As gamers begin to play the early release of Football Manager 24, many are being exposed to Japanese clubs for the first time thanks to the soccer management simulator’s new partnership with the J. League.

If they’re looking for inspiration as they begin their virtual managerial career — with the likely goal of building their favorite small club into a force to be reckoned with — there are few better role models than Go Kuroda, who in his first J. League season has led Machida Zelvia to a historic top-flight promotion.

The 53-year-old Sapporo native honed his craft over 28 years in charge of high school powerhouse Aomori Yamada — a stretch that included three championships, three runner-up finishes and an unbroken string of appearances in the All-Japan High School Soccer Tournament, as well as sustained success in the Prince Takamado Trophy U-18 Premier League.