On May 25, the Japan Football Association (JFA) announced the 26 members of the Japanese national football team who will play in the Kirin Challenge Cup 2023 international friendly matches in June. Sota Kawasaki, captain of Kyoto Sanga FC (J1 League) and fourth-year student in the College of Social Sciences, was selected for the national team for the first time. Kawasaki took time between his classes to hold an online press conference on the same day at Kinugasa Campus.
In 2017, Kawasaki enrolled at Ritsumeikan Uji High School upon joining the Kyoto Sanga FC U-18 squad as a player eligible for the Scholar Athlete Project*, a joint initiative of Kyocera, Kyoto Sanga FC, and the Ritsumeikan Trust. Since then, he has excelled at both offense and defense as a midfielder (MF), contributing to Kyoto Sanga FC's return to the J1 League after a 10-year absence, and he was also a member of the Japan national U-21 team that won the Dubai Cup U-23, an international friendly tournament.
* A program to cultivate world-class athletes who excel in both academics and sports.
Comment from Sota Kawasaki
I have always played with the hope of eventually making the Japanese national team and going to the World Cup. I am truly happy to be one step closer to that goal. As a member of the Samurai Blue (the Japanese national team), I intend to live up to the expectations of everyone who has deemed me worthy to represent the country and the team’s supporters, as I exhibit my own unique style of play.
4th-year student, College of Social Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
High school: Ritsumeikan Uji Senior High School
Home prefecture: Yamanashi Prefecture