Utah Royals FC Signs Japanese Olympian Through 2025

NWSL Awards Expansion Team Rights to Utah

July 5, 2024 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release

HERRIMAN, Utah – Utah Royals FC today announced the signing of Japanese forward Mina Tanaka. Tanaka recently departed from Kobe Leonessa of Japan’s WE League where she played 58 matches and scored 37 goals. She signs with the Royals as a free agent signing a contract through 2025 and will join the team pending receipt of her ITC.

Tanaka, 30, is coming to the Beehive state after playing 13 seasons in Japan, appearing for Tokyo Verdy Beleza from 2011-2019 and INAC Kobe Leonessa from 2020-2024 with a ten match stint on loan in Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen in 2020.

“Mina is an experienced player that can have an immediate impact on our team. Her experience will be essential for the development and culture of our young team,” said Sporting Director Kelly Cousins. “Her goal scoring record speaks for itself, and we are excited to bring her talents to Utah.”

The forward will be making her fourth major tournament appearance for Japan this summer after being named to Japan’s 2024 Olympic Roster on June 14. Japan has been drawn into a difficult Olympic group that features current world champions Spain, Brazil and Nigeria. Tanaka has appeared for Nadeshiko Japan in the 2013 Algarve Cup, 2018 Asian Cup, and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Tanaka scored in the final match of Group D in the 2023 World Cup, helping Japan rout eventual champions Spain in a 4-0 win.

Tanaka has an eye for goal, winning the Nadeshiko golden boot title four times (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). She was also named to Nadeshiko League Best XI five times (2015, 2016, 2017), and won back-to-back Nadeshiko League Best Player Awards in 2018 and 2019. Representing club and country, Tanaka has found the back of the net 211 times in 308 total club appearances as well as 30 goals in 74 senior international appearances.

“After the number of discussions with team members, its mission has got me thrilled and excited, and now it has come to the stage where I’d like to show everything that I have learnt and experienced in my career.” said Mina Tanaka ahead of her transfer. “I am so determined to be a part of this club, lifting the team to the level to compete in the championship title race. I look forward to my journey at Utah, and I appreciate all of your support!! We shall do this together!”

Utah Royals FC currently stand at 2-11-2, 14th in NWSL, and 10 points behind the current playoff line. Utah travels…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at OurSports Central National Women's Soccer League NWSL News…