Box Hill United senior women’s team have signed experienced Japanese midfielder Asuka Kakazu ahead of the 2019 NPLW season.
The two-footed box-to-box set-piece specialist from Okinawa has played almost a decade of professional football in the women’s J-League and is now excited to begin her first stint overseas at Wembley Park.
The 29-year-old said she fell in love with football while at elementary school and subsequently established herself in Japan’s football horizon with a successful spell for Velgata Sendai Ladies
(2011-2017) and most recently for Orca Kamogawa FC.
While at Velgata Sendai, she bagged the Nadeshiko Challenge League in 2012, finished as runners-up of the Nadeshiko League in 2015 and reached the Empress’ Cup last-four the same year.
Describing her exploits in Japanese football, Kakazu said, “While the journey to play and stay at the highest division in women’s J-League was not always easy, it was very fulfilling to play with other like-minded and talented players.
“It was important for me to establish strong teamwork and culture, so that even during tough times when the results were not favourable to us, we remained united and continued to fight and never gave up.”
Her first impressions of Australian women’s football? The diminutive midfield dynamo said, “One of the differences is the physical strength and speed Australian women footballers have, which not many Japanese players possess.”
Choosing Box Hill as her new team was a no-brainer, Kakazu reasoned, “When I joined my first training session with Box Hill, I straight away loved the fantastic team atmosphere. The coaches and the teammates were all genuinely welcoming and receptive.
“I believe I fit perfectly with the play style at the club, particularly with passing. Overall, the environment, facilities and people at the club made it an easy decision to join Box Hill.”
Box Hill senior women’s head coach Brian Roberts said Asuka is a valuable addition to the squad, “She is an extremely experienced player who has played at a very good level for many years. I am hoping the experience will rub off onto our younger players.
“She’s a player who knows how to speed up or slow down a game, which is something very special. She has a lot of qualities, which we’re all looking forward to. It didn’t take long to pick up her nick name – ‘Kaka’! So, I hope she will be welcomed quickly.”