The Rowdies enter their fourth season since their return to professional soccer in 2010, with a back line that features the longest tenured Rowdies player on the squad. Defender Takuya Yamada has been with the team since 2010, playing in over 80 official matches.
“I came to the Rowdies because I knew how big the history of this team was,” said Yamada. “The opportunity was great and I wanted to come to the US to continue my career.”
Yamada began his professional soccer career in the J. League with Tokyo Verdy (formerly Verdy Kawasaki) in 1997 making 235 appearances scoring 22 goals over eight years. His outstanding performance earned him four caps for the Japanese national team from 2003 to 2004.
Earlier this year, the Japanese native signed a one-year contract for the 2013 season in search of defending the NASL Soccer bowl Trophy. Yamada originally joined the Rowdies after playing for Sagan Tosu in the Japan Professional Football League during the 2009 season where he had 43 appearances and six goals.
“His past experience dictates how important Yama has been for this club,” stated Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “He has been consistent since his arrival and I was very fortunate to have a player like Yama on the squad when I arrived in 2011. There is no one better than him with regards to his work rate during the week, or on match days. You can expect a top class effort from him in every situation.”
Having Yamada in the defense adds quality and experience to this Rowdies team. The 38-year-old shows an impressive work rate every week at practice and on gameday’s, while also helping those players around him.
“He is a great mentor for all the young players on the squad,” commented Technical Director Perry Van Der Beck. “Going into this season where we will be defending the NASL title, it is very important to have someone like him on the team. Through his leadership and experience he has become a key piece for the Rowdies.”
Last year, Yamada was named to the 2012 NASL Best XI after leading the league in the regular season with 2,520 minutes played. Starting in all 28 regular season matches and two post-season matches in 2012, Yamada showed both his offensive and defensive talents. He was named NASL Defensive Player of the Week on September 10, and proved to be a crucial part of the 2012 championship team.
Yamada spoke about the individual accolades he received last year and what to expect this season.
“We want to win both tournaments and win the NASL Soccer Bowl again. Last year’s awards were great, but we don’t want to focus on individual things. If we work as a team and make the finals, the award will come.”
The Japanese native will continue to work hard and mentor others to begin the regular season the best way possible. Every member of the Rowdies organization knows that having Yamada on the roster adds quality and experience both on and off the field.
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