International Japanese players in their J.League Days: #3 Shunsuke Nakamura

International Japanese players in their J.League Days: #3 Shunsuke Nakamura

Shunsuke Nakamura started his professional career in 1997. After developing into a top young player at Toko Gakuen High School in Kanagawa, he signed a professional contract with Yokohama Marinos (currently: Yokohama F.Marinos), the club where he had played when in junior high school.

Since his rookie year, Nakamura was a regular starter and scored goals, often through his excellent free-kicks. He started to wear the number 10 jersey in 1999, his third season as a pro, and led the team as Marinos’ key player.

In 2000, at the age of 22, he won the J.League MVP when Yokohama won the First Stage, and he helped the team win the league cup in 2001. Then he joined Italian side Reggina in the summer of 2002.

After playing for to Celtic (Scotland) and Espanyol (Spain), he returned to Yokohama F.Marinos in 2010. In the 2013 season, although his team failed to win the league title, Nakamura was awarded the J.League MVP for the second time, also bagging his personal record of 10 goals. He was the first player to win the MVP prize twice in the Japanese top flight. 

He left Yokohama F.Marinos in 2017 and played for Júbilo Iwata. He then moved to J2 side Yokohama FC in the summer of 2019 and helped the team get promoted to J1.
He still plays for Yokohama FC at the age of 41, and made his comeback on the J1 stage at the beginning of this season.

The left-footed legend has marked a number of milestones in the J.League history, but what makes him special is his accurate free-kicks: no other player has scored more than him (24) in J.League.