Whitecaps add Japanese midfielder Kobayashi

The Vancouver Whitecaps signed once-capped Japanese international Daigo Kobayashi on Monday. The 29-year-old is described as an attacking, technical player.
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Whitecaps signed Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashi on Monday. Described as an attacking midfielder, the 29-year-old has spent the last two seasons with J-League division 1 side Shimizu S-Pulse.

“I’m very happy to come to Vancouver and play for the great fans of this city,” said Kobayashi in a club statement. “I look forward to giving my all to help this club continue to grow and succeed.”

Before playing with Shimizu S-Pulse, Kobayashi spent 18 months in Greece with Iraklis FC, playing only 14 matches. He had a better experience in Norway, helping Stabæk to a third place finish in the 2009 league championship by scoring eight goals in 29 matches.

Prior to his Scandinavian adventure, Kobayashi played with current Whitecaps midfielder Jun Marques Davidson at J-League Division 1 side Omiya Ardija. His stint there lasted from 2006 to 2008, where he scored 14 goals over 90 matches.

Kobayashi’s silverware includes the 2004 Emperor’s Cup and the 2005 Japanese Super Cup, both won during his time with Tokyo Verdy.

The midfielder has represented Japan once, in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 – although had a more prominent role at youth level, where he helped his country to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship quarter-finals (since re-branded as the FIFA U-20 World Cup).

“We’re really pleased that Daigo is going to be joining us,” Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said. “He’s technically very gifted and he’s got an excellent final pass. He can create goals for us and he’s got a lot to prove. Those are the type of players we want in our squad.”