The NPL TAS begins next week and one of the clubs that hopes to be in the title picture is Olympia FC Warriors.
One of their newest import player is Japanese defensive midfielder Kazuma ‘Kaz’ Kobayashi.
Kobayashi comes from Tokyo and in his earlier years played at Chuo Gakuin University before making the switch to Australia.
He is no stranger to the mainland after having spent his time playing at Burleigh Bulldogs, Nerang Eagles and most recently in the QLD Premier League with Logan Lightning FC, which included two FFA Cup appearances.
“I always wanted to play abroad at a higher level” he said.
“I’ve found in Australian football that having physical strength is very important so I challenged myself to find that in me and make it a strong quality I can bring to the pitch. I enjoyed playing at every club”
Kobayashi was playing on the Gold Coast when Palm Beach SC’s Technical Director Brett Budwee set up a meeting with Olympia’s Technical Director Nick Taylor to discuss the move.
“Kaz was recommended to me by Brett who I used to work with in the Gold Coast, I contacted him in search of a defensive midfielder with good aerial skills” Taylor said.
“From observing Kaz so far he certainly has a presence in the air, not just clearing headers but headers that set us off to counter.”
“He’s very versatile, who has shown he can play in a back three or six role. His social influence on the team is also positive with a high work rate in his own time contributing to him getting back to match fitness.”
Kobayashi’s goals were simple for him to list but knows Olympia have to work hard to achieve them.
“I want us to fight hard, to be competitive and to win the league, winning the Lakoseljac Cup as well is also a huge goal”.
Kobayashi was referring to the NPL TAS and the Milan Lakoseljac Cup which serves as Tasmania’s FFA Cup qualifying route, with the winner of the Cup being the State’s representative for the FFA Cup Round of 32.
Kobayashi closed our chat with the ultimate gratitude he has for this opportunity to play in Tasmania’s National Premier League, and also expressed his high ambitions to one day again play overseas.
“I am very happy to be here and play football in Tasmania. I have to thank Brett, Nick and all of the staff at Olympia. I will do my best for those who support me back in Japan.”
“I want to eventually play in the J-League that is my dream and I’m going to do all I can to make the dream a reality”.
Kobayashi’s first major test with Olympia will be this Saturday on the 14th March when the Warriors face South Hobart FC in the NPL TAS Summer Cup at KGV.