Japanese Non-league Football News

Grulla Snap Up International Keeper
Tohoku League Division 1 runners-up Grulla Morioka have announced the startling signing of 21-year-old Taiwanese international keeper Lu Kun-Chi in what is believed to be the first instance of a player from that country moving to play abroad, never mind in Japan. As a teenager, Lu participated in the Asian qualification tournaments for both the Olympics and the World Cup and is nicknamed "the Taiwanese Buffon".

The transfer to Grulla from the China Steel club has come about due to the increasing Japanese influence on football in Taiwan, where the national team is now coached by experienced former Kawasaki Frontale boss Toshiaki Imai. In the summer of 2005, ex-Jubilo Iwata coach Masakazu Suzuki visited the island to deliver a series of lectures and to hold a number of trials for promising young players.

30 Dec 06 - Yer man Lu

Yer man Lu

Shortly afterwards, Lu went to Japan himself for trials with Yokohama FC and JEF United and despite being rejected by both clubs returned for a further test at Yokohama F Marinos. In the end, Lu has finally managed to arrange a contract beginning in April 2007 with the fourth-tier Grulla, who are hoping to capitalise on the success of local rivals TDK Akita to reach the JFL and then achieve their long-term goal of a J-League place in 2010.

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