The 2016 J.League Rookie Symposium opened in Shizuoka on Monday with 123 rookie players (including second-year players unable to participate in last year’s event) in attendance.
The three-day conference opened with a speech by J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai, who stressed the challengers facing this year’s crop of newcomers.
According to Murai, many of the 2006 class of 120 rookies made less than 50 appearances, with 21 players ending their professional career without playing in a single match.
“I understood not to take the life of a pro athlete lightly, but seeing the actual numbers made me understand how difficult a career it is,” said Nagoya Grampus midfielder Ryuji Uzumi. “I’m glad I was able to learn these things now.”
Following group exercises and individual training, the players received a final lecture from former Urawa Reds midfielder Keita Suzuki, who retired at the end of last season.
The Rookie Symposium will continue through February 3.