Maya Yoshida Feed
Maya Yoshida Saints HistoryLast updated 01 Oct 2016
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Maya Yoshida Season Stats
Maya Yoshida BiographyLast updated 26 Sep 2016
Former clubs: Nagoya Grampus, VVV-Venlo
Nagasaki-born Maya began his footballing career with J. League side Nagoya Grampus, coming through their youth system before making his first-team debut in 2007. He was named in Japan's squad for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and made his debut for the full international team in a friendly win over Yemen in January 2010.
A year later, Yoshida was selected in the final 23 for Japan's 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign alongside new Saints teammate Tadanari Lee. He started all three of the Samurai Blue's group-stage matches but was sent off in their quarter-final win over Qatar, meaning he missed their semi-final against South Korea, but returned to start in the final versus Australia as Lee scored the winning goal to secure the trophy for Japan.
Moving to Europe
Yoshida signed for Eredivisie side VVV-Venlo in January 2010 but did not make his debut for his new club until the following season, playing 24 times as they avoided relegation via the play-offs. 2011/12 saw the defender make 37 appearances as V.V.V. again came through a relegation play-off to preserve their Eredivisie status once more. He was also awarded the Eredivisie Goal of the Season award for his acrobatic bicycle kick in a draw with PSV Eindhoven in September 2011 – one of five occasions on which he netted for VVV-Venlo.
The centre-back played in every game of his side's involvement in the 2012 London Olympic Games, captaining the side, as they reached the last four, scoring in their quarter-final win over Egypt in front of more than 70,000 spectators at Old Trafford. However, Yoshida did not take home a medal from the games as Japan were beaten 2-0 by South Korea in their Bronze Medal Match in Cardiff.
After moving to Southampton in August 2012, Yoshida made his debut as an enforced substitute during a heavy defeat at Arsenal the following month and kept his place for the next 31 Premier League games. He did not miss a minute of league football until a sustaining a pelvic injury in late April, meaning he started the final three fixtures of 2012/13 on the bench.
At the end of his first campaign in England, Maya helped Japan seal their spot at the 2014 FIFA World Cup before flying out to Brazil for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
During the 2013/14 season, Yoshida made 14 appearances for Saints, before featuring in all three of Japan’s games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Yoshida passed the 50-appearance mark for Saints during the 2014/15 campaign, and extended his contract until 2018 midway through the season.
The Japan international featured at right-back and centre-back during a successful 2015/16 campaign for Saints, helping the club to its highest-ever Premier League finish.