Another Chance at Soccer Life

Utsugi transferred from Montpellier HSC in France, where she played 101 games and scored 19 goals. She is also the new captain of the Japanese national team.
“France is my second home,” she said. “Part of me would like to continue to play there, but more than that I would like to grab this chance as the second half of my soccer life. I also would like to know the play-style and culture of the United States, which is the top-ranked country of the women’s soccer.”
Utsugi marked a goal in her debut match on July 9 as Kawasumi scored two goals in her returning game on July 2.
“[Utsugi] had a terrific tournament and showed she can perform in high-pressure situations against some of the world’s most talented players and teams,” Harvey said.
According to Utsugi, Asian culture is not so integrated throughout Montpellier, located in Southern France. She said that Seattle is a very comfortable city to live because of the mature Japanese community. The Japanese player added that the teammates are welcoming and very friendly.
“It takes a lot of time to become a member of new team,” Utsugi said. “I will not rush but will do a little. I will do my best to be a member of this team. I would like to be a secret weapon as the source of points for team victory.”
“Through this experience, I would like to get my soccer life mature,” she added.
The Seattle sports community has recently added five Japanese professional athletes including Kawasumi and Utsugi of the Seattle Reign FC, Hisashi Iwakuma and Nori Aoki of the Seattle Mariners and Ramu Tokashiki of the Seattle Storm.
In soccer, the addition of the Japanese players may be a key aspect for the Reign FC to pursue playoff opportunities in the rest of its five games.
“I want to step over the top four line, play play-off and win the championship,” she said. “… I want to win every single game.”
Utsugi also enjoyed her new challenge in the U.S. soccer.
“I came to the completely new team, so I am trying as a new player and want to achieve things by one and one no matter what I came through in my career,” she said. “At the same time, I hope this will be a help for the Japanese soccer to be better.