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Nagasato 'confident' after her first match against men since groundbreaking move

8:04 AM GMT+4 19/10/2020
Yuki Nagasato Chicago Red Stars 2020
The 2011 Women's World Cup winner is determined to have a big impact with her new club

Japanese striker Yuki Nagasato has declared she is 'confident' after playing her first match against the opposite gender since joining amateur men's side Hayabusa Eleven. 

The 33-year-old sealed the surprise loan move to Hayabusa under a professional contract in September with Nagasato currently tied to National Women's Soccer League side Chicago Red Stars. 

Nagasato has enjoyed a stellar career to date and has made over 100 caps with Japan's national women's team, who she won the Women's World Cup with in 2011. 

Entering the twilight of her career, the attacker is determined to make the most of her time left and decided to join her brother Genki at Hayabusa as she looks to challenge the opposite gender. 

Ahead of the new season, Nagasato has already featured in a practice match and believes she can beat men's players with her quick decision making. 

"I did not expect that me playing on a men’s team would be so popular, but I do think it's a positive message to girls and women," Nagasato told FIFA.com.

"It's a great challenge for me to play with men, but it's even better for other women to see that it can be done.

"The club wants to join the J.League, the professional league. It will probably take four to five years to get there, but I hope to be the first woman to do that as well. But for now I can help the team get to that level.

"I felt like I have been with this team for a long time. We had very good chemistry on the field, especially with my brother. We had very good combinations. I definitely feel confident after playing in the practice match. I do have the ability and talent to play at this level.

"I want to continue to develop myself as a player. This is a very good challenge for me because the men are much quicker and it allows me to be mentally sharp to make quicker decisions on the ball. I can beat men’s players with my quick decision making." 

On playing with her brother, Nagasato added: "It feels normal for me. He feels like a normal team-mate to me. It's been a while since I've spent much time with him because I've been playing soccer across the world. I've seen a new side of him and I'm getting to know him better than I did before."