Several teenage strikers evolve into defenders, but few go in the opposite direction. One member of that minority bracket is Kisho Yano, who, after aspiring to be a full-back, is now an industrious target man.
After deciding to play up front at the age of 16, Yano represented Japan at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2001, scoring in impressive goal in an otherwise disappointing 5-1 defeat by France.
Yano’s club career began with Kashiwa Reysol in 2003 and although he only scored four goals in 46 appearances during his three years with the club, he nonetheless impressed with his strength, ability to bring team-mates into play and work-rate. The Hamamatsu native signed for Albirex Niigata in 2006, and he has since proven a consistent performer in their colours and captained the team on occasions.
A former Japan U-20 representative, Yano made his senior international debut against Peru in 2007, and made three appearances in the AFC Asian Cup that same year. He was in and out of the squad thereafter, but was surprisingly named in Takeshi Okada’s 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. “When I heard my name at the last minute, I was delighted because playing in the World Cup is my dream,” he said.