is a former Japanese footballer
, and is currently the president of two clubs; the J. League
Division 2 club Yokohama FC
and the English League One
side Plymouth Argyle F.C.
Okudera was the first Japanese footballer to play professionally in Europe, as well as being the first Asian football player to score in the European Cup
, in the semi-final match against Nottingham Forest F.C.
and made 32 appearances – scoring 9 goals – with the Japanese national team
Okudera began his playing career in 1970 as an employee of Furukawa Electric Co Ltd., whose soccer team played in the corporate Japan Soccer League
, the top flight league in Japan at the time. In the summer of 1977, during the team's trip to Germany
, he was spotted by Bundesliga
club 1. FC Köln
manager Hennes Weisweiler
. 1. FC Köln made a contract offer. Okudera made his debut on October 5, 1977, becoming the first Japanese player to play top flight football in Europe, and Köln won the Bundesliga title that year.
After Weisweiler left Cologne during the 1980/81, Okudera joined second division Hertha BSC
. Although Hertha missed promotion to the first division, he joined the newly promoted Werder Bremen
, whose coach Otto Rehhagel
saw his play when the two sides met and offered a contract. Between 1981/82 and 1985/86, Bremen finished second in the league three times.
In the summer of 1986, Okudera returned to his old Japanese... Read More