Moriyasu keeps dream alive

Twelve months ago Hirofumi Moriyasu was ready to quit football and, as he puts it, ‘get a normal job’.

Twelve months ago Hirofumi Moriyasu was ready to quit football and, as he puts it, ‘get a normal job’.

Instead he booked a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Sydney, preparing to give a professional career one final shot after struggling to shine in Japan’s third-tier (J3) league.

The defensive midfielder hooked up with NSW Premier League club APIA Leichhardt after a chance meeting put him in touch with the club’s chairman – and immediately showed he deserved to be on a bigger stage.

Signed by Sydney FC in July on a one-season deal with no guarantees for the future, Moriyasu’s impressive form in 10 Hyundai A-League games has convinced the Sky Blues to extend the deal a further two years.

The 25-year-old smiles when recalling how close he came to swapping an on-field role for a gig looking after youth players in Japan.

“Last year I was about to quit and get a normal job…do a coaching job,” Moriyasu confirmed on Thursday.

“I spoke with some people I knew and they gave me a spot with a kids’ school.”

“I was about to start there before I decided to came over here.”

“I thought about going to Australia and the two weeks later I bought a ticket and flew into Sydney.”

True to his ‘take every day as it comes’ attitude, the American-born Moriyasu had no concrete plans beyond this season.

It was a case of Sydney or bust – and a plane back home.

“I was hoping to play well to get my contract extended and I got it extended so I am happy,” he said.

“I really love playing for Sydney FC so I didn’t have to think about it (moving elsewhere).”

“It is wonderful I’ve got another contract.”

“The A-League is a tough league. Every team is very competitive and the physicality is tough because I am not that big, but I am adjusting.”

Moriyasu’s immediate goal is to help Sydney climb away from the A-League cellar.

But he admitted the prospect of playing on Asia’s biggest stage in the 2011 Champions League excited him, especially the chance to play against his countrymen.

Most of those Japanese players lining-up against the FC midfielder will be getting their first look at the player forced from his homeland to keep a football dream alive.

“I am really excited because there are going to be a lot of top Asian clubs there,” Moriyasu said

“There is also a Japanese club and if I get to go back there and play as a Sydney FC member then that would be fantastic.”