Driving force in RUI FURUSAMA & KOTONO TAMAZAKURA's engine

Day job and Footballer. Taking on challenges for the joy of team effort.
Born in Nara in 1997. A player of Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies. Uniform number:15, Position: MF. Joined the team as its first-year player. The team won the Nadeshiko League Cup 2nd Division in 2017 and 2019; and in 2020, finished the season fourth in the 1st Division.
Entered Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. in 2020, she currently works at the office during the day and plays for Sakai Ladies.

Born in Nara in 1998. A player of Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies. Uniform number:20, Position: FW. Joined the team as its first-year player, too. She was listed in the U-20 Japan Women's National Team for French tour in April 2018. Once experienced a rupture of anterior cruciate ligament but recovered and returned to the field.
Entered Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. in 2020, she works at the office and plays football as well.

※Interviewed online on January 7, 2021.
The first season
as football players and corporate employees.
In the quarterfinals of the Empress Cup held in snowy Sendai, December 2020, Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies rallied from two-goal behind and turned it around in additional time. But the team was tied again and finally lost in a penalty shootout. Although they did not win the game, it was a great game to remember as the team showed the spirit of never-give-up and captivated the spectators with their play to the end. Furusawa and Tamazakura, who joined Cerezo Osaka Ladies U-15 as the first-year players years ago, both made the team for this memorable match. The two players have been playing for the team for ten years, and in April 2020 both started their career as Yanmar employees, taking on the challenge of being athletes and corporate employees.
We are going to ask the two players who jumped into a new environment about their 2020.
Q:As you are working as a corporate employee, what is your job responsibility? Have you noticed any changes in your mind?
Furusawa (F): I am working in the General Affairs Division. My main responsibilities are to manage the company cars and seals and process the expense reimbursements. I leave the office around 2:30 p.m. and move to the field for training. Tamazakura-san and I joined the Cerezo women's football team as the first generation when we were in junior high school, and ever since we have been playing together. We are the most experienced in the team, but at the office, I’m the least. It’s new for me as a rookie surrounded by a lot of colleagues who have much more experience and business skills.

Tamazakura (T): My main role is to support other members in the Brand Communication Division. When I was a college student, my mistake would only affect me, but in the office, many employees working for one division, it can affect more than me alone. So, I work with a sense of responsibility every day.
Q:How was the 2020 season for you?
F: It was a hard season for me. I could not play as many of games. Thanks to the support and understanding of everyone at work, I've been able to take the time for training well. I wanted to return the favor by showing a good performance in the game.

T: Even unlisted members voluntarily supported the team, so we felt the unity more as a team. I think we were able to show our efforts and unity, but unfortunately, we couldn’t win the Empress Cup.
Team efforts give the strength
to overcome difficulties.
Recovered from a serious injury, Tamazakura returned to the pitch this season. Furusawa also had a hard time to get much chance to play in the game. Difficulties make people stronger. Let’s find out what the two athletes gained from those experiences.
Q:Do you think that your background in the field has been helpful in your office?
T: When I was a college student, I injured my anterior cruciate ligament, and 4 months after my return, I had another injury. I was so depressed that I didn't want to go to physical therapy and even thought about quitting football.
However, many supporters who were waiting for my return encouraged me and my former coach pushed me forward, telling that there are things I can only do at the time. Thanks to their supports, I am still playing football. The hard time gives me confidence that I can overcome any difficulty at work as well. While I was injured and away from the game, I seriously thought about what I could do for the team and realized the importance of supporting my fellow players. Now I am more aware of the role I should play for the team.

F: I had a hard time that I couldn't play the games at all in my high school years, too. Various bad thoughts came to my mind and I struggled more, but I finally got over that situation. Now, I became tougher even if things don’t go well. Even though I didn’t have enough opportunities to play this season, I've been practicing with the determination that I would never give up. At work, I sometimes feel confused by unfamiliar things, but I never get discouraged to learn.
Q:When do you feel you have accomplished in football?
T: Of course, I feel happy and accomplished when I score a goal or assist a teammate to score, but the best moment is when we can show the result of our training in a game.

F: When we won the Cup with our team efforts, I was full of emotion that cannot be expressed in words. Maybe it was because it has been difficult. In this league, we haven't won a championship yet, but I want to feel that indescribable emotion and share it with the team.
In fact, Furusawa and Tamazakura have known each other since they were elementary schoolers. Although not directly expressed in words, the way each of them overcame the difficult time has inspired each other. They must have felt more about their teammates and supporters as they got their jobs at Yanmar.
Being myself with the spirit of never-give-up
both at work and in football.
In the 2021 season, the Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies will play in the 1st Division of the Nadeshiko League. While the team changes drastically, I asked what they are aiming for.
Q:Tell us about your plan for football and job?
T: I want to build up my technique steadily so I can enjoy football more. I was recently inspired by Okuno’s play, Cerezo Osaka. He scores a lot, yet, takes important moves and contributes to the team. I want to play like him. As for work, I am going to gain more experience and knowledge to get a broader perspective as my colleagues who always be prepared. I would like to be more reliable.

F: As I said earlier, I’d never forget the moment when we won the first title in the 2nd Division in 2017. We all ran through the game and finally won the penalty shootout. I want to play in the championship and win it in the 1st Division, too. At work, I still have a lot to learn, but I’m working hard every day to be an expert in my division. My colleagues watch the live stream of our games and always root for me in football, I want to give it back by doing good job in the office.
Q:Tell us about your motivation to realize your dream and achieve your goal.
F: I believe there are things that you can only gain by overcoming difficulties. No matter how difficult it is, I will never give up. I could never have imagined that I was able to play football and have a job when I was in junior high school. I know it is going to be difficult, but 'm going to tackle everything with positive attitude for work and football games this year.

T: I think it's important to be myself and fulfill my role. Football is not a one-person sport, but a team sport. A team is made up of players with different skills, and it will not work if they all play the same way. Each position has its role to play, and so do each player.
Sometimes we may feel inferior to others or be jealous for those who can do better, but I will take on challenges for everything to fulfil my role and do my best both at work and in games.
Their efforