Osaka born Rockdale City Suns right-back Takuya Murayama came to Australia principally for his love of playing football, and is really enjoying his time here.
Having spent one season with the Bonnyrigg White Eagles after coming to this country, he is now enjoying his third year with Rockdale City.
Defenders are often the forgotten heroes of a team, rarely capturing the spotlight or commanding the on-field attention of the more celebrated midfielders and strikers.
The 26-year-old covers the ground with grace and poise on the ball showing an elegant efficiency of movement yet deceptive pace and biting tackle.
In true overlapping wing-back tradition he is a box-to-box player when required to deliver a telling cross or help out attack but recovers well to take up his defensive duties, a position he has become accustomed to since childhood.
“Basically I have always played at the back, right or left side or defensive midfield," Muruyama said.
“I like playing there as it suits my style and I can help the team out a lot.”
Given the choice of scoring or keeping a clean sheet, the defender has no plans to neglect his foremost duties as part of the back founr.
“If we keep a clean sheet it’s more important for me because we have worked hard as a team," Muruyama said.
“If I score a goal it’s good too but a clean sheet is better because we didn’t lose the game.”
Very team oriented, he was rightly disappointed in losing the Grand Final to his former club Bonnyrigg White Eagles last year.
“We were very low after the game," the defender said.
“As players, and also for the fans, we wanted to win obviously and to lose by just the one goal was disappointing.”
This year has started brighter for the club having won the IGA Preseason Cup in a tense affair against current NPL IGA NSW Mens 1 leaders Blacktown Spartans.
“It was good to win a trophy but we want to win more," Murayama said.
“After the defeat in the final last season we want to go back and win the Grand Final this year and we want to win every game we play.
“We are all working very hard to achieve this.”
Murayama coaches at Rockdale City and like many players, he wishes to remain involved in football when his playing days come to an end.
“I coach a team here at Rockdale and I enjoy it a lot," he said.
“I will certainly play some part in football because I love this game so much.
“I don’t know if I would go into management when I finish playing, I haven’t decided on that yet but maybe one day, if I do, I could coach Japan?”
The charismatic Murayama’s cheeky grin often leaves one wondering if they’ve been "had", but the defender deserves all the plaudits that have come his way since arriving Down Under.
– By MICKY BROCK, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Reporter