Kaoru Mitoma’s Childhood Friend Reveals His Extreme Competitiveness | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kaoru Mitoma’s Childhood Friend Reveals His Extreme Competitiveness

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“He has his own world,” says Mitsumata, who also has many routines. “I always start on the pitch with my right foot.”

We have to do it so that we can win the next World Cup.

After the loss to Croatia, Kaoru Mitoma (25) had tears in his red eyes. Although Mitoma did not score a goal in this tournament, he has been a lion’s share of the action. His play against Spain, in which he ran just in front of the line and connected with his childhood friend Ao Tanaka (24) for the goal, was dubbed “Mitoma’s one millimeter,” and drew worldwide attention.

“Kaoru sometimes cried in frustration when he was in elementary school, but he never showed tears after entering junior and senior high school.”

“Kaoru was a very competitive player,” recalls Koji Kishi (25, Evrisa Fujisawa United), who spent time with Mitoma in the Kawasaki Frontale Organization.

Kaoru hated to lose, so much so that even when he lost in the soccer game “Wiele,” he would go silent(laughs). He practiced harder than anyone else because he didn’t want to lose to anyone. Even after the practice sessions, he and Ao Tanaka would do core training together. I am very happy to see that duo playing on the world stage this time and hugging each other on the pitch as usual.

Soccer coach Yasuhiro Kazama, 61, was impressed by Mitate’s competitive spirit when he was manager of Kawasaki Frontale.

When he was a high school student, I had him participate in a professional training camp. I was very strict with him and told him, ‘We are not bringing you here to develop your ability, but because you have reached the level of a professional player.’ If he gets in the way, I will ask him to leave. At that time, Misuzu’s eyes sparkled and he was very motivated.

Kazama also saw in Misuzu’s decision-making process the qualities of an athlete.

“After graduating from high school, he could have gone pro, but he had a clear vision of becoming a professional player after gaining strength at the University of Tsukuba,” Kazama said. He already had the minimum requirement for an athlete to be able to get his goal sooner. From that time on, he must have set his sights on a career that would take him all over the world. I am sure that he will continue to evolve further.”

He was “one millimeter” short of the top eight, but four years later, he still hates losing. But four years from now, the man who hates to lose will surely show us a new world.

“Kaoru is not the kind of player who is satisfied with his performance here, so I am sure he will do even better next time. I would like to say, ‘Good job,'” said Kishi.
Mitsumata when he played with Kishi in elementary school. Ao Tanaka is said to have been more friendly and talkative than the less outspoken Mitsumata.

From the December 23, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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