Yuji Nakazawa (中澤 佑二 Nakazawa Yūji, born 25 February 1978 in Yoshikawa, Saitama, Japan) is a former Japanese football player who played as a centre back for J.League side Yokohama F. Marinos and Tokyo Verdy. He was the formerly the captain of the Japan national football team. His nickname is "Bomber" because of his distinctive hairstyle. Nakazawa is one of only seven Japanese players to reach 100 caps for his country.
Nakazawa playing for Japan in 2008
|Full name||Yuji Nakazawa|
|Date of birth||25 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Yoshikawa, Saitama, Japan|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2002–2018||Yokohama F. Marinos||509||(31)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Nakazawa started playing football for his home country. He played for Yoshikawa Higashi Junior High School and Misato Technology High School, but attracted no scouts' eyes. Determined to be a pro, he left for Brazil to improve his football skills and trained with América Mineiro. During his time there, he won the Campeonato Mineiro in the junior category and played a key role in coach Ricardo Drubscky's squad.
After a year, he returned to Japan and joined Verdy Kawasaki in 1998 as a trainee, which meant he received no compensation. He impressed the club enough to win a full professional contract the following year.
His first J1 League appearance came on 13 March 1999 against Cerezo Osaka at Todoroki Athletics Stadium. He scored his first league goal on 10 April 1999 against Nagoya Grampus Eight also at Todoroki. That year, he received the J.League Young Player of the Year award and was selected for the J.League Team of the Year.
He was transferred to Yokohama F. Marinos in 2002 and contributed to the club winning two consecutive J.League championships in 2003 and 2004. He was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the league in 2004.
National team careerEdit
Philippe Troussier called him up for Japan national team. Nakazawa played in Olympic qualifiers as well as the finals in Sydney. Troussier promoted him to a full international. His first international appearance came on 8 September 1999 in a friendly against Iran at the International Stadium Yokohama. He scored his first goal on 13 February 2000 in an Asian Cup qualifier against Singapore in Macau.
He was a member of the Japan team who won the 2000 Asian Cup in Lebanon. He played 3 games in the competition. However, he was not selected for the 2002 World Cup finals as Yutaka Akita was preferred.
Under new national manager Zico, he partnered with Tsuneyasu Miyamoto at the back line. He participated in the 2004 Asian Cup finals. He played in all the Japan matches and scored 3 goals, one of which was a stoppage time equaliser in the semi-final against Bahrain, and Japan went on to win the title again.
He also played in the 2006 World Cup in Germany but the team failed to proceed to the knockout stage. After the tournament, he announced his retirement from the international football at the age of 28. However, six months later, he withdrew his decision and Ivica Osim played him in a friendly against Peru on 24 March 2007.
He played in the 2007 Asian Cup finals but this time the team failed to defend the title and finished 4th in the tournament.
On 14 February 2010 Nakazawa made his 100th appearance for the Japan national team against South Korea in the final match of the 2010 East Asian Football Championship at Tokyo National Stadium. Nakazawa becomes only the third Japanese player, following Masami Ihara and Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, to reach 100 caps for his country. Later that year, Yasuhito Endo also reached 100 caps for Japan.
On 30 May 2010 Nakazawa scored an own-goal in a friendly match against England to give England the lead; his defensive partner Marcus Tulio Tanaka had already scored an own goal to draw England level with Japan. The match ended 2–1 to England.
In the 2010 World Cup, Nakazawa played all 4 of Japan's games on their way to the round of 16 and knockout by penalties to Paraguay. He played some of the best football of his entire career and, alongside Marcus Tulio Tanaka, was the heart of defense.
Updated to 2 December 2018.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Japan||League||Emperor's Cup||League Cup||Asia||Other1||Total|
/Tokyo Verdy 1969
|2002||Yokohama F. Marinos||J1||27||1||2||0||0||0||-||-||29||1|
|Japan national team|
Appearances in major competitionsEdit
|Japan||2000 Summer Olympics||U-23||4||0||0||Quarterfinals|
|Japan||2000 AFC Asian Cup||Senior||3||0||0||Champions|
|Japan||2004 AFC Asian Cup||Senior||6||0||3||Champions|
|Japan||2006 FIFA World Cup||Senior||3||0||0||Round 1|
|Japan||2007 AFC Asian Cup||Senior||6||0||1||4th Place|
|Japan||2010 FIFA World Cup||Senior||4||0||0||Round of 16|
- Yokohama F. Marinos
- Major tournament participations
- 2000 Asian Cup (Champions)
- 2004 Asian Cup (Champions)
- 2006 FIFA World Cup
- 2007 Asian Cup (4th Place)
- AFC Asian Cup Best Eleven – 2004
- J.League Most Valuable Player – 2004
- J.League Rookie of the Year – 1999
- J.League Best Eleven – 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008
- J.League 20th Anniversary Team
- Japanese Footballer of the Year – 2004
- Selected to AFC All Star Team – 1999
- East Asian Football Championship Best Defender – 2008
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 16. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "NAKAZAWA Yuji". Japan national football team Database.
- 横浜F・マリノス 公式サイト｜Yokohama F-Marinos Official Website Archived 22 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Fc Japan
- "F. Marinos defender Nakazawa caps big year with J.League MVP award". The Japan Times. 14 December 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- People's Daily Online – Japan's Yuji Nakazawa may retire from international soccer
- ESPN – Soccer-Disgruntled Nakazawa completes Japan U-turn – Soccer
- 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. 61 out of 289)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)