Sports

Golden oldie Kazuyoshi Miura joins fourth-tier club led by brother


Kazuyoshi Miura, the oldest active player in Japanese professional soccer at age 54, has moved to Suzuka Point Getters on loan from relegated Yokohama FC, the two clubs said Tuesday.

Miura, who is in his 37th season as a player, joins a club in the fourth-tier Japan Football League run by his older brother Yasutoshi Miura, who is both the head coach and general manager.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to play here and will do my best to help the team win on the pitch,” the former Japan striker said in a statement.

Miura, nicknamed “King Kazu,” turns 55 next month.

Suzuka, based in Mie Prefecture in central Japan, finished fourth in the league last season and is seeking admission to the J. League. Following its last-place finish in 2021, Yokohama FC was one of four teams demoted to the second-division J2 for the upcoming season.

Per longstanding tradition, Miura’s move was announced at 11:11 a.m. on Jan. 11, and he is set to wear his famous No. 11 shirt for Suzuka.

Miura joined Yokohama FC in 2005 and has been setting age records for some time. In March 2021 he rewrote his record as the oldest player to step onto a Japanese top-flight pitch at 54 years and 12 days, but he had just one minute of league action.

He said last month that he had been offered a new deal by Yokohama but wanted more playing time, adding that he wants to keep playing until he turns 60.

Capped 89 times for Japan, the Shizuoka Prefecture native made his professional debut in Brazil as a teenager before embarking on a lengthy career that included stints in Italy, Croatia and Australia as well as with several Japanese sides.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and was famously left out of his country’s squad for its first World Cup finals appearance in 1998, despite scoring 55 goals in 89 games for the national side.

Suzuka made headlines in 2019 when it became the first Japanese men’s club in a national competition to appoint a female manager in Spain’s Mila Martinez.

Under Martinez, Suzuka reached the second round of the 2021 Emperor’s Cup, where it lost to J1 superclub Vissel Kobe.

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