Keiji Takachi

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Takachi is Gifu’s reigning player of the year after enjoying a wonderful 2014 season. He set the bar high early on as he produced two brilliant performances in the opening two games, capping off the win against Katallwr Toyama with a stunning individual goal. His presence in the midfield gave Gifu an identity and his calm, cool exterior hides the fact that he is passionate about playing the game the right way. Never will you see him hit a pass to no-one and he very rarely gives the ball away. These are the principles that made the FC Gifu supporters take to him so well. More of the same this year please Keiji!

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  • DOB – April 23rd, 1980
  • Age – 34
  • Hometown – Kawaguchi, Saitama prefecture
  • Height – 173cm
  • Weight – 68kg
  • Squad number – 6
  • Previous clubs – Tokyo Verdy, Okinawa Kariyu, FC Ryukyu, Sagan Tosu, Yokohama FC

Masashi Miyazawa

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Miyazawa, at 36, was never going to run around like a maniac but he used his vast experience to make the game as simple as possible. Never one for the headlines on or off the field, what Miya does isn’t part sexy. But it is often needed for a team like Gifu- namely blocking, sitting in front of the defence and giving the simple ball. He’s professional, very professional judging by his handball against Yamagata at home, and is set to take on more of a mentoring role as Gifu look to blood some younger players. Oh, and he scored his first goal in 8 years against Matsumoto in the penultimate game of last season!

  • DOB – April 24th, 1978
  • Age – 36
  • Hometown – Kofu, Yamanashi prefecture
  • Height – 175cm
  • Weight – 67kg
  • Squad number – 8
  • Previous clubs – FC Tokyo, Oita Trinita, Vegalta Sendai

Keisuke Ota

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Ota’s 2014 was disrupted by injury problems and so he’ll be looking for a good run of luck in that department this year. Often played out wide because of his energy, I see him moving inside a bit more this year where he can Felton the ball more. When he is fit, the ex-Vortis man can be a handful because when he gets the ball he is always looking to go forward. He has a good long shot on him and has the ability to pick his passes. I hope he can stay fit in 2015.

  • DOB – July 23rd, 1981
  • Age – 33
  • Hometown – Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture
  • Height – 169cm
  • Weight – 64kg
  • Squad number – 14
  • Previous clubs – Shimizu S-Pulse, Ventforet Kofu, Kashiwa Reysol, JEF United Chiba, Tokushima Vortis

Henik

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The big unit we know as Henik evolved into one of Gifu’s most important players last year. Signed as a midfielder, Henik spent time switching between a centre back and a holding midfielder. I personally prefer him as a midfielder because it takes more advantage of his physique and his ability to get forward. Very good in the air, and never one to back away from a tackle, he’ll have to curb his aggressive tendencies if he doesn’t want to serve multiple suspensions as he accrued yellow cards at a  alarming rate last year. Still, he is vital to Gifu’s hopes this year and my feeling is that he’ll emerge into a leader of this side.

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  • Squad number – 15
  • Previous clubs –

Ryoto Higa

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Higa is another player that progressed up from FC Gifu Second, and has shown glimpses of serious potential. He’s most at home in the wide right position where he can use his searing pace and serious energy levels to grind down opposing full backs. He needs to be a bit more consistent with his final ball, but people in Gifu are very excited about this young Gifu native.

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  • Squad number – 16
  • Previous clubs – FC Gifu Second

Tsukasa Masuyama

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Another native of Gifu prefecture, Masuyama has morphed from a central holding midfielder into a very good right back/wing back/midfielder. He loves to get forward and he is no stranger to scoring goals. It is his crossing however that marks him out – his right crosses are some of the best in the league and both Namba and Nazarit benefitted greatly from his service last year. If he is given license to go forward more, he will be crucial to Gifu’s attacking play.

