The Asahi Shimbun reports that former Thespa Kusatsu midfielder Kohei Yamada was a third-round pick for the Colorado Rapids in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, having been invited to the Major League Soccer Combine in January. The 23 year-old made his professional debut for Thespa in 2010 and totalled thirty-four appearances in two years, making twenty-six starts and creating one assist. Click here for coverage of Yamada at the 2012 MLS Combine.
Gamba Osaka’s first Brazilian manager is keen to play enjoyable, attacking football in a bid to win the J.League Division One title, notes The Daily Mainichi. José Carlos Serrão, the 61 year-old from São Paulo who was appointed to the role following the decision of long-term incumbent Akiro Nishino to step down at the end of the 2011 season, has seen thirteen new faces recruited to the senior squad including three players promoted from the youth ranks and Samurai Blue Yasuyuki Konno. Gamba will be aiming for their first championship since 2005 and bettering the three consecutive top three finishes in the past three years.
NHK reports on Tomoaki Makino’s return to Urawa Red Diamonds on loan after a disappointing year with Bundesliga club FC Köln. Makino, the gifted young centre-back who has made eight appearances for the national team, will relish the opportunity of teaming up with manager Mihailo Petrović, under whose tutelage he blossomed at Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
And finally, Junya Tanaka will be hoping to catch the eye of national team head coach Alberto Zaccheroni, says Nippon Sports. The 24 year-old attacking midfielder scored 13 goals in 29 league games on the way to Kashiwa Reysol’s first ever J.League Division One victory, but was not picked by the Italian for any of his squads. Tanaka will have the opportunity to impress in the Japanese Super Cup at which Zaccheroni will be attending, but for Tanaka, he says that his focus is only on a victory for the Sun Kings on 3 March.