• Kyodo


Former Women’s World Player of the Year Homare Sawa described her new husband and former Vegalta Sendai player Hiroaki Tsujikami as a “manly man who doesn’t lie and has a strong sense of responsibility.”

Sawa, 36, granted reporters’ request to speak about her husband after her club team INAC Kobe Leonessa’s training session on Wednesday. Tsujikami, 38, now works in player development for Sendai.

The Nadeshiko Japan midfielder also said marriage gives her “a very different kind” of joy from the one she gets through soccer.

Sawa announced her marriage on Tuesday but had declined to reveal the identity of her husband at the time, saying only that he is in his 30s and has been a friend for 10 years.

The MVP and top scorer of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, which Japan won, Sawa appeared in the tournament for a record sixth time this summer in Canada. Japan lost to the United States in the final.

Sawa has said she wants to play in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which would be her fifth Summer Games.

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