Japan Nadeshiko League 2014

Foreign talents in the Nadeshiko League.

Okayama Yunogo Belle has signed the American midfielder, Elizabeth Eddy who played for Western New York Flash.


Eddy is the first foreign player for Belle since 2008.

I take this opportunity to do a quick research about foreign players who are/were in the Nadeshiko League since 2011. The result is kind of interesting.

[INAC Kobe]

Ji Soyun (Korea, 2011–2013)
Kwon Eunsom (Korea, 2011)
Bev Goebel (USA, 2012–2014)
Rebecca Moros (USA, 2012–2013)
Clare Polkinghorne (Australia, 2014)
Chelsea Stewart (USA, 2014)
Jang Selgi (Korea, 2015)

[Iga Kunoichi]

Elise Kellond-Knight (Australia, 2014)
Tameka Butt (Australia, 2014)
Gloria Douglas (USA, 2014–2015)
Rachel Van Hollebeke (USA, 2014)
Kristen Anne Mewis (USA, 2014)
Meleana Shim (USA, 2015)

[Elfen Saitama]

Sarah Gregorius (New Zealand, 2014–2015)
Anna Green (New Zealand, 2015)
Abby Erceg (New Zealand, 2015)

[Speranza Takatsuki]

Kanjana Sungngoen (Thailand, 2013)
Naphat Seesraum (Thailand, 2013)
Pitsamai Sornsai (Thailand, 2013)

[Vegalta Sendai]

Brittany Cameron (USA, 2014–2015)
Giovana (Brazil, 2015)

[Albirex Niigata]

Tiffany McCarty (USA, 2013–2014)

[Yunogo Belle]

Elizabeth Eddy (USA, 2015)

As you see, only certain teams—Kobe, Sendai, Saitama and Iga—freely import foreign talents. Takatsuki, now in financial crisis, was once backed by a big sponsor and hired three Thai internationals. They even tried to sign Wambach, Morgan, Solo and Rapinoe in 2012 after the Olympic. On the other hand, the history of Niigata shows McCarty was an exceptional case for them, and so is Eddy for Yunogo.

The three teams, Urawa, NTV, Chiba, never imported foreign players in their histories. These three, plus Niigata, are also the ones who have pretty good youth teams. For example, the U18 of Urawa, Chiba, Yunogo and Niigata qualified for Empress Cup 2014. In 2015, the youth teams of Urawa and NTV did. On the other hand, the U18 of Kobe, Saitama, Sendai, Iga and Takatsuki did not even come close to qualification so far.

Does this fact imply certain teams try to grow young players in house while others rely on import? I guess so.

Another interesting fact is that none of the foreign imports listed above is from Europe where, it is believed, the best players in the world exist. I am curious which of the Europeans and Nadeshiko League “shun” the other. . . .

  1. Mia Mon 7 years ago

    I think it’s more of the Europeans having a busier schedule and more games than the NWSL. European leagues have league and cup tournaments AND the Champions League. NWSL only have the “one-trick pony” NWSL haha.

    • Author
      Ken Suzuki 7 years ago

      That’s perhaps part of the reason, but only part of the reason, I suppose.

      When Soyun, Bev, and Becky played for INAC they played for entire season. They did not play on their home soil for those years. Same story for Gloria with Iga, Sarah with Saitama, Giovania with Sendai, the Thai internationals with Takatsuki.

      Secondly, some European players do play out of continent—in USA, Australia.

      Thirdly, there were European players who played in Japan in 1990s. Nikko Dream Ladies which was discontinued in 1999 played three Norwegians.

      It looks there is some particular reason why we see no European in Nadeshiko League.

  2. Diane 7 years ago

    Do you really think European teams shun Nadeshiko or it’s more of a scheduling problem? US players for the most part play there during the NWSL off season.

    • Author
      Ken Suzuki 7 years ago

      Hi Diane,

      European teams do NOT shun Nadeshikos. Ogimi, Ando, Kumagai, Iwabuchi, Utsugi, Ohno, Kinga, Sameshima, Iwakura and more play or played for German, English, French, Spanish clubs.

      What does not take place recently is a combination of European player and team of Nadeshiko League. I doubt this is a scheduling problem because European leagues have various playing months–fall to spring in Germany and France, spring to fall in England and Sweden.

  3. Asa 7 years ago

    Thank you Ken

Leave a reply

©2023 WOMEN'S SOCCER UNITED. All rights reserved.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?