Soccer became popular in Japan following the creation of the professional J-League and then the hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2002.
I was invited to a match between Tokyo Verdy and Tokushima Vortis on the weekend at Yoyogi National Stadium, and was able to stand on the touch line to take photos as an accredited press member. It was a really good experience to see the game up close and take some photos of the action.
Being part of the Press contingent we were able to get the half-time report from the 2 teams. Looks like Verdy is trying to get its defense to take more care of the long ball and counter attacks from Vortis, while the Vortis team say they must run harder than the opposition team or they cannot win.
There were some great Tokyo 2016 Olympic / Paralympic Bid events held before the match and at half-time, including ladies in Tokyo 2016 Yukatas, large scale Shodo display, Olympic banner parade, medal presentations and more.
You can see the full report I wrote about the Soccer and Tokyo 2016 Olympic events here.
Verdy went on to win 4-0 and advance up the league table. They were ranked 5 in the J2 league coming into this game and will want to finish strong to try and elevate themselves to the main J-league division for next year.
I really enjoyed going to this match and taking photos from the side-line. I look forward to another similar event in the future.