Football: North Carolina Courage ink Japanese attacker Kobayashi

Japanese attacker Rikako Kobayashi is set to join the North Carolina Courage of the U.S. National Women's Soccer League, her WE League club Tokyo Verdy Beleza said Monday.

The Courage said they have signed her to a two-year contract through the 2024 season, plus an option for the 2025 season. Kobayashi, who will turn 26 on Friday, played for Japan at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France but was not selected for the upcoming tournament in New Zealand and Australia.

"As we look to build upon this year so far, we were looking for a player who maintains a great soccer IQ, who has played at the international level, and someone who can come in and fit into our new style of play. Rikako does just that," Courage head coach Sean Nahas said in a press release.

Former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka is a co-owner of the North Carolina-based club. Kobayashi will join Japanese compatriot Narumi Miura at the Courage.

© Kyodo News