UOW College and Wollongong Wolves bring Japanese talent to Illawarra football
Scholarship enables midfielder Takeru Okada to combine professional sport and education
Takeru is the third international player brought to Wollongong through a scholarship program with UOW College at the University of Wollongong.
Following the initial signing of Yuzo Tashiro in 2017 and Takuya Nozawa in 2018, UOW College has continued its support for the club by providing Takeru with a scholarship to participate in its General English Language course over a period of 48 weeks.
Through an interpreter, Takeru said he was honoured to be given the opportunity to play football and learn English.
Wollongong Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire, UOW College General Manager Julie Renwick and Wolves player Yuzo Tashiro welcome latest signing Takeru Okada (second from right).
“I am looking forward to helping the Wolves win and to also learn English at UOW College. It is a very nice campus. Learning English is very important to my future. I am very grateful for the opportunity.”
UOW College General Manager Julie Renwick said the partnership provided a great boost for the College’s profile and community engagement.
“We offer many students a wide range of opportunities and being able to extend our reach through sport and other sectors of our community simply means more people have more chances to further their education.
"We are extremely happy to have Takeru help us reach more students looking for greater options for the future.”
Twenty-four-year-old Takeru hails from Kobe, Japan. He made his way through the J-League system and was on the books of J-League outfit Cerezo Osaka, along with former Wolves striker Yuzo Tashiro.
After sustaining a knee injury, Takeru fought his way back through the Japanese leagues and also spend a year at GKS Betchatow Football Club in the Polish first division. On his return to Japan, he signed for FC TIAMO Hirakata in Osaka.
UOW College scholarships have helped bring footballers Takeru Okada and Yuzo Tashiro to Wollongong.
In 2018, Takeru decided on a trip to Australia to play football and to learn English. He spent the 2018 with Corrimal Rangers FC in the Illawarra Premier League (IPL).
Takeru has been signed after impressing Wollongong Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire in a number of IPL matches and was arguably the man of the match in the Wolves trial against the Central Coast Mariners in October 2018.
Wilkshire said: “I was impressed by Takeru the first time I saw him play. My opinion of him has only grown since. He is very quick, direct, works hard, is dangerous from set pieces and will prove a real attacking weapon. In fact, I think he has the quality to play A-League football.”
Wolves Chairman Tory Lavalle said: “It is exciting to sign Takeru and we look forward to enjoying watching him play this season.
"But it is just as exciting to announce UOW College’s continuing support of the Club. Without this sort of support, it would be very difficult to make these signings.
“In addition, in partnership with the College, the club is providing educational opportunities to its players. We can’t thank UOW College enough for its support.”