International Japanese players in their J.League Days: #4 Shinji Ono

International Japanese players in their J.League Days: #4 Shinji Ono

Shinji Ono played for Feyenoord for five seasons and contributed to their victory in the UEFA Cup in the 2001/02 season. He then moved to German side VfL Bochum for the 2007/08 season and later also played for Western Sydney Wanderers, in Australia.

The Japanese attacking genius who brought his football around the world, had started his professional career in 1998, choosing Urawa Reds out of many offers he had received after high school.

He immediately won a starting spot and registered his first professional goal already in his second match. He was also called up for the Japanese squad for the FIFA World Cup in France at the age of 18.

In his rookie year, Ono bossed Urawa’s attack with his extraordinary skill, scoring nine goals in 27 league appearances. As a result, he was awarded the Rookie of the Year prize, and he was also and selected in the Team of the Year.

In 1999, he only saw 14 appearances due to injuries, and Urawa were relegated to J2. Next year, Ono was appointed captain, though he was only 20 years old! Within a season, he led the team to promotion.

Back in the top flight, he was playing an important role for his club, but moved to Feyenoord at the end of the First Stage, in 2001.

After five years at Feyenoord, he returned to Urawa in 2006 and helped the team win many titles such as the 2006 J1 League and the 2007 AFC Champions League.

His second return to J.League was after a stint at Bochum, when he joined his local club Shimizu S-Pulse. Although he could not win any title with them, he provided a huge contribution as a captain, displaying strong leadership.

Ono then spent 2 seasons in Australia (2012 and 2013) before joining J2 side Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in 2014. He helped the team get promoted to J1 in 2017.

In the summer of 2019 with his game time in Sapporo decreasing, he moved to Okinawa. He is still is a player at FC Ryukyu, and in a good shape at the age of 40. In fact, he made an appearance as a substitute on the opening match of the season.