Famous People in Japan

Kawaguchi Yoshikatsu

Date of Birth 15 August 1975
Place of Birth Shizuoka

Kawaguchi Yoshikatsu is one of the best goal keepers in Japan. He has a gift for playing soccer and saving the goal. His plays are excellent and he makes fine plays many times in a game. This owes not only his talent but also efforts which he has made since he was an elementary school student.

He began to play soccer when he was in the third grade. He was affected by his older brother, Yuichi, who belonged to the soccer club at school. Yoshikatsu was good at catching the ball and kicking it far, so he became a goal keeper. He liked practicing than playing games, so he developed his ability well. When he was in the fourth grade, he became the regular goal keeper in spite of there being fifth and sixth grade students in the team.

When he was in the six grade, he decided to go to Toukai Daigaku Dai Ichi Junior High School, because this school had a good soccer team. He thought that the excellent manager and team mates would be good for him to improve his ability. Yoshikatsu was also good at studying so he passed in the entrance examination at the top of his class.

When he was in the seventh grade, his team won the second prize of "The All Japan Junior High School Soccer Championship". In the eighth grade, he participated in "The All Japan Junior Youth Championship" and played on the Kokuritsu Kyugijo (The National Ball Game Ground) for the first time.

In 1991, he entered Shimizu Shogyo High School. He became the regular keeper in his first year. When he was in the twelfth grade, he lead the team as a captain and his team won "The High School Soccer Championship". This meant his team was the strongest team of high schools in Japan.

In 1994, he graduated from high school and joined the professional soccer team "Yokohama Marinos", because this team had Mr. Matsunaga who had the best ability as a goal keeper in Japan. Yoshikatsu admired him and wanted to learn from him. In 1995, Mr. Matsunaga left the team, so Yoshikatsu became the regular goal keeper. He tried hard, and in this year Marinos won the championship. Yoshikatsu was also awarded as "The Best Freshman" and "Best Eleven".

In 1996, he participated in Atlanta Olympics as the goal keeper for the Japan team. Japan had not been able to participate in Olympic Games for 28 years, because Japan could not play good games in Asia. In Atlanta, Japan did not pass the preliminary heats, but they won against a powerful rival, Brazil.

In 1997, he participated in a provisional selection for the World Cup. The Japan team fought a battle with many teams in Asia. The Japan team had a desperate fightbut finally they managed to participate in the World Cup. When the 1998 World Cup started Japan had to fight with Argentina which was one of the champion candidates. Japan lost the game 1-0. In the next game they were defeated by Croatia 1-0. In the final game, Nakayama Masashi called "Gon" got Japan's first goal from Jamaica. Many Japanese fans were very pleased but in the end they were defeated 2-1. Though the Japan team didn't win any games, they could appeal to world. And Yoshikatsu redeived worldwide recignition for his ability. Yoshikatsu was not only a good soccer player but also a favorite. He has many feminine fans. They like not only his play but also his looks. Yoshikatsu has brilliant sense of playing soccer and much competence. Moreover, he is so youthful that he can develop his ability more and more. We raise high hopes for his future.

References: "Goal ha Ore ni Makasero! 'Kawaguchi Yoshikatsu'" written by Ohnuki Tetsuyoshi (published by Shufu to Seikatsu Sya)

Reported by: Miki Nakai
Data verified by: Chiaki Makino
Date of Report: November 1996
Updated by: Kayoko Tsuchikawa, October 1998

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