Norio Sasaki

Norio Sasaki

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is the head coach
Head coach
A head coach, senior coach or manager is a professional at training and developing athletes. They typically hold a more public profile and are paid more than other coaches...

 of the Japan women's national football team
Japan women's national football team
The Japan women's national football team, or Nadeshiko Japan , is a selection of the best female players in Japan and is run by the Japan Football Association . Japan defeated the U.S...

 and a former association football player. He served as coach of the women's U-20 team starting in 2006, and was named coach of the national team in 2008. He coached the team in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, which upset host nation Germany and then Sweden
Sweden women's national football team
Sweden women's national football team are a football team officially representing Sweden in women's football. They won the unofficial European Championships in 1984, a success the team has not managed to repeat, it has however won one World Cup-silver as well as three European Cup-silvers...

 to reach the tournament final, where they defeated the United States on penalty kicks to win their first FIFA Women's World Cup
FIFA Women's World Cup
The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the...

.

Career


Sasaki studied at and played for Teikyo High School and Meiji University
Meiji University
is a private university in Tokyo and Kawasaki, founded in 1881 by three lawyers of the Meiji era, Kishimoto Tatsuo, Miyagi Kōzō, and Yashiro Misao. It is one of the largest and most prestigious Japanese universities in Tokyo, Japan....

. At Teikyo, he won the national inter-high school competition as team captain. His high school club also advanced to the semi-final at the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament
All Japan High School Soccer Tournament
The of Japan, commonly known as "Winter Kokuritsu" , is an annual nationwide high school association football tournament. It is the largest scale amateur sport event in Japan, even as soccer continues to gain more attention....

.

After graduating from Meiji, Sasaki started to work for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
, commonly known as NTT, is a Japanese telecommunications company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked the 31st in Fortune Global 500, NTT is the largest telecommunications company in Asia, and the second-largest in the world in terms of revenue....

 and joined company club NTT Kanto Soccer Club. He was a midfielder/defender. He contributed to the club's promotion to Japan Soccer League
Japan Soccer League
, or JSL, was the top flight soccer league in Japan between 1965 and 1992, and was the precursor to the current professional league, the J. League. JSL was the second national league of a team sport in Japan after the professional Japanese Baseball League that was founded in 1936...

 Division 2 in 1986.

Sasaki retired from the game at the age of 33. He served as the head coach of Japan Football League side Omiya Ardija
Omiya Ardija
is a professional football club which play in the J. League Division 1, and are based in Ōmiya-ku in Saitama, Japan. Its "hometown" as designated by the league is the whole of Saitama city, which is shared with neighbours Urawa Red Diamonds...

 in 1998. Then, he took various positions at Omiya including the youth team head-coach and the head of development.

In 2006, Sasaki became the assistant coach of Japan women's national football team
Japan women's national football team
The Japan women's national football team, or Nadeshiko Japan , is a selection of the best female players in Japan and is run by the Japan Football Association . Japan defeated the U.S...

 as well as the head coach of its U-22 team. In 2007, he was promoted to the head coach of Japan women's national football team, succeeding Koji Ohasi.

Under Sasaki's reign, Nadeshiko won the 2008 East Asian Football Championship and became the semi-finalists at the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

.

Sasaki and his team won the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup hosted by Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, beating the U.S.A
United States women's national soccer team
The United States women's national soccer team represents the United States in international soccer competition and is controlled by U.S. Soccer. The U.S. team won the first ever Women's World Cup in 1991, and has since been a superpower in women's soccer. It is currently ranked first in the world...

 on penalty shoot-outs in the final. Nadeshiko became the 19th recipients of Japan's People's Honour Award
People's Honour Award
is one of the commendation bestowed by the Prime Minister of Japan. The award is not restricted to Japanese nationals. The award was created in 1977 and Sadaharu Oh, a Taiwanese national, is the first one to have been bestowed it.-Recipients:...

for winning the World Cup.