After a hectic few days filming, we’ve finally had chance to take stock of the trip so far and put up some stories on the blog.
One of the things that has impressed us so much on this trip is the commitment in this area to grass-roots football and to developing the game. Huge amounts of energy are poured into coaching youth sides and, while the facilities and styles may differ, one message is consistent among all the coaches – That they want football to expand in Japan.
We visited FC Miyagi, whose training pitch sits awkwardly on top of a windswept hill but who boast such august alumni as Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United – And then took in the excellent youth facilities at Vegalta, where a legion of coaches implement the long term vision of coach Teguramori. Finally, we watched an Under 12′s tournament sponsored by Coca Cola in an impressive facility in Rifu that boasted a double-sided grandstand and half a dozen pitches.
The skill levels on show at every single one of these venues and the quality of the coaching and mentoring being offered to the young players, left us in little doubt that Kagawa will not be the last Japanese star to sign for a major European club.