Soccer / J. League

Antlers sign Japan U-23 defender Daiki Sugioka

Kyodo

The Kashima Antlers have acquired defender Daiki Sugioka from Shonan Bellmare, the J. League team announced on Friday.

The 21-year-old is among a handful of new defensive players joining the Antlers, who named Brazilian Antonio Carlos Zago as manager on Thursday, a day after their 2-0 loss to Vissel Kobe in the Emperor’s Cup final on New Year’s Day.

Primarily a left-back, Sugioka has represented Japan at the Under-23 and senior levels. He made his senior Japan debut at last year’s Copa America in Brazil, where Samurai Blue and Olympic team manager Hajime Moriyasu experimented with potential lineups for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The Tokyo native is on the squad for the AFC U-23 Championship taking place this month in Thailand.

The Antlers also announced the acquisition of defenders Katsuya Nagato and Rikuto Hirose from from Vegalta Sendai and Yokohama F. Marinos, respectively.

Defender Jung Seung-hyeon, meanwhile, has departed for South Korean first-division side Ulsan Hyundai on a full transfer, while the Antlers will loan midfielder Leandro to FC Tokyo and make forward Takeshi Kanamori’s loan move to Sagan Tosu permanent.