Kengo Nakamura, a Chuo alumnus and a veteran member of the Japan national soccer squad, gave a special lecture at his alma mater. On December 21, the big No. 3 hall at the Tama campus was jam-packed with students who wished to get a glimpse of their hero’s triumphant return. The event was organized by the Faculty of Letters, where he had majored in English literature.
Nakamura spoke mainly about his college days and his experiences after becoming a J.League pro at his lecture, which took the form of his dialogue with Ken Sato, general manager of Chuo’s soccer team.
A native of Tokyo’s Kodaira, Nakamura played at the 2010 FIFA South Africa World Cup as a member of the team first coached by Ivica Osim and then by Takeshi Okada. A defensive midfielder in his J.League team Kawasaki Frontale, he is still active in the national squad managed by Alberto Zaccheroni. Being 175 cm tall and weighing 66 kg, he is not quite physically blessed. But he has built his present position by taking advantage of his abundant quantity of motion and extraordinary skill of delivering the ball to the forward. In fact, he is one of the only three university graduates active in the national team.
During his Chuo days, Nakamura saw his team relegated to the second division of the Japan University Football Association after staying in the first division for 52 consecutive years. He began his pro career in Kawasaki Frontale, then a petty J2 (second division) club. What has brought him to his present glorious status?
“Each time I was disappointed and frustrated, I asked myself, ‘What was wrong?’ That soul-searching has been my motivation,” he told his audience. However, this writer felt his success primarily comes from his undaunted aspirations and uncompromising routine practice.
The 32-year-old Nakamura said, “I always tell myself I can still grow stronger,” adding he wants to challenge an opportunity to play in an overseas league. He said he tries to resist temptations in abiding by his own rules for self-control – to continue playing without worrying about a slump or highs and lows, do his utmost in daily practice, keep a balanced diet and get an injury completely cured. Probably, everyone will understand the difficulty of keeping routines just because to do so does often look rather easy. While we aren’t a top-notch athlete like Nakamura, we can perhaps aspire for further self-development by making much of simple but not easy routine work.
Written By : Kento Isogai