• AP, Kyodo


Japan captain Mana Iwabuchi has signed for Women’s Super League team Aston Villa.

The 2011 World Cup winner is joining in January from INAC Kobe Leonessa in her homeland for her second stint playing in Europe.

The 27-year-old forward, who has 29 goals and 72 caps for Japan, previously played for Nippon TV Beleza, Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich before joining INAC in July 2017.

“We are exceptionally excited that a player of Mana’s caliber will be joining us in January,” Villa manager Gemma Davies said Monday. “Not only will she bring a wealth of experience to the squad, but she will also add a different dimension to our attacking play.

“She is a very technical player that thrives in tight spaces and we cannot wait to see her continue to develop at Aston Villa.”

Iwabuchi will wear the No. 20 shirt for he central England team, which is next-from-last in the WSL.

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