg - LOANED OUT TO KASHIWA REYSOL UNTIL 31 JAN 2010 ON 01 JUN 2009

Now in his fourth season as a Squirrel, Kobayashi was made skipper a year ago and has become a key squad member. Certainly when the ex-Tokyo Verdy man was injured for a good proportion of 2008, the team appeared to lack direction and drive from the middle of the field and given that he has been in and out of pre-season games, there have to be question marks over his fitness going into 2009 as well. When fit, a definite starter.

33. Ryohei Arai - 新井 涼平 - 03 Nov 1990 - 183cm / 67kg - NEW

Arai constitutes this year's rookie, promoted from the Ardija Youth set-up. A central midfielder who has impressed when given the opportunity in pre-season, the local lad is in reality unlikely to get much in the way of first team experience and will have to concentrate on being noticed ahead of the likes of Takuya Aoki.

34. Seo Yong Duk - ソ ヨンドク - 10 Sep 1989 - 175cm / 63kg - JOINED 23 JUNE 2009

Came to Ardija in the middle of the 2009 season, a rookie from Korea's Yonsei University who appeared for his country in the 2008 Asian Youth Championship. Reported to be a utility player who can play across the midfield but has an attacking approach. Unclear how much first team action he might see under his compatriot Jang Wae Ryong.



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