Kashiwa Reysol striker Masato Kudo will join Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps pending a medical, the club have confirmed.
The 25-year-old spent his entire career at the club, rising from Reysol’s Under-12 side to the first team, where he spent seven seasons and became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 56 goals from 162 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League outings.
“Through winning the J1 title [in 2011] I’ve been able to participate in international tournaments such as the Club World Cup and AFC Champions League,” Kudo said in a statement. “In the last two or three years I’ve increasingly wanted to play outside of Japan.
“I’m proud to have spent such a long time at Kashiwa Reysol, but I believe now is the right time to change my environment and challenge myself.
“I won’t guarantee that I will return to Kashiwa Reysol; I want to play so well overseas that Kashiwa Reysol ask me to come back. [Vancouver] Whitecaps] want me to score goals and I have to play better than ever before in order to accomplish that.”
Vancouver, who finished second in the 2015 MLS Western Conference, have previously hosted Japanese midfielders Jun Marques Davidson and Daigo Kobayashi.
Kudo will be the seventh Japanese player to join the league, which will embark on its 21st season in 2016.