The NWSL may be the American women’s soccer league, but some of their strongest players come from all around the world. This series will look at some of those internationals that you may not know a lot about. Each article will highlight their style of play, the role they play on their national team, and the role they play in their club.
This time we will be looking at Japanese international and Seattle Reign forward Nahomi Kawasumi.
What Does She Do?
Nahomi Kawasumi is a forward that plays for the Japanese national team and the Seattle Reign. She is one of four Japanese internationals playing in the NWSL: Yuri Kawamura plays for the North Carolina Courage; Yuki Nagasato plays for the Chicago Red Stars; and Rumi Utsugi is Kawasumi’s teammate for both club and country. Kawasumi has no problem scoring goals of her own, but currently she leads the NWSL with six assists on the season. Prior to playing for the Seattle Reign, she played for Japanese side Kobe Leonessa in the INAC.
Japanese National Team
Kawasumi was a member of the Japanese team when they won the World Cup in 2011 and when they were the runners-up in 2015. In addition, she took home a silver medal with her team at the 2012 London Olympics. While she has been a member of the team since 2008, she scored her first international goal against Finland in the 2011 Algarve Cup. She then scored two goals in the 2011 World Cup semi-final against Sweden after her team went down 1-0 early in the match. In her time on the national team, she has scored 20 goals in 80 appearances for Japan. She isn’t a consistent starter, but she has played with the squad for nearly a decade and definitely left an impact in critical moments.
Kawasumi has played for the Reign for the last two seasons. But perhaps her most impactful game came earlier this season in the team’s 6-2 victory over the Washington Spirit. She scored a goal of her own and tallied four assists in the match, completely dominating the Spirit defense. Last season, she scored three goals in ten appearances for the squad. So far, she has six assists and four goals in fourteen appearances this year. She is part of an attack that is unstoppable when they get going. But their performances this season have been inconsistent. Kawasumi and her teammates will need to find some consistency if they hope to make the playoffs.