Dainichi Maeda’s Mother Reveals Surprising Past
I never thought I could become a soccer player.
Historic victory over Germany in the World Cup soccer tournament. In the first half of the match, Dainichi Maeda, 25, showed his dedication by running from defense to forward. His trademark round-cropped head cutting into the pitch with great speed is impressive, but his physical abilities have been outstanding since he was a child. Maeda’s mother, Sachie, says, “He was always a fast kid.
He was always fast, always in first place in marathons and short-distance running. I didn’t do anything special for her, but from the time she was ……2 years old, she would wake up at around 5:00 a.m., climb Mt. Futakami in Osaka, and eat a rice ball at the top before going to preschool. The first day I climbed the mountain at daycare, Dainichi said, ‘I felt good all day,’ so I kind of kept it up. I was already mischievous (laughs).
He started playing soccer in elementary school.
A friend invited me to join a local soccer club. When I kicked the ball and ran, I was so fast that everyone couldn’t keep up with me. I was scoring a lot of goals, so I was having a lot of fun and doing nothing but that. Everyone was happy to see me, saying, ‘If Dainichi is there, we can win! Everyone was so happy to see me. Even back then, I had a good body with a lot of spring, and I was different from everyone else.
Maeda says he has continued to enjoy playing soccer. His success to this point was a surprise to his family.
I didn’t even know he wanted to be a soccer player until he graduated from high school and went to Matsumoto (Matsumoto Yamaga FC), and I never thought …… that he could really become one. But Daizen has always chosen to play at a level higher than his own. The same is true for his high school, Yamanashi Gakuin, and for the Japan national team. At Yamanashi Gakuin, he became a regular player without even touching the ball. …… From a parent’s point of view, ‘Yeah, how can you make it at a place like this?’ But I think it’s amazing that he was able to stretch himself and reach the same level as the people around him, even though he is his own child.
Yukie plans to watch the match against Costa Rica.
After the national team was announced, I received a phone call saying, ‘You have been selected for the World Cup. I got a phone call saying, ‘You’ve been selected for the World Cup. Ozen has always been calm even in situations where I would say, ‘That’s not a good idea. Recently, I can see that he is getting used to the big stage. I hope everyone will enjoy the event as usual.
Japan’s “too fast” striker, the pride of Japan, is sure to excite the world against Costa Rica.
Photo： Courtesy of Yukie (childhood) and Koki Nagahama (game)