Hyundai A-League 2010 Champions Sydney FC today re-signed 25-year-old midfielder Hiro Moriyasu to a new two-year contract.
A lot can happen in twelve months. Just ask Hirofumi Moriyasu.
On the verge of giving the game away in late 2009, the 25-year-old Japanese born midfielder arrived in Australia in January for one last shot at a professional footballing career. Within months of taking to the pitch for New South Wales Premier League club APIA Leichardt, Moriyasu was invited to trial with Sydney FC where his impressive work quickly earned him a one-year deal.
Fast forward 10 Hyundai A-League games and the unheralded midfielder today signed a new two-year contract that will keep him at the club until at least the end of the 2012/13 season.
He will also play an important role in the Sky Blues upcoming Asian Champions League campaign.
“It feels great [to have a new contract]. This is what I wanted. I have been playing for Sydney for six months now and there is a distinct atmosphere and environment here, the coaching staff is excellent and the players have been very friendly to me so I am really glad to have a new two-year contract,” Moriyasu said.
“It has been a new experience for me. Sydney FC has been very kind and has looked after me and has made it easier for me to fit into the team. The players have been great which has helped me settle in.
“The A-League is a tough league. Every team is very competitive. For me, the physicality is tough because I am not that big but I am adjusting.”
After a string of excellent performances in the preseason, Moriyasu made his A-League debut in round three against the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 21 August before progressing into the Sky Blues starting line-up three weeks later. Since, he has started in five of Sydney FC-s next six games.
Moriyasu said he owes a lot of people thanks for where he is today but singled out APIA President Tony Raciti, the man who took him under his wing when he arrived.
“There are a lot of people that helped me get to here and in particular Tony Raciti and the club APIA Leichardt,” Moriyasu said. “They were the first team to give me a chance to play in Australia and I played well there and Tony helped me get the trial at Sydney FC and I think that is why I am here right now.”
Sydney FC Vice-Chairman Scott Barlow said the retention of Moriyasu was a key step in bolstering the Sky Blues squad going forward.
“Hiro has an excellent work rate. He is effective in both attack and defence and he has made the transition from the New South Wales Premier League to the Hyundai A-League with ease,” Barlow said.
“He has quickly become an integral part of the team and his rise shows that if you work hard you can achieve some remarkable things.
“We have secured a number of our key players in recent months and we expect to announce that we have retained several more of those players soon.”
Moriyasu said while it was tough being away from his family, the club, coaching staff and players had made his transition an easy one.
“My family is a big part of my life and I was always with them when I was in Japan and living in a foreign country by yourself is tough and I think everyone knows that but I am gradually fitting in and I will do my best over the next few years,” Moriyasu said.
“My girlfriend is only going to be here for a couple of days soon but only a few days because she has work in Japan. It is very strict there. You aren-t allowed many days off but hopefully she enjoys Sydney and she can make it here more often.”