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If last year was the J. League’s season of uncertainty, this year will be its season of chaos. A scant two months and change after its coronavirus-struck 2020 campaign finally came to a close, the 2021 edition will kick off on Friday with far more at stake than ever before in the 20-team first division. Dan Orlowitz gives you the lowdown on what to expect in his J. League season preview.

But one question on soccer fans minds will be whether anyone can chase down Frontale, which smashed several records while running away with the J1 title last season.

Teams got a preview of Frontale’s 2021 squad in their 3-2 victory over Osaka Gamba in the Fuji Xerox Super Cup on the last play of the game Saturday after Gamba clawed back into the match. And they’ll get another chance to see Frontale when they open the J. League season against Kanagawa Prefecture rival Yokohama F. Marinos at Todoroki Stadium.

Japan’s Peter Pan striker Kazuyoshi Miura is preparing to play another season despite turning 54 this week, but he is far from his country’s only soccer-playing golden oldie, AFP-Jiji reports.

Miura, better known as “King Kazu,” will be looking to extend his record as the oldest J. League first-division starter when his club Yokohama FC kicks off their season. But he won’t be the only veteran rolling back the years, with nine players over the age of 40 currently lining up for teams across the league’s three divisions.

Orlowitz took an in-depth look at Miura’s legacy in the JT’s Heisei Icons series on influential figures in the Heisei Era, which began in 1989 ended when Emperor Akihito abdicated in April 2019.

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