Japanese pro trains at NMISTC


Japanese pro Riku Hirosue, right, is joined by Northern Mariana Islands Football Association staff Jersh Angeles for a photo during a break in the former’s training at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville last Wednesday. (Contributed Photo)


Former Japan national youth team member Riku Hirosue is on island for a five-day winter training at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

The 21-year-old, who is now a pro, started his workout with personal coach Okubo Ryuichiro last Monday and will conclude their final session this morning. Hirosue plays as goalkeeper for the Renofa Yamaguchi Football Club—a Japanese professional football team based in Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture and sees action in the J2 League.

The goalie, who suited up for Japan’s U17 and U19 national teams, was impressed with the NMITC, saying the facility provides players opportunities to develop their skills. The NMITC, Hirosue also said through interpreter Ishige Hiroto, gives soccer fans a chance to see exciting games and more will enjoy the matches if the seating capacity of the facility will be improved.

The Japanese pro, who in 2017 debuted in the J1 League via FC Tokyo, added that he will recommend the NMITC to players and teams who are looking for venues for training camp during offseason.

“During winter time in Japan, the NMITC is a very suitable venue for training camps. I will definitely recommend the facility to players I know,” Hirosue said through Hiroto.

While training at the NMITC, the Tokyo-born player also managed to watch some CNMI players playing at the Koblerville facility. He was impressed with some of the players and said that if given enough and proper training, they will improve more and will be a great help to the CNMI national team.

Hirosue also wishes to see more players on the islands turn into goalkeepers. He understands that some are hesitant to be goalkeepers, as majority of the players want to be strikers and score. However, he said that when you are a goalkeeper, you have control of the game because you’re the only player on the pitch who can touch the ball and see every other player on the field.

“It’s a very important position, you have a very good advantage over other players,” said Hirosue, who started playing soccer when he was just 3 years old.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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