Akira Kaji

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Akira Kaji
加地 亮
Akira Kaji-2.jpg
Kaji with Gamba Osaka in 2010
Personal information
Full name Akira Kaji
Date of birth (1980-01-13) January 13, 1980 (age 38)
Place of birth Minamiawaji, Hyogo, Japan
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–1999 Cerezo Osaka 24 (0)
2000–2001 Oita Trinita 75 (3)
2002–2005 FC Tokyo 89 (1)
2006–2014 Gamba Osaka 225 (2)
2014 Chivas USA 15 (0)
2015–2017 Fagiano Okayama 86 (1)
Total 514 (7)
National team
1998–1999 Japan U-20 8 (1)
2003–2008 Japan 64 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Akira Kaji (加地 亮, Kaji Akira, born January 13, 1980) is a former Japanese football player. He played for Japan national team.

Club career

After graduating from Takigawa Daini High School, Kaji joined Cerezo Osaka in 1998. He made his first league appearance on 25 July 1998 against Avispa Fukuoka. At the club, he found it difficult to break into the first team and was loaned out to J2 League side Oita Trinita at the start of the 2000 season.

After spending 2 years at Oita, Kaji came back to J1 League in 2002 to play for FC Tokyo. The manager Hiromi Hara made him a regular and assigned a more attacking role. His club won the 2004 J.League Cup by beating Urawa Reds in the final which ended 0–0 after the extra time. The penalty shoot-out was required and his successful conversion as the last penalty taker for Tokyo finally broke the deadlock.

He was transferred to Gamba Osaka at the beginning of the 2006 season and scored in the beginning league match against Urawa Reds. He was selected as a member of the 2006 J.League Best XI. The club won the champions 2007 J.League Cup, 2008 and 2009 Emperor's Cup. In Asia, the club won the champions 2008 AFC Champions League and the 3rd place 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. From 2012, his opportunity to play decreased for injury.

After eight years with Gamba Osaka, Kaji signed with Major League Soccer club Chivas USA on 24 June 2014.[1] However, the club was disbanded in 2014, he returned to Japan and joined Fagiano Okayama in 2015. He retired end of 2017 season.

National team career

Kaji was a member of the Japan U-20 national team for the 1999 World Youth Championship finals where the team finished runners-up.

He gained his first cap for Japan national team when national coach Zico played him on 8 October 2003 in a friendly against Tunisia. He was rated highly by Zico who made him the first-choice right full-back. He was a member of the Japan team who won the 2004 Asian Cup in China.[2] In a 2005 Confederations Cup against Brazil, his goal was disallowed by a controversial offside decision.[3] His first goal for the country finally came on 17 August 2005 in a 2006 World Cup qualification against Iran.[4]

He made the final squad for the 2006 World Cup finals. In a preparation match against Germany just before the tournament, he injured his ankle when tackled by Bastian Schweinsteiger.[5] Zico considered his replacement but decided to keep him. He missed Japan's first game in the tournament against Australia with Yuichi Komano filling in for his place, but he returned to the team and played in the rest of the competition.

After the 2006 World Cup, Zico was replaced by Ivica Osim who also regularly picks him for the national team. He was a member of the Japan team for the 2007 Asian Cup and played all the Japan games in the tournament. On 20 May 2008 he announced retirement from international football. He played 64 games and scored 2 goals for Japan until 2008.[6]

Club statistics

[7][8][9]

Club Season League Emperor's Cup J.League Cup Continental1 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Cerezo Osaka 1998 15 0 1 0 1 1 - 17 1
1999 9 0 0 0 0 0 - 9 0
Oita Trinita 2000 34 3 2 0 1 0 - 37 3
2001 41 0 2 0 4 0 - 47 0
FC Tokyo 2002 20 1 1 0 6 0 - 27 1
2003 22 0 2 0 6 0 - 30 0
2004 22 0 3 0 1 0 - 26 0
2005 25 0 2 0 0 0 - 27 0
Gamba Osaka 2006 29 1 5 1 0 0 5 0 39 2
2007 28 1 4 1 6 0 - 38 2
2008 26 0 5 0 4 0 11 0 43 0
2009 20 0 5 1 0 0 1 0 26 1
2010 32 0 2 0 2 0 6 0 42 0
2011 30 0 1 0 0 0 6 0 37 0
2012 16 0 5 0 1 0 5 0 27 0
2013 38 0 2 0 40 0
2014 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Fagiano Okayama 2015 36 0 1 0 37 0
2016 26 1 0 0 26 1
2017 24 0 0 0 24 0
Career total 499 7 38 3 32 1 34 0 608 11

1Includes AFC Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.

National team statistics

[6]

Japan national team
Year Apps Goals
2003 1 0
2004 20 0
2005 14 1
2006 14 0
2007 11 1
2008 4 0
Total 64 2

Appearances in major competitions

Team Competition Category Appearances Goals Team Record
Start Sub
 Japan 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship Senior 0 3 0 2nd place
 Japan 2003 Confederations Cup Senior 0 Group Stage
 Japan 2004 AFC Asian Cup Senior 6 0 0 Champions
 Japan 2005 Confederations Cup Senior 0 Group Stage
 Japan East Asian Cup 2005 Senior 0 2nd place
 Japan 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification Senior 1 Qualified
 Japan 2006 FIFA World Cup Senior 3 0 0 Group Stage

Goals for Senior National Team

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 17 August 2005 Yokohama, Japan  Iran 2–1 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualification
2. 17 October 2007 Osaka, Japan  Egypt 4–1 Won 2007 Afro-Asian Cup of Nations

Personal Honors

Team Honors

Club
National Team

References

  1. ^ mlssoccer.com
  2. ^ afcasiancup.com
  3. ^ Brazil Squeaks Past Japan | World Cup 2006 | Deutsche Welle | 22.06.2005
  4. ^ Japan National Team: WC2006 Qualification Match (Iran)
  5. ^ BBC SPORT | Football | World Cup 2006 | Teams | Japan | Zico furious with Schweinsteiger
  6. ^ a b Japan National Football Team Database
  7. ^ Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing inc./日本スポーツ企画出版社, "2017 J1&J2&J3選手名鑑 (NSK MOOK)", 8 February 2017, Japan, ISBN 978-4905411420 (p. 176 out of 289)
  8. ^ Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing inc./日本スポーツ企画出版社, "2016J1&J2&J3選手名鑑", 10 February 2016, Japan, ISBN 978-4905411338 (p. 199 out of 289)
  9. ^ Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing inc./日本スポーツ企画出版社, "J1&J2&J3選手名鑑 2015 (NSK MOOK)", 14 February 2015, Japan, ISBN 978-4905411246 (p. 183 out of 298)

External links

  • Akira KajiFIFA competition record
  • Akira Kaji at National-Football-Teams.com
  • Japan National Football Team Database
  • Akira Kaji at J.League (in Japanese)
  • Profile at Fagiano Okayama
  • Akira Kaji at Soccerway
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