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  • Yuki Nagasato during her presentation in Kanagawa, Japan, Sept. 11, 2020.

    Yuki Nagasato during her presentation in Kanagawa, Japan, Sept. 11, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 September 2020
Opinion

With her signature, the 33-year-old player paves the way for a future mixed team’s policy.

The Japanese player Yuki Nagasato last week signed for the Hayabusa Eleven Football Club and became the first woman to play in a men's team in Japan.

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Nagasato thus became the second woman in the world to play on a masculine squad. Before her, the 19-year-old Dutch Ellen Fokkema signed for Foarut FC in her country's fourth division.

"My performance and condition are improving as I get older," Nagasato said, and added that she is " looking forward to taking on the challenge."

The 33-year-old striker has played more than 130 times with Japan’s national team. She even played as a substitute in Japan's win against the United States in the 2011 World Cup final.

“I want to deliver the message that women can play an active role on a men's team and are up to the task," she stressed. This way the Japanese player paves the way for a future mixed team’s policy.

The Hayabusa Eleven is an amateur men’s club that plays in the Japanese Kanagawa Prefecture League. "Support Yuki’s historic challenge to get women players to mingle on men's teams," the club stated.

Nagasato was currently playing for the Chicago Red Stars of the U.S. National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The Red Stars said that the Japanese player will return for the start of the NWSL preseason in 2021.

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