• Kyodo News

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Veteran midfielder Homare Sawa will return from the Washington Freedom to play for her former club NTV Beleza during the U.S. Women’s Professional Soccer league offseason, NTV said Friday.

The 30-year-old Sawa, who has scored three goals in 20 games for the Freedom, will rejoin NTV from Sept. 2 and is scheduled to return to the United States after the Japanese season ends Jan. 1.

Sawa in January left for a second stint in the United States after the Freedom named her in the first round of last September’s international draft.

She played for the Atlanta Beat (2000-03) in the Women’s United Soccer Association, the former women’s pro soccer league in the United States that was forced to disband in 2003 due to financial difficulties.

Sawa helped Japan to a fourth-place finish at last year’s Beijing Olympics — the country’s best result in Olympic women’s soccer history.

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