Okubo named Japan’s Footballer of the Year

Kyodo

Kawasaki Frontale striker Yoshito Okubo was named the 2015 Footballer of the Year on Thursday in a poll of Japan’s soccer writers.

The 33-year-old won the honor for the first time, receiving 51 of 2011 valid votes cast after topping the J. League scoring chart for an unprecedented third straight season. Okubo scored 26 goals in 2013, 18 the following season and 23 last year.

The former Mallorca striker’s 156 top-flight goals are third in J. League history, one behind the 157 scored by ex-Jubilo Iwata striker Masashi Nakayama and Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Hisato Sato.

Sanfrecce captain Toshihiro Aoyama, who won the J. League MVP after leading his side to the third league title in four years, was second with 41 votes.

Nadeshiko Japan captain Aya Miyama was third with 12 votes after the Okayama Yunogo Bell midfielder led the national team to the final of the Women’s World Cup in Canada.