Sydney Olympic head coach Grant Lee believes Go Shirai and Taiga Soeda won’t be the last Japanese imports plying their trade in the IGA National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 competition.
The former National Soccer League champions were alerted to the duo in the pre-season and have not been disappointed.
Shirai has been in fantastic form of late with his quick feet and tenacity impressing fans. Soeda started the season on fire in the Olympic midfield before an injury set back. He has recently returned and quickly found his feet in the side.
“As soon as the two boys turned up you could see they have quality about them that some of our players don’t possess out here so they have done very well for themselves,” Lee said.
“They are both very versatile. Go is probably more attacking minded where you can see with Taiga he probably plays in more the 6 to 8 role sitting in the midfield.
“Still he gets forward very well and has good feet too.
“I think they played in the second tier in Japan so a decent level. You can see what their quality is.
“They are only young at about 24 years old so they have come out here to broaden their horizons and see if there is an opportunity for them to go and play A-League.
Shirai and Soeda join Blacktown City FC attacker Ryuji Miyazawa and former Blacktown and Sydney United striker Yuchi Yamauchi as successful Japanese players to have played in the competition.
Lee said more players from Asian countries are bound to try to get into the A-League via the IGA National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 competition in the future.
“With the Asian Champions League and the like there is a lot more media attention in Japan on our league so a lot of boys are thinking about us here,” Lee said.
“Australia has always been a popular tourist destination for the Japanese as well so that helps as well.
-By Chris Georges