In the hype around a big tournament, it’s easy to build a narrative that begins and ends with a team’s biggest star. But the players who make or break a squad are often further down the depth chart. Their success or failure will dictate a team’s tournament. These are The Influencers.
The series is exclusive to members of The Equalizer Extra. Start your free trial now.
Date of Birth: 16 June 1987
Place of Birth: Tochigi, Japan
Superpower: Brave leadership
Pardon the repetition here — because we’ve said this for Brazil, and it’s applicable to a few teams — but the Japan side you will see at this 2019 World Cup is not the Japan of yesteryear. It is not the side that won the 2011 World Cup, nor the one that returned to the final in 2015. Homare Sawa and Aya Miyama are gone; so, too, former coach Norio Sasaki.
In their place stand head coach Asako Takakura and a young team which has been tinkered with endlessly over the past two years.
The entire article is accessible only to members of The Equalizer Extra. Already a member? Awesome! Please sign in below. If not, you can sign up below.
Your accountSign in
/ 2 days ago
This week, attorney and writer Kelsey Trainor joins Dan Lauletta and Chelsey Bush to...
/ 6 days ago
This week, the United Soccer League announced the appointment of former United States women’s...
/ 7 days ago
It’s halftime in Thailand’s Asian Football Confederation Olympic qualifying match against China in Sydney’s...