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.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5