  • DOB – January 25th, 1990
  • Age – 25
  • Hometown – Mino city, Gifu prefecture
  • Height – 180cm
  • Weight – 68kg
  • Squad number – 19
  • Previous clubs – Matsumoto Yamaga, Oita Trinita, JEF United

Yuto Ono

Yuto Ono joins Gifu from Atletico San Luis in Mexico and the brother of Standard Liege’s Yuji has spent the majority of his career in Mexico. He comes with a reputation of being an aggressive, forward looking attacking midfielder. He would have had to have grown up quickly in Mexico, so hopefully he has a bit of steel about him. Vamos Yuto!

  • DOB – September 28, 1991
  • Age – 23
  • Hometown – Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture
  • Height – 170cm
  • Weight – 65kg
  • Squad number – 23
  • Previous clubs – Yokohama F.Marinos youth, Nexaca (Mexico), Celeya (Mexico), Veracruz (Mexico), Atletico San Luis (Mexico)

Takumi Kiyomoto

Kiyomoto seems like a “Ramos player” – he’s good in the ball, has some tricks up his sleeve and looks to play the game the right way. However, his development has been somewhat delayed as various coaches haven’t really figured out how to play him or, especially in 2013, being in a relegation fight negates the need for the flamboyant. Still, he is technically very good and scored in Gifu’s defeat against FC Ryukyu suggesting that Ramos still sees him in his plans. The supporters are right behind him as we look for another local product to come good.

  • DOB – June 7th, 1993
  • Age – 21
  • Hometown – Seki, Gifu prefecture
  • Height – 168cm
  • Weight – 64kg
  • Squad number – 25
  • Previous clubs – Excelsior youth (Holland), Feyenoord (Holland)

Ryutaro Karube

Karube looks like the modern prototype of a midfielder as he stands at nearly 190cm and clocks in around 80kg. He is pretty striking to look at, and if the reports coming out of Okinawa are true, he proved very able in the middle of the park. Gifu needed a bit more steel & presence and Karube, although raw, looks like he might be able to provide that.

  • DOB – December 19th, 1992
  • Age – 22
  • Hometown – Kyoto prefecture
  • Height – 188cm
  • Weight – 76kg
  • Squad number – 27
  • Previous clubs – Kawasaki Frontale youth, Meiji University

Taisuke Mizuno

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A converted winger, Mizuno has been moulded into a ball playing midfielder by Ruy Ramos. He has good stamina, and a keen eye for a through ball and is tasked by the coach to keep possession more. Taisuke finally signed for Gifu on a full time deal from neighbours Nagoya Grampus during the winter and will look to establish himself as a first choice midfielder in the midst of a lot completion for places.

  • DOB – May 4th, 1993
  • Age – 21
  • Hometown – Inuyama, Aichi prefecture
  • Height – 170cm
  • Weight – 60kg
  • Squad number – 28
  • Previous clubs – Nagoya Grampus

Yun Chang Su

Yun is another product of Gifu’s successful (in terms of producing first team players) reserve side, FC Gifu Second. I’ve only seen him play once, so I can’t pass that much knowledge along, but he will hopefully follow the same trajectory as fellow graduates Higa & Endo.

  • DOB – July 8th, 1991
  • Age – 23
  • Hometown – Amagasaki, Hyogo prefecture
  • Height – 178cm
  • Weight – 65kg
  • Squad number – 30
  • Previous clubs – FC Gifu Second

Yudai Ogawa

The baby of the sqaud, Ogawa comes to Gifu directly from sports mad Yamanashi Gakuin HS. He drew some positive reviews from Ramos during the team’s Okinawa camp and is billed as an attacking midfielder. There is a lot of competition for places in that area of the team so I would expect him to wait for his chance (much like Ryoto Higa/Junki Endo last year), but it is certainly exciting to have a very young player in the squad.

  • DOB – October 4th, 1996
  • Age – 18
  • Hometown – Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture
  • Height – 174cm
  • Weight – 68kg
  • Squad number – 32
  • Previous clubs – Yamanashi Gakuin High School

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