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.
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)
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)
Sarah Gregorius (New Zealand, 2014–2015)
Anna Green (New Zealand, 2015)
Abby Erceg (New Zealand, 2015)
Kanjana Sungngoen (Thailand, 2013)
Naphat Seesraum (Thailand, 2013)
Pitsamai Sornsai (Thailand, 2013)
Brittany Cameron (USA, 2014–2015)
Giovana (Brazil, 2015)
Tiffany McCarty (USA, 2013–2014)
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. . . .