Football: Former Japan keeper Kawashima returns after 13 years abroad

Eiji Kawashima, Japan's principal goalkeeper at three World Cups, will return to the J-League for the first time in 14 years to play for Jubilo Iwata this year, the first-division club said Friday.

The 40-year-old Kawashima made his World Cup debut in 2010 and was a member of Japan's 2022 squad but did not play. He was capped 95 times.

"My challenge in Europe to achieve the highest possible level will not change in Japan," Kawashima wrote in an Instagram post. "I am looking forward to walking a new path from the bottom of my heart."

Kawashima turned pro out of high school with then second-division club Omiya Ardija in 2001. He also played for J1 sides Nagoya Grampus and Kawasaki Frontale before leaving to play in Belgium in the summer of 2010.

He was last with France's Strasbourg, whom he joined in August 2018, but has been without a team since the end of the last European season.

© Kyodo News