Kawashima to sign with Lierse SK

Kyodo News

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, one of the biggest hits in the country’s positive World Cup campaign, departed from Narita airport for Belgium on Tuesday to sign a contract with Lierse SK.

With a string of fine performances, Kawashima emerged from the shadow of Seigo Narazaki, who was seen as the first-choice goalkeeper before the World Cup, and played all four matches in South Africa.

“I want to play all games for my new club in Belgium,” the 27-year-old Kawashima said before departing. “After I experienced the World Cup, I thought that putting myself in a more competitive environment is the only way I can get better.”

Jubilo Iwata’s Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is the only Japan goalkeeper to have played in Europe, for England’s Portsmouth in 2001-02 and Denmark’s FC Nordsjaelland in 2003-04.

Kawashima played for the J. League’s Kawasaki Frontale for the past three-plus seasons.