The Washington Spirit have signed Japanese international Saori Takarada (SA-O-RREE – TA-KA-LA-DA) to a two-year deal from Nadeshiko League Club Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies ahead of the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season.
“Bringing another young international player of Saori’s quality to the Spirit for our 2021 season was a huge priority for our club and being able to get this deal done at this time of year has been absolutely brilliant,” said Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke. “We can move ahead with our other plans, safe in the knowledge that we’ve added a tremendously talented player to our squad for the upcoming season. I believe Saori will certainly improve us in the final 3rd, and she undoubtedly brings an added component that will provide plenty of options in that area of the field.”
The 21-year-old was born in Tateyama, Toyama, Japan. She joined Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies in 2013 and has played there ever since. Takarada recorded 44 goals in 110 appearances for the Osaka based club.
Takarada is also a member of the Japan National Team and has represented her country at the U-17, U-20 and full team levels. Most recently, Takarada joined the national team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. She made her debut for Nadeshiko Japan on June 10, 2019 vs. Argentina. At the U-20 level, Takarada was selected as the Silver Ball and Bronze Boot winner of the 2018 World Cup. Her five goals in six appearances, including a goal in the final vs. Spain, helped lead Japan to the title that year.
Spirit CEO and Director of Sporting Operations Larry Best had this to say on the signing: “The Spirit family welcomes the Saori and we look forward to seeing her skill sets on display. Her technical skill sets combined with her tactical awareness should make for some exciting play from the young Japanese International.”
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