Former Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara will return to the Kashima Antlers as an academy adviser, the J. League first-division club said Friday.
Ogasawara, a member of Japan’s World Cup squads in 2002 and 2006, retired at the end of last season with Antlers.
The 39-year-old spent his entire J. League career with the Ibaraki Prefecture club, punctuated by a stint with Italian side Messina in the 2006-07 Serie A season.
In his new role, Ogasawara will help develop players and provide guidance across all levels of the academy, according to Antlers.
“I’ll do everything I can to elevate as many academy players as possible to the top team so that they can be core players for Antlers and the national team,” said Ogasawara, a six-time J-League Best XI selection and 2009 MVP.
As part of their youth development system, the Antlers have academy facilities spread across Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures.