Connect with us


[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Tsuneyasu Miyamoto Brings Valuable Experience to New Role as JFA President

With a determined commitment to elevate all facets of soccer in Japan, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto said it will require a collective effort to achieve those goals.



Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, the Japan Football Association's new president, speaks at a news conference on March 23, 2024, in Tokyo. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Tsuneyasu Miyamoto Brings Valuable Experience to New Role as JFA President

As a soccer player, coach and administrator, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto gained valuable leadership experience in a variety of roles over the past few decades.

Now at age 47, he's become the first former player to compete in the J.League and in FIFA World Cup matches to be appointed president of the Japan Football Association.

Miyamoto's two-year term as the 15th president of soccer's national governing body in his homeland began on March 23.

The Osaka Prefecture native succeeds Kozo Tashima, 66, who held the post from 2016-24.

Before outlining his goals and the shared vision of past leaders as the JFA's new chief executive, Miyamoto said he's "extremely honored" to be named the new president. He added that he considers this a leadership position of "great responsibility." 

"Throughout my career, I have always been driven by a strong desire to increase the presence of football in our country," said Miyamoto, who joined the JFA Executive Committee in 2022. He took over as general secretary in 2023.


"It has been more than 100 years since JFA was founded and more than 30 years since a professional football league was established in Japan. [And] it is through the tireless efforts of so many people, on and off the pitch along the way, that have brought Japanese football to what it is today ― a journey of growth that we can all be proud of, even by world standards. 

"Stadiums have been built across the country, J.League and WE League matches are played on weekends, and it has become a common sight to see the whole country cheering on the performance of Samurai Blue (Japan national team) and Nadeshiko Japan (Japan women's national team)."

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
Former Gamba Osaka manager Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (right) guides his team in a September 5, 2018, match against Yokohama F. Marinos at Panasonic Stadium Suita. (©SANKEI)

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto Outlines Ambitious Goals for the Next Few Decades

Miyamoto reiterated past goals outlined by the JFA in his opening message as president: to host the World Cup for a second time by 2050 and to win it for the first time by that year.

"We must take further steps to elevate our game to the next level," Miyamoto commented. "While inheriting the wide array of legacies built by our predecessors, we must also take an innovative approach that is fit for the present.

"There are many things I would like to work on. Through close dialogue and discussions with you all, I will explore the best way forward one by one, in order to increase the presence of Japanese football both at home and abroad. Let's work together to start a new chapter for Japanese football."

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
Gamba Osaka's Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (right) in action against Kawasaki Frontale in a December 2002 match. (©SANKEI)

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto: Career Background

A center back, Miyamoto stepped in as a replacement captain at the 2002 FIFA World Cup on home soil after Ryuzo Morioka sustained an injury in Japan's opening game against Belgium at Saitama Stadium. Morioka was forced to miss the rest of the tournament. Miyamoto helped lead Japan's run to the round of 16.

Looking back on that experience 20 years later in June 2022 in an interview with FIFA.com, Miyamoto recalled his teammate's injury and being called upon to replace him.

"I don't think many defenders get substituted during a game. When Ryuzo went down, I wondered if he'd been injured," Miyamoto told FIFA.com. "At that time, I'd been quietly watching from the sideline. I actually realized that I would get on the pitch only when the coaches called me over. The head coach (Philippe Troussier) gave me some instructions before I went on, but I didn't remember much of what he said."

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
Australia captain Mark Viduka and Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto vie for the ball in a 2006 FIFA World Cup Group F match in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (KYODO)

Miyamoto's playing career included stints at Gamba Osaka (1995-06, including a J.League title-winning season as captain in 2005), Red Bull Salzburg (2006-09) and Vissel Kobe (2009-11). He earned 71 caps as a national team player and continued his role as Samurai Blue captain at the 2004 Asian Cup and through the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Miyamoto later served as Gamba manager from 2018-21.

Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto served as captain of the Japan national team from 2002-06. (©SANKEI)

The Impact of the 2002 World Cup

The aforementioned FIFA.com interview took place shortly after his Gamba management stint. In it, Miyamoto was asked how the 2002 World Cup impacted his career and how it influenced the way he approached coaching years later.

"The World Cup allowed me to experience what a team on the big stage should do to smoothly execute what they practiced," Miyamoto said, according to FIFA.com. "I also learned how, among other things, we can alleviate pressure when playing at a major tournament." 

He added, "I try to pass on those experiences to the young players in my team."

During his presidency, expect Miyamoto also to share insights gleaned from his years as a youth coach, a FIFA Master graduate student and a frequent interviewee by media.

Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on auto racing, basketball and more, on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven


Our Partners