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Sky Blue FC adds veteran depth in midfield with Naho Kawasumi

Sky Blue FC have acquired midfielder Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forward Shea Groom.

“Naho has had over a decade of experience with the Japanese national team and her international experience alone is a huge asset for us,” Head Coach Denise Reddy said. “In addition, she has had proven success in this league, success that we believe will transfer here to Sky Blue.”

“I will play for Sky Blue FC this season,” Kawasumi said. “I am looking forward to playing with my new teammates. I will do my best for Sky Blue and will cooperate with the team for the championship and I’m very happy for you to call me “Naho” when you cheer for me.”

Kawasumi, 33, first joined the National Women’s Soccer League in 2014, playing for the Seattle Reign FC on loan from Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa. Following the season she returned to Japan only to be signed by the NWSL to play for the Seattle Reign FC on a full contract in 2016.

From 2008-16 Kawasumi came just shy of making 150 appearances for INAC, scoring 58 goals in the process. As part of the Japanese club, she won the Nadeshiko Div.1 league title for three consecutive years from 2010-13 and was named to the Best IX each season. In 2013 Kawasumi was given the prestigious honor of being named the Nadeshiko League MVP.

It was during the 2014 NWSL season that Kawasumi turned heads scoring nine goals and tallying five assists in just 20 matches for the Seattle Reign FC. After another two seasons with INAC, Kawasumi returned to Seattle where she remained a prominent piece in the team’s success.

During the past three seasons she has appeared in 44 matches and recorded 14 assists, including a league-high nine in 2017. Her 19 total NWSL assists are the second-most in league history, tied with Vanessa DiBernardo and behind Tobin Heath and Christine Nairn, both of whom have recorded 20 assists.

Kawasumi made her first appearance for the Japanese national team in 2008 and leading up to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup she became a staple in the team’s midfield. It was in 2011 that she helped Japan win their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup championship. The following year Kawasumi was part of the squad that finished second to the U.S. WNT in the 2012 London Olympics, receiving the nation’s first-ever silver medal for women’s soccer at the tournament. In 2015 Kawasumi nearly repeated history, as her squad made it to the final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, ultimately falling again to the U.S. WNT.

Since her first appearance with Japan, Kawasumi has played in 90 matches for her nation, scoring 20 goals for the Nadeshiko.

Transaction: Sky Blue FC receive midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forward Shea Groom.

Nahomi Kawasumi
Hometown: Yamato, Kanagawa, Japan
Date of Birth: 09/23/1985
College: Nippon Sport Science University
Height: 5-2
How Acquired: Trade with Seattle Reign FC (1/14/19)

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