Frauen | 03/05/2019

Japanese forward speaks to GeißbockEcho

Yuka Hirano in profile

Yuka Hirano is the surprising new signing for FC Frauen. The Japanese attacker arrived at trials around two months ago. Since then, she’s played six games and managed to score four goals. In the battle for promotion to the Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga, she could be the deciding factor.

“Läuft bei dir,” laughed Yuka Hirano, when asked which German sentences she already knew. That is one which the forward has regularly heard from her team-mates in the time she’s been at Köln. The 27-year-old has been in Germany since the end of February and doesn’t spoke much English. She teaches herself German. Or she learns it from those in the team, such as “Geh durch” and “Mag nicht kommen”.

As the Japanese national team won the Women’s World Cup in 2011, Yuka was 19 years old. Like lots of other Japanese footballers, the desire developed to become a footballer – preferably abroad. Through the Düsseldorf-based agent, Yoshi Matsuo there was contact made to FC. As Matsuo asked head coach, Willi Breuer, whether or not she could take part in trials, he said: “Send her over.” The FC Frauen are, unlike the other teams with bigger budgets, dependant on such networks. “Yuka’s example shows us, that FC is a good location for players from abroad. It’s a win-win situation in the end: we get a good player, and they can present themselves well with us,” said Breuer.

Brace on debut

Yuka Hirano has certainly presented herself and shown what she can do. After trials with the reserves, a playing permit was immediately requested. In the following three games, she helped the team with her goals. On her debut on 24th February, she managed to score a brace.

“Then we decided to promote her,” commented Breuer. For the last seven weeks, Yuka has been a part of the first-team. She’s played six games in that time, won five of those and scored four goals. On her first appearance, she managed to score the opener just before the end of the game. She also managed to score against table-topping Wolfsburg and Essen. “Läuft bei dir,” say her colleagues. In the game against Wolfsburg she showed the data system what the coaches already knew – after running 11,9km, she ran more than any other FC player.

“She has a great work ethic. Yuka keeps on running, battle and is also super strong. She takes care of all her tasks, whether she’s on the six, on the 10 or on the left,” explained Breuer. “If Yuka remains in Germany a year longer, then we would definitely give her a contract and tie her down for longer.”

The 27-year-old still doesn’t yet know, how long she will remain in Germany for. Her goal is to play in as many different footballing countries as possible, preferably in Europe and America. “I want to get to know different cultures and experience as many things as possible,” she smiled.

“Yuka is always smiling,” said her coach. She admits herself, that she only understands a little. “In German and English, I can’t say much – but with a smile you can also communicate,” she commented. And let’s the success speak for itself. After the most recent results, 16 points from the last six games have catapulted the Frauen into third on 41 points. At the moment, that’s enough to earn promotion back to the Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga.

Normally, the first two teams are promoted. However, due to the teams in first and second being the reserve sides from Bundesliga teams, FC are technically in the first promotion place. “I’m looking forward to the chance to celebrate a new level at FC. That the first-team and the women were relegated in the same season and could get promoted in the year after, that’s never happened before. It would be something special and would definitely be a special celebration.”

Remaining games for the Frauen:

Matchday 24: FSV Hessen Wetzlar - 1. FC Köln, 5th May, 14:00 CEST.

Matchday 25: 1. FC Köln - 1. FC Saarbrücken, 12th May, 14:00 CEST.

Matchday 26: FSV Gütersloh - 1. FC Köln, 19th May, 14:00 CEST.

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Total table
PL. Team Pt.
16 Fortuna Düsseldorf 12
17 SC Paderborn 07 8
18 1. FC Köln 8