Who will shine at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Introducing Japan’s new generation (Part 3, Forwards)

Who will shine at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Introducing Japan’s new generation (Part 3, Forwards)

The third and last installment of this series about the Tokyo Olympics generation focuses on forwards.

We start with Yuki Soma of Nagoya Grampus. He was a rookie fresh out of university last year, as he joined Kashima Antlers on loan in the middle of the season. After impressing fans with great dribbling, the 165 cm-tall attacker returned to Nagoya this season, and is expected to torment the opponents’ defenders with his exceptional quickness and pace. In addition to accurate crosses, he can unleash powerful shots after cutting in from the flanks. Soma also has tactical flexibility that allows him to play as a wing back.

Kashima Antlers’ Ayase Ueda is a typical striker, lethal in the penalty box. He was originally scheduled to join Kashima in 2021, but decided to stop playing for Hosei University to start his professional career early, and scored four in 13 appearances last year. Many of his goals are produced by beating the opponents with extraordinary movements that help to sneak into the best position to shoot. Ueda can also finish off crosses with headers, and his goal instinct is a great threat to the opponents.

Finally, Koki Ogawa is the new hope of Jubilo Iwata, who are aiming for a quick return to J1. The 22 year old is in his 5th professional season, and had so far only partially been able to meet the high expectations. However, he had a good season during his loan spell at Mito Hollyhock last year, and returned to Iwata with confidence. One of the best strikers of his generation, characterized by his strong physique and skillful finishing, Ogawa fulfilled his potential by scoring a hat-trick in his senior national team debut in the E-1 Championship last year.