Nadeshiko Japan announce squad for the SheBelieves Cup
09 February 2023
On Wednesday 8 February, Japan Football Association (JFA) announced the squad of the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team), who will be competing in this year’s SheBelieves Cup. In a press conference held at JFA House, Chairman SASAKI Norio of the JFA Women's Committee and Head Coach IKEDA Futoshi of the Nadeshiko Japan made an appearance to announce the 23 players travelling to the USA.
With their eyes set on the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/ New Zealand 2023™, which is scheduled to kick-off in July, the Nadeshiko Japan will start this year’s campaign with the SheBelieves Cup, hosted by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
The squad included KOBAYASHI Rikako and UEKI Riko from Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza, who won the Empress's Cup JFA 44th Japan Women's Football Championship last month, and YAMASHITA Ayaka and MIYAKE Shiori from INAC Kobe Leonessa, the runners-up of the Empress's Cup.
Players playing for clubs in Europe, such as KUMAGAI Saki (FC Bayern Munich/Germany), SHIMIZU Risa (West Ham United/England), HASEGAWA Yui (Manchester City/England), and IWABUCHI Mana (Tottenham Hotspur FC/England), as well as those who currently play in the USA, such as SUGITA Hina (Portland Thorns FC/USA) and ENDO Jun (Angel City FC/USA) were also included in the squad.
FUJINO Aoba (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza) and HAMANO Maika (Hammarby IF/Sweden), who made their Nadeshiko Japan debut last October returned to the squad, while MORIYA Miyabi (INAC Kobe Leonessa) and ISHIKAWA Rion (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies) were called-up for the first time. Regarding the two debutantes, coach Ikeda mentioned, “Morita is capable of delivering quality crosses and will certainly give us dynamism in the flank. Ishikawa has made her presence felt in the WE League with her defensive prowess and speed.”
Japan will participate in the SheBelieves Cup for the first time since 2020 and will face serious competition from the Brazil Women's National Team, ranked ninth in the FIFA rankings, USA Women's National Team, ranked first in the FIFA rankings, and Canada Women's National Team, ranked sixth in the FIFA rankings, all of whom are participating in this year’s FIFA Women's World Cup™. When asked about his aspirations, coach Ikeda expressed his enthusiasm about the three matches against the world's top-ranked teams, saying, “I hope we can use these three matches to confirm and broaden the team’s foundation.”
To open the Women's World Cup year, the Nadeshiko Japan will face Brazil on Thursday 16 February at 16:00 (Friday 17 February at 6:00 Japan time), against the USA on Sunday 19 February at 14:30 (Monday 20 February at 5:30 Japan time) and against Canada on Wednesday 22 February at 15:00 (Thursday 23 February at 6:00 Japan time).
SASAKI Norio, Chairman of JFA Women's Committee
In preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/ New Zealand 2023™, which will take place in July of this year, the team will first compete in the SheBelieves Cup in February. Last year, Moriyasu Japan gave courage and energy to the Japanese people. This year, we are preparing ourselves in the best way possible, so that the Nadeshiko Japan can do the same at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. We will be up against some of the best teams in the world during this tour to the USA, so we hope to make the most of this experience to thrive at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
We are incredibly thrilled to begin our Women's World Cup year with the SheBelieves Cup. We have requested to play against various types of powerful football nations in order to expose the team with a variety of stimuli and insights, and we are grateful to be given the opportunity to tour the USA following our matches played in November. During this tour, the team will be travelling and facing matches every three days. While checking each player’s performance on the pitch, we will also be focusing on the preparation and communication off the pitch. We will give it our all in this competition so that we can gain new inspiration and insights ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup™.
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