Teenage soccer player determined to chase glory on German team（ドイツで栄光を目指す）
Soccer player Anrie Chase says he is determined to shine at German club VfB Stuttgart II.
"I'll become the best center back in the world and win the European Champions League," he said during a press conference in April at his alma mater, Shoshi High School in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.
The Japan Under-21 player's contract with the team comes into effect on July 1.
Chase -- known as one of the best defensive players in high school soccer in Japan -- was approached by several European clubs, and spent two weeks training with VfB Stuttgart last autumn.
The 18-year-old said he was inspired by Japan midfielder Wataru Endo, who plays a key role for the Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, and felt strongly his playing would improve if he joined VfB Stuttgart II, which is the reserve team of VfB Stuttgart.
Though Chase had the option to ply his trade in the J.League, he decided to hone his skills overseas.
Born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, to an American father and Japanese mother, Chase moved to Texas at the age of 3. He returned to Japan in his first year of junior high school and began playing soccer seriously at a school in the city.
Soccer officials from Fukushima Prefecture approached him while he was in his third year, which led him to Shoshi High School, a school he admires for instilling in its players excellent ball control and passing skills.
"[At first], he wasn't a good player, by any means," said high school team coach Koji Nakamura. When Chase entered the school, he was still an unknown. "He had an obedient heart and continued training hard to achieve the goals set for him. It was the key to his growth," Nakamura, 49, added.
Chase gradually improved, and was selected to represent the Japan Under-22 team while in his third year of high school. Chase says Nakamura is like a "second father" to him. Nakamura joined the national team's training camp to coach Chase.
Chase also expressed his gratitude to the high school soccer team, saying, "Shoshi High School was inspirational in terms of my spiritual upbringing."
VfB Stuttgart Sporting Director Sven Mislintat, who took part in the press conference online, said Chase is tall, a fast mover and a good passer. Mislintat added that like Endo and other Japanese players at the club, Chase works hard without boasting, and is a wonderful person.
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
【 ２０２２年４月９日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】
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