Norio Sasaki

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Norio Sasaki
佐々木 則夫
Norio Sasaki 2015.jpg
Sasaki in 2015
Personal information
Full nameNorio Sasaki
Date of birth (1958-05-24) 24 May 1958 (age 61)
Place of birth Obanazawa, Yamagata, Japan
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1977–1980 Meiji University
Senior career*
1981–1991 NTT Kanto 25 (2)
Teams managed
1997–1998 Omiya Ardija
2006 Japan Women U-17
2007–2010 Japan Women U-20
2008–2016 Japan Women
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Norio Sasaki(佐々木 則夫,Sasaki Norio, born 24 May 1958) is a former Japanese football player and manager. He is the former head coach of the Japan women's national team. He served as coach of the Japan women's U-20 national team starting in 2007, and was named coach of the national team in 2008. He coached the team in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, where they defeated the United States on penalty kicks to win their first FIFA Women's World Cup. [1] He retired as head coach in March 2016. [2]

Japan Island country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Japan womens national football team womens national association football team representing Japan

The Japan women's national football team, or Nadeshiko Japan (なでしこジャパン), represents Japan in women's association football and is run by the Japan Football Association (JFA). It is the most successful women's national team from the Asian Football Confederation. Its highest ranking in the FIFA Women's World Rankings is 3rd, achieved in December 2011.


Playing career

Sasaki studied at and played for Teikyo High School and Meiji University. At Teikyo High School, he won the national inter-high school competition as team captain. His high school club also advanced to the semi-final at the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament.

Meiji University private university in Tokyo, Japan

Meiji University is a private university with campuses in Tokyo and Kawasaki, founded in 1881 by three Meiji-era lawyers, Kishimoto Tatsuo, Miyagi Kōzō, and Yashiro Misao. It is one of the largest and most prestigious Japanese universities in Tokyo according to major college-preparatory schools in Japan.

All Japan High School Soccer Tournament

The All Japan High School Soccer Tournament of Japan, commonly known as "Winter Kokuritsu", is an annual nationwide high school association football tournament. It is the largest scale amateur sport event in Japan, even as soccer continues to gain more attention.

After graduating from Meiji University, Sasaki started to work for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone and joined company club NTT Kanto. He was a midfielder/defender. He contributed to the club's promotion to Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1986.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Japanese telecommunication company

The Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, commonly known as NTT, is a Japanese telecommunications company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked 55th in Fortune Global 500, NTT is the fourth largest telecommunications company in the world in terms of revenue, as well as the third largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota and MUFG, as of September 2018.

Omiya Ardija association football club

Omiya Ardija is a professional association football club based in Ōmiya in Saitama, Japan. Its "hometown" as designated by the league is the whole of Saitama city, which is shared with neighbours Urawa Red Diamonds. Omiya competed in the J1 League following an immediate promotion in 2015 after being relegated in 2014. Omiya was relegated again following the 2017 season. They competed in J1 2005 and continued to remain until 2014, following promotion from J2 in 2004 as the second placed team. The team currently competes in the J2 League.

Japan Soccer League

Japan Soccer League, or JSL, was the top flight football league in Japan between 1965 and 1992, and was the precursor to the current professional league, the J. League. JSL was the second national league of a team sport in Japan after the professional Japanese Baseball League that was founded in 1936. JSL was the first-ever national league of an amateur team sport in Japan.

Sasaki retired from playing at the age of 33.

Coaching career

Sasaki served as the head coach of Japan Football League side Omiya Ardija in 1998, then took various other positions at Omiya, including the youth team head-coach and the head of development.

Japan Football League (1992–98)

The former Japan Football League was an association football league that existed from 1992 to 1998. Also known as the JFL, it was the 2nd tier of the Japanese football hierarchy following J.League.

In 2006, Sasaki became the assistant coach of Japan women's national football team, as well as the head coach of its U-20 team. In 2008, he was promoted to the head coach of the national team, succeeding Hiroshi Ohashi.

The Japan women's national under-20 football team is a national association football youth team of Japan and is controlled by the Japan Football Association.

Hiroshi Ohashi is a former Japanese football player and manager. He managed Japan women's national team.

Under Sasaki's reign, Nadeshiko won the EAFF Women's Football Championship in 2008 and again in 2010. He also led the Japan Women to a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

2008 EAFF Womens Football Championship

The Second EAFF Women's Football Championship was a football competition held from February 18 to February 24, 2008 in Chongqing, China. Japan won the second edition by beating its opponents to finish first, DPR Korea finished second. The winner of the tournament received 50,000 US Dollars, the runner up 30,000, the third placed team 20,000 and the fourth placed team 15,000.

The third edition of the EAFF Women's Football Championship was held in 2010, with a preliminary qualification tournament held in 2009.

2008 Summer Olympics Games of the XXIX Olympiad, held in Beijing in 2008

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad and commonly known as Beijing 2008, was an international multi-sport event that was held from 8–24 August 2008 in Beijing, China.

Sasaki and his team won the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, which upset host nation Germany and then Sweden to reach the tournament final, and beat the United States 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out in the final. Nadeshiko became the 19th recipient of Japan's People's Honour Award for winning the World Cup. On 9 January 2012, Sasaki was awarded the Women's Best Coach Award in the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or. [3]

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sasaki led Japan to their first Olympic medal, a silver, after reaching the final but losing 2-1 to the United States in the final.

At the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, Sasaki, who attempted to become only the 2nd coach since Vittorio Pozzo's Italian team 77 years ago to win two FIFA World Cup finals, oversaw a 2nd-place effort, as the Japanese lost 5-2 to the USA in the final.

At 2016 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, following Japan's failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Sasaki stepped down as head coach of the team. [2] He was succeeded by Asako Takakura.


Managerial honours

Japan Women

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  1. なでしこジャパン(日本女子代表チーム)新監督に佐々木 則夫氏が就任! (in Japanese). Japan Football Association ( 7 December 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Sasaki steps down as Japan coach after Rio failure". Equalizer Soccer. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. "FIFA Ballon d'Or: Norio Sasaki". FIFA. Retrieved 12 October 2012.