Football (Japan) Lost in Translation

japanese football/soccer blabber in mostly english...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Omiya's Jun Marques Davidson

This week's Weekly Soccer Magazine's Humane Footballer column was an interview with Omiya Ardija's Jun Marques Davidson, defensive midfielder. When he first came to the J-league, I remember people's first reaction was "this guy's got a long name..!", and there was a little buzz of interest as he is the son of an American father and a Japanese mother. Now, though, all that is trivial as he is now getting attention for his performance as a up and comer in the J-league. Prior to the J, he was at the American Global Soccer School. I've heard that he was even being considered for the US National Youth team, but Marques had his heart set on being called to the Japan National team instead so he passed.

OT, I just learned that Omiya was partnered with Feyenoord Rotterdam. Did not know that!

Here's what Marques said in the article:
"Right now I think the biggest difference between what we experienced in J2 and J1 is the ease which one small mistake leads to giving up a goal. But on the other hand, it forces us to play games with a great deal more focus and attention, and that's exciting. As we play more and more, we get to test ourselves against the J1 level, and when I am able to see that something I am good at works on the pitch, that makes me happy. I also see the kind of things I am missing from my plays, and I know that I have to test those out more and challenge myself.

First of all, my main responsibility is defense -- nabbing those balls that come into that dangerous area in midfield, intercepting passes. But I don't want to be a defense-only kind of player, so I'd like to contribute to the offense as well and get the fans more excited about watching me and the team.

That first round game with Gamba Osaka, I think we played reasonably well in both offense and defense. But it's important to keep the quality improving as we play more and more games. The coach has said this to me before: don't be satisfied with where you are, always aim higher. That's why sometimes I am told to "be more like Viera (FranceNT, Arsenal)" -- I am in an environment where the people around me won't let me be satisfied with myself. I am always aware of the need to keep improving one step at a time.

Previously, I just had to contribute to defense and get the ball to teammates for the attack. But now I think I'm getting better about going forward by dribbling up with the ball myself or by running up to the front lines and adding numbers there. If I can increase these kinds of plays, I think I can be a bigger presense on the pitch.

My position requires me to rob the ball back from the opponent. But it's that moment after I get the ball which the coach has told me to be especially careful about. When we get the ball, and then are switching to offense, what I do next is very mportant. Kanazawa pairs up with me in defensive midfield, and we don't have to say much to each other to understand what the other is thinking in different situations. Who goes forward, who stays back, how we balance each other out -- it's very comfortable working with him.

But right now Kanazawa goes forward much more than I do, and if only one of us goes forward most of the time it's easier for the opponent to analyze and mark that player. So if I can participate up front more, where the two of us can add variety, I think it will allow the team to play a football that is one level higher. Our main objective is to avoid relegation, so I believe we should work and think hard to make that happen. I do think everyone on the team has conviction that we can do more, do better. I myself feel that way, and I believe there are more games that we can win. So we don't feel down or depressed -- but we know that there are games that we should have done better, and we regret (awkward translation for "kuyashii") our performance. But if we use that feeling in a positive way, to motivate us the next time, I think it will bring better results for us.

I'm really one of those people who just can't stay satisfied with myself, and in a game, I exist for the team. That's the sort of feeling with which I play football. If fans or supporters can feel that passion from me, then that makes me most happy. I want them to see/understand that part of me. "

The day of the interview for Marques: "The dormitory canteen is open from eight to nine o'clock in the morning, so I woke up at eight thirty. My breakfast was very simple: rice, barley tea, natto (fermented soy beans), and I made bacon and egg. Oh, and a small salad. Every morning is pretty much like this. Then I went to practice (behind closed doors), and lunch was at a nearby place -- had chicken donburi. After that I came here for this interview. I don't have plans for after this interview; I'm not much for making plans ahead of time. I'll just think, 'What shall I do today?' and act on whatever comes to mind."