MIAMI, Fla. (Sept 10, 2012) - Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Takuya Yamada has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week the league announced on Monday. This past Saturday against Atlanta, Yamada played a critical role in keeping the defense organized, even though the Rowdies played a man down for over 20 minutes and were without club captain Frankie Sanfillipo and regular starter J.P. Rodrigues. Yamada scored the equalizing goal which allowed Tampa Bay to maintain a three point lead over Puerto Rico for 2nd place in the NASL standings and a bye to the semifinals.
“It is a pleasure to receive this award,” said Yamada. “I’d like to thank my teammates, Coach Ricky, the staff and all the supporters. As always, I’ll be doing my best and aiming for the league championship."
Yamada has scored three goals this season and leads the NASL in minutes played with 2,250 minutes this season. In the season home opener on April 14, Yamada delivered the game-winner against FC Edmonton. He recently picked up the assist on midfielder Raphael Cox’s game winning goal against Ft. Lauderdale on September 1, helping the Rowdies clinch a playoff spot.
“It’s excellent that once again our club receives an award for our defensive performance,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “Every week he produces quality performances and I congratulate Yama for having such a high level on the playing field. He always seems to come through for us at the toughest times and I am very pleased that we are able to have him on our squad.”
Yamada is the longest tenured member of the Rowdies and has played in 78 matches for the team over the last three seasons. The honor marks the 11th time this season a Tampa Bay player has received a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.