Soccer / J. League

Former Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara retires

Kyodo

Kashima Antlers midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara is retiring, the team announced Thursday.

“I am very happy and honored that I played until now with such a wonderful team and can close my career as a soccer player with the Kashima Antlers,” Ogasawara said in a statement.

The 39-year-old started his professional career with Kashima in 1998. He had a brief stint with Italian club Messina in 2006-07, but played with the Antlers for the remainder of his career.

He represented Japan at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

Ogasawara scored 69 goals in 525 J. League games and helped Kashima win seven league championships, four Emperor’s Cup championships and five league cup titles.