Christmas has come early for the Wollongong Wolves Football Club with ex-Japanese international and J-League star Yuzo Tashiro agreeing to terms to continue his career in Wollongong for the 2018 season.
Tashiro is the second major signing announcement for the Wolves, following the recent agreement with ex-Central Coast Mariners captain, and Sheffield United legend Nick Montgomery confirming he will again don the Wolves colours for next season.
“Yuzo proved this year what a valuable asset he is for us up front, and having him on board again for 2018 is a huge boost for our club,” commented Wollongong Wolves First Grade Coach, Jacob Timpano.
“He played 20 games for us this year, scoring 10 goals and setting up plenty of others. He’s had a full season with us now and will be far more comfortable and settled next year. He was great in 2017 and I’ve got no doubt he is going to have even more of an impact in 2018.”
2017 was Tashiro’s first year in Australia with the Wollongong Wolves and he quickly agreed to terms to lace up the boots again.
“I am very pleased to have signed again for the Wolves for next year. I enjoyed this season very much and know I will be even better in 2018. At first it was a little difficult getting used to everything but I am much more comfortable now and have a much better understanding of my teammates and football in Australia. I am looking forward to scoring many, many more goals for the Wolves,” said Tashiro.
Tashiro was a major attacking focus for the Wolves on the pitch, and he also provided a wide range of additional benefits for the entire Illawarra and South Coast region off the pitch.
He was an official International Ambassador for the UOW College and managed to generate significant media stories and interest across Japan and Asia about his new life and team in Australia. As part of his Ambassador role for UOW College, Yuzo spend 2017 on campus studying and plans to return next year to continue his education.
“UOW College was excellent for me. I studied English which was a great help and made a lot of new friends. Wollongong is a fantastic place to live and playing for the Wolves has been an amazing experience. I am just so happy I will be here again next season,” added Tashiro.
Tashiro has definitely made himself a home in Wollongong, settling in comfortably with his wife and 3 young children. He made the decision to relocate his entire family to Australia after the first few months of living and playing football in Wollongong.
What he initially looked at as a short term contract to experience something a little different now appears to have changed into a major lifestyle choice for the future.
“Wollongong is an amazing city. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. The beaches are beautiful, there are parks everywhere and the schools and universities are world class. My children are enrolled in local schools and love the Australian way of life. My wife is also studying and after being a little nervous when she first came over she is so happy with our new life. Wollongong is now our home and it’s funny how football can really make a difference in life. If it wasn’t for the Wolves we wouldn’t ever of had the chance to come to Wollongong. Now not only are we here, but we plan on being here for a long, long time.”
Due to his eye catching performances there was considerable interest in Tashiro’s services for next season from many other clubs, across NSW and Australia but his only real intention was securing an extension to his existing Wolves agreement and remaining in Wollongong.
Timpano finished off by stating, “Yuzo is not simply an outstanding footballer he is also a quality person. The lessons and experiences our players, particularly our young local boys, will pick up sharing a training paddock and dressing room with Yuzo will be invaluable. He is a thorough professional and that comes through in every aspect of everything he does. Players like Yuzo are a rarity and having him agree to play with us again next season is a great vote of confidence in what we are building here and where we are heading for the future. In Yuzo and Montgomery we have the best two leaders and mentors you could possibly hope for and we will build a very impressive squad that will be more than competitive.”