Japan Women’s Soccer Player Aya Sameshima Finds New Home After Earthquake and Tsunami

July 13, 2011

In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that recently hit Japan, Tokyo Electric has been much aligned for its handling of its nuclear plants and power supply. One other casualty of the situation is the disbanding of ToDen’s (short for Tokyo Denryoku) women’s soccer team. Also called TepCo, Tokyo Electric’s team called the Mareeze (supposed to be a combination of the words “marine” and “breeze”) also led to the players having to find new teams to play for.

The Mareeze’s top player, Aya Sameshima, nicknamed “Same” or “Shark” eventually found a home in the USA playing for the Boston Breakers on a free agent contract signed in early June. She is currently in Germany representing Japan in her first World Cup.

Here is a list of all the players from the Japan National Women’s Soccer Team usually referred to as Nadeshiko Japan. A video of Aya Sameshima as well as all her teammates can be seen on the Japan Football Association’s video website as well.

UPDATE: I’ve added some photos and links to photos of Aya Sameshima and other members of the team to my latest post.


1 jay@newzjapan July 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I’ve also heard that Sameshima and her teammates were by chance away when the earthquake and tsunami happened, but had to abandon everything they had left at the team dormitory… the disaster had a huge direct effect on her life.

2 Tanler July 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

Aya Sameshima will go on to become a legendary figure in Women’s professional soccer, not only in Japan, but in the United States, as well. Taking over the captaincy of the national squad after the 2012 London Olympics, Aya Sameshima will best be remembered for scoring one of soccer history’s most spectacular goals in the gold medal game of the women’s world cup held in Canada in 2015.

3 jay@newzjapan July 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

Tanler – Thanks for the comment… I hope this is an email from the future because it would be good to see continued success for women’s soccer in Japan and Sameshima as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how she does playing in Boston.

4 Mighty July 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

“Same” could be smarter player throughout the qualification from Asian last fives for London 2012 in September…

5 jay@newzjapan July 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I think this whole team has a great future. They haven’t even peaked yet, and with all the international experience they’re getting. I also like the idea of a friendly rivalry between the US and Japan. Thanks for the comment, Mighty.

6 Charles/USA July 29, 2011 at 2:25 am

Aya is a steady player that never gets beat or gives up. I enjoy watching her. I can’t wait to see Japan play again. They have such skill. Best of luck Aya playing for Boston. Go number 15.

7 jay@newzjapan July 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

American soccer fans can also dream that she may like it here and maybe settle down and get citizenship and maybe play for the US someday… but I don’t think that will happen, she’s very very “nadeshiko”.

8 Charles/USA July 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Hoping Aya is enjoying her stay in USA. It would be nice if she learned to speak English. More opportunities for her would open. Is her family ok in Japan?

9 jay@newzjapan July 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm

As far as I know the Tokyo Denryoku team lost the personal items they had in the dorms in Fukushima, but I haven’t heard any stories of them losing any family members. I’d be surprised if she didn’t know any of the victims, having stayed and played in the area.