Football column

Who are the promising youngsters in the J.League? Here are 10 players and their characteristics

There are a lot of young players in the J.League. If you’re a fan of the J.League, you’ll probably want to know which players you should be looking out for. Here we take a look at some of the most exciting young players in the J.League. We’ve also taken a look at their style of play to give you an idea of what to look out for.

Who are the best young players in the J.League?

Here are 10 of the most promising young players in the J.League.

  • Ayumu Seko (Cerezo Osaka)
  • Ryuya Nishio (Cerezo Osaka)
  • Ryotaro Araki (Kashima Antlers)
  • Takahiro Akimoto (Urawa Reds)
  • Zion Suzuki (Urawa Reds)
  • Daiki Matsuoka (Shimizu S-Pulse)
  • Shinya Nakano (Sagan Tosu)
  • Shion Homma (Albirex Niigata)
  • Yuta Matsumura (Kashima Antlers)
  • Jun Nishikawa (Cerezo Osaka)

Here are 10 players who are likely to be involved in international transfers and the national team in the future.

Let’s take a look at each of them.

Ayumu Seko

Ayumu seko
Date of birth 7 June 2000 (age 21)
Height 185cm
Weight 72kg
Position DF

The first player is Ayumu Seko from Cerezo Osaka.

He started playing J1 games in 2019 and was the team’s main centre-back in 2020. His performances have also earned him the New Hero award in the Levein Cup and the Best Young Player award in the league.

He was selected for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, although he did not play a single game.

He is already a household name among J.League fans and is expected to make his mark overseas.


Seko’s main point of interest is not only his defensive ability, but also his ability to build up the attack. In particular, his long feeds from both feet are of such high quality that they are synonymous with Seko.

In the match against Shimizu in the third round of the 2021 season, he created a chance with an accurate feed, which was featured as a remarkable play by the J.League. He also scored a goal for Japan against Argentina in March 2021, assisted by a long pass from Seko.

He is also a good defender in general and has good decision-making skills. He is a player of great ability, but his ability has been enhanced by playing under Rotina, who has a reputation for positional play.

He has a good kicking game and a good defence.

He is only 20 years old, but together with the second player, Ryuya Nishio, he is one of Cerezo’s most popular centre-backs. We’re sure the card will be worth a lot more in the future!

Ryuya Nishio

ryuya nishio
Date of birth May 16, 2001 (age 20)
Height 180cm
Weight 77kg
Position DF

The second player is Ryuya Nishio, who belongs to Cerezo Osaka.

He is in his second year as a professional centre-back and is a member of the Paris Olympic generation.

He did not feature in the 2020 Rotina squad, but in 2021 he started from the opening day of the season. In 2021, he started on the opening day of the season, but has dropped out of the starting line-up since the arrival of new coach Kogiku, who has paired him with fellow academy graduate Seko.


Nishio’s strength and ability to sense danger are his main strengths.

He handles confrontations with a calmness that makes it hard to believe that he made his J1 debut in 2021. For example, he has the strength to face strong foreign players such as Leandro Damian of Kawasaki and Diego Oliveira of FC Tokyo.

More importantly, he has the ability to sense danger. For example, in the third game of 2021 against FC Tokyo, he cleared a shot with his face just before the goal line. In another game, against Kobe, he saved a decisive chance from Douglas with a desperate run back.

He has also played at right back and left back for the team, so he may be able to develop his utility skills in the future.

He is only 20 years old, but together with Ayumu Seko, he is one of Cerezo’s most popular centre-backs. We hope the price will rise in the future.

Ryotaro Araki

Araki ryotaro
Date of birth 29, 2002 (age 19)
Height 170cm
Weight 60kg
Position MF

The third player is Ryotaro Araki, who plays for Kashima Antlers.

He is a second year professional midfielder and, like Nishio, is a member of the Paris Olympics generation.

After graduating from Higashi Fukuoka High School, he joined Kashima Antlers and scored two goals in 26 games in his first season.

In the 2021 season, he has scored nine goals and provided seven assists at the end of 32 games.

If he can increase his tally to 10 goals, he will become only the second player in J.League history to do so, and the first in 27 years.

He is the heart and soul of the team, with some Kashima supporters saying they are Araki’s team.


Araki’s skill with the ball, his touch and his dribbling are the highlights of his game.

He does it all to a high standard and is able to cut in on his own and work well with his team-mates.

He scored a goal against Nagoya on matchday 14 in 2020 with a double touch, a one-two with his team-mate and a shot that was a combination of individual skill and coordination.

He also has good trap placement, so watch out for when the ball is played to Araki in the vital area near the penalty area.

For example, his equaliser against Hiroshima in 2021 and his second goal against Tokushima came from a great trap.

These are just a few of the skills you can look out for when watching Araki.

Sorare sells limited, rare, super rare and unique cards, and although he’s only 19 years old, he’s consistently playing in matches, so the value of his cards will surely go up in a few years.

Takahiro Akimoto

Takahiro Akimoto
Date of birth 31 January 1998 (age 23)
Height 170cm
Weight 65kg
Position DF, MF, FW

The fourth player is Takahiro Akimoto who belongs to Urawa Reds.

After graduating from Kokushikan University, he joined Tochigi SC in J2. He has been playing for Urawa Reds since the 2021 season, his second year as a professional.

During his first season in Tochigi, he played 40 games (including 38 starts) and scored seven goals and provided eight assists.

As of the end of the 31st week of the 2021 season, he has played in all 31 games for Urawa Reds, starting in 27 of them.


Akimoto is a player of great utility. Utility means the ability to play multiple positions.

Originally he played up top and in the second row, and even in Tochigi he played mostly up front. At Urawa Reds, however, he has been used up top, in the second row and as the first left-back, and at the end of the season he has played 14 games at left-back and 13 in the second row and up top. At the end of the season, he had played 14 games at left back and 13 games in the second row or up top. As the season progressed, he played more and more at left back, but he also scored a goal up top against Tosu on matchday 24.

His style of play is characterised by high physical ability, stamina and a strong left foot. His ability is evident in the fact that he plays first-choice at left-back, despite his main role being up front.

Thus, Akimoto is a player who can play full-time as a left back, move up to the top, or start up front.

Sorare sells limited, rare and super rare cards, and since he is consistently playing in games, even as a starter, there is a chance that he will be called up to the national team in a few years time.

Zion Suzuki

Zion Suzuki
Date of birth 21 August 2002 (age 19)
Height 190cm
Weight 91kg
Position GK

The fifth player is Zion Suzuki, a goalkeeper from Urawa Reds.

He was promoted from Urawa’s youth team to the top flight and made his official J1 debut in 2021, making 15 appearances in the 2021 season, including six at the end of 31 games and nine in the Levein Cup. He kept four clean sheets in six league games. At one stage he even pushed guardian Shusaku Nishikawa to the bench, so he is a very promising player.

He is also a member of the Tokyo Olympic team for his performances in the league, although he was originally selected for the Paris Olympics.


Suzuki’s main asset is his shot-stopping ability. Because of his physical ability, he is often able to react quickly and make big saves. For example, he saved Iniesta’s close shot in the game against Kobe in the 15th round, and he saved Martinos’s middle shot with one hand in the game against Sendai in the 13th round.

He also has a high level of kicking and decision-making ability.

In terms of judgement, he punched an early cross towards goal against Nagoya on matchday 17.

At just 19 years old, he is a goalkeeper with a lot of potential.

Sorare sells limited, rare, super rare and unique cards. The situation continues to warm the bench at the moment, but in a few years, I think it is certain to become a regular player, so the price of the card is sure to soar.

Daiki Matsuoka

Date of birth 1 June 2001 (age 20)
Height 170cm
Weight 65kg
Position MF

The sixth player is Daiki Matsuoka, who plays for Shimizu S-Pulse. In his second year of high school in 2018, Matsuoka registered as a second-grade player with Sagan Tosu and was promoted to the top flight in 2019, where he remained until the summer of 2021. Matsuoka was one of the key players in Sagan Tosu’s successful 2021 season. Matsuoka was one of the key players in Sagan Tosu’s success in the 2021 season, so the transfer of such a key player was met with excitement by many fans.


Matsuoka’s main strengths are his ball-winning ability and his ability to sense danger.

As of November 2021, he was 23rd in the league in tackles with an average of 2.5 per game. He is also 23rd in the league in interceptions (0.3). He is one of the best defenders in the league, despite being a young player.

In the eighth game of the 2021 season against Kawasaki, he cleared a crucial shot from the edge of the box.

He is also a good defender and passer, contributing to the team in the build-up with his vertical passing. He is a good all-round defender.

On Sorare you can buy and sell rare, super rare and unique cards. Depending on his performance, the price of his cards will rise next season. This is a player to keep an eye on.

Shinya Nakano

Date of birth 17 August 2003 (age 18)
Height 173cm
Weight 64kg
Position DF

The seventh player is Shinya Nakano, who plays for Sagan Tosu. He made his J.League debut in his second year of high school in 2020, aged just 16, and signed a professional contract in July 2021. The eighth is Albirex Niigata.


Nakano’s main asset is his accurate crosses. In fact, Nakano can use both feet as if they were his own. In the third game of the 2021 season against Sendai, his left-footed cross was the assist for the fourth goal.

He is also very good in general. In the 2020 season, he played 7 of his 10 first team games at left back. In the 2020 season he played seven of his first ten games at left-back, but in the 2021 season he has started more often as part of a back three, i.e. at CB. The fact that he has been used in several defensive positions is testament to his ability.

In March 2021, he was selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Although he was not selected for the competition, he is certainly a player to watch.

The card is not yet available on Sorare, but when it is, it will certainly be a hotly contested item. If you’re interested in him, you should follow him while you still can.

Shion Homma

Date of birth 9 August 2000 (age 21)
Height 169cm
Weight 59kg
Position MF

The eighth player is Shion Honma, who plays for Albirex Niigata. He made his debut for Albirex Niigata in 2017 in the Levein Cup, made his J.League debut in 2018 in J2 and has been a key player since 2019.


Honma’s main asset is his dribbling. His dribbling speed is fast and he has the ability to take a shot and create chances. The word “dribbler” is often associated with egoism, but Homma is more like a player who uses his weapons for the good of the team. He is not a dribbler who dribbles for nothing, he is a dribbler who makes the right pass at the right moment.

He is not only a good dribbler but also a good shooter, and his midfield shot against Mito in the seventh game of the 2020 season was voted goal of the month.

His defensive awareness is also an asset. Since Alberto took over as manager of Albirex Niigata, he has been praised by fans for his defensive skills.

For example, he starts pressing as soon as he loses the ball, which shows his defensive awareness.

He is currently in J2, but just like Shinji Kagawa’s move from J2 to the Bundesliga, Honma could be on his way abroad.

The card is not yet on sale at Sorare, but when it is, it will no doubt be a hotly contested deal. If you’re interested, you should follow us while you still can.

Yuta Matsumura

Date of birth 13 April 2001 (age 20)
Height 173cm
Weight 63kg
Position MF

The ninth player is Yuta Matsumura from Kashima Antlers. After graduating from Shizuoka Gakuen High School, Matsumura joined Kashima Antlers in 2020 and made 13 league appearances in the 2020 season, scoring his first league goal in his second season against FC Tokyo on the 13th day of the 2021 season after not scoring a goal in his first season.


Matsumura’s main asset is his speed and the way he uses his speed to dribble. Matsumura is a dribbler, but he is not one to use his fine technique to get past players. He is a dribbler, but he is not a fine technique dribbler, he is a dribbler who can leave his opponent behind in a split second. In the 15th game of the 2021 season, against Tosu, Matsumura was the first player to score a goal in the space of a second. So when Matsumura has the ball in a one-on-one, keep an eye out for his speed.

The price of the card is still low on Sorare, but it will definitely go up depending on his future success. If you are interested in him, we recommend you to follow him while you can.

Jun Nishikawa

西川 潤
Date of birth 21 February 2002 (age 19)
Height 180cm
Weight 70kg
Position FW・MF

The tenth player is Jun Nishikawa from Cerezo Osaka. He was selected for the U-20 World Cup in 2019 and has been linked with interest from Barcelona. He is a player with great potential.


Nishikawa is a player with a great attacking sense. His dribbling, passing, shooting and touch are all of a high standard, and his goal against Kashiwa on matchday 10 in 2020 showed his skill with a soft one-touch finish. He can also play in a number of attacking positions for the club, including up top, on the flanks of the second row and in the middle of the park.

He is also tall and fast, which makes him more than just a technical player. Due to a number of injuries and a few professional setbacks, he has yet to achieve any significant results for his club. However, he has the potential to be a great player if he fits in with the team and is playing more and more games every year. He is a player who is sure to make his next breakthrough.

The price of his cards is still low at Sorare, but they are sure to go up in the coming years. If you are interested in following now is recommended.


In this article, we introduced 10 young players who are expected in the J League.

Not only in J1, but also in J2 there is a player of high ability, is also an interesting thing in the J League.

When you watch the game of the J League, please pay attention to their activities.


Your email address will not be published.