Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
College/Former Club: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Q: Tell us a little bit about your soccer journey.
“I started to play with a local club in Japan when I was four. From there, I got into the academy system when I was 12. That club is called FC Tokyo. Their first team competes in the first division in Japan. I was on their academy team and I played for them for six years. Then, I graduated from high school and I went to a university in Tokyo for one year and decided to transfer and come to the United States. I went to the University of Massachusetts and played three years for them and now, I am here.”
Q: Tell us a little about your personal journey outside of soccer.
“I was born and grew up in Tokyo, a town just 30 minutes away from the middle of the city, which was pretty cool. I lived at home with my dad, my mom and two older sisters. I am the youngest. One of my sisters came to the United States as well a couple of years ago for a college education. It was an exchange program. After coming back from the U.S. she told me how great that experience was. That is definitely one of the reasons why I came here.”
Q: What is the biggest difference between soccer in America and soccer in Japan?
“I think there are a lot of differences in terms of style of play. One of the biggest differences is physicality. In Japan, people are very technical, skillful. They are very good at controlling the ball, those types of skills. At the same time, they are not really physically strong. That is definitely one of the differences.”
Q: Why did you choose to pursue a career in soccer?
“I can give you a story. When I was in college in my second year at University of Massachusetts, I got injured and I was out for the whole season. I couldn’t play and I was sitting on the bench and watching my teammates play. It was very painful and I wasn’t happy. At the same time, I realized how lucky I am and how much I love soccer. That is the exact moment I realized I wanted to be a professional soccer player.”
Q: Outside of soccer, what are some of your hobbies?
“I like to watch TV shows and movies, especially Japanese ones. I also like watching documentaries like All or Nothing on Amazon Prime, that is my favorite one. I like to talk to my friends and family on the phone, but it is not always easy because of the time difference. I try my best though.”
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration on the pitch?
“I would say Messi. What I mean is, the way I play is not similar to Messi, but still I like his ability to receive the ball and face forward in a tight area. Even when he has a lot of defenders around him, he can still face forward and take a shot and score. He is a big inspiration.”
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration off of the pitch?
“Probably my mom and dad because they are my biggest supporters. They really love watching my games even though they are in Japan and I am here. They still try to watch my games live. They stay up late just to watch my game live and that is pretty awesome.”
Q: How would you describe your style of play on the field?
“I have pace with and without the ball. I can use that as my strength. I also like to dribble and always try to move forward instead of play backwards. That is one thing I am always thinking about. I can make a difference in the attacking third even though I am not really a striker. I can make something happen from nothing. I am a playmaker.”
Q: What would you say your lifestyle is like off the pitch?
“I like hanging out with my friends, but at the same time I like my time alone. I like to spend my time at my place just doing nothing. As I said, watching TV shows. I love calling my friends and my parents and just talking about how I am doing and how they are doing.”
Q: What is your go to pre match/pre training meal?
“Pre match meal would be pasta. This is my routine. I cook pasta and eat it four hours prior to the game.”
Q: What is the meal you miss the most from home?
“For sure sushi. I love sushi and I am definitely missing it. I have tried a couple of places in Denver, but they are not authentic. The level is still there, but compared to real sushi it still needs to be improved.”
Q: Give me three words to describe Yosuke the soccer player.
“Aggressive. Hard worker. Team player.”
Q: Give me three words to describe Yosuke the person.
“Family oriented. Happy. Positive.”
Q: Do you have any game day/training routines or superstitions?
“I don’t want to disappoint you, but I don’t have anything. Sometimes I drink Red Bull prior to the game. In terms of training, I get a jog in before training starts so I can get my legs ready.”
Q: What has been your favorite thing about Colorado so far?
“I went to Colorado Springs and I got to explore. I saw a lot of nature out there and it was very pretty. I love being outside. It doesn’t always have to be a trip, I can go to the park and just be outside and chill.”
Q: What does wearing the Rapids 2 badge mean to you?
“It means a lot. This is my first club as a professional player. I really appreciate that. One time I went to the Rapids team store at the stadium during the halftime of the first team game and I saw so many fans in the shop and they were all trying to buy the uniform with the badge. I was like, ‘Wow, this is the club that I play for’. It is truly amazing.”
Q: Do you have a badge in your personal life that represents who you are as a person? Ex: family crest, tattoo, meaningful item/symbol.
“I am really grateful to represent my country here in the United States. Obviously, I know there are not a lot of Japanese players playing in the U.S. professionally, so I am really happy to be a part of that representation.”