King Kazu Leads Yokohama FC at Age 50
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— 横浜FCスタッフ (@yokohama_fc) 2017年2月17日
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Japan and the J-League is now in its 25th year of action. This year marks a historic event in the presence of a 50-year-old footballer in active service: Kazuyoshi Miura of the Yokohama Football Club. Miura pushed 50 on February 26 this year - probably the first active J-Leaguer in 50's in the history of the sport. In fact, practically none in that age bracket is in active service in any other professional sports.
On the very day Miura turned 50, his team, Yokohama FC, was challenged by Matsumoto Yamaga FC in this season's J2 opening match at the Nippatsu Stadium. The game was full of exceptions in J2 League.
The stadium was jam-packed with spectators who had devoured 14 thousand advance tickets for the first time in the history of the ball club. The crowds were out there to witness the superstar King Kazu at work at a memorable moment of his career.
A troop of 74 press agents with 200 reporters at home and from abroad flocked to cover the 50-year-old professional soccer player in action.
Miura started the game as a forward. The huge crowd regardless of sides welcomed Miura as he stood on the pitch with a mammoth banner reading "Never Retire!". Miura told the press after the game that he was so impressed that he almost cried.
He stayed in the first half of the game and played into the second half till he was replaced at 65 minutes of the game. He demonstrated his super skills and a willpower to keep up his action throughout the game.
Kazuyoshi Miura started off his professional career age 18 in 1986. Earlier at age 15, Miura left Japan for Brazil and played his way up to a professional contract with the Santos.
Looking back on the opening game, Miura commented:
"My job is to score - nothing less. In that sense, I'm not satisfied with myself having left it scoreless." (Nathan Shiga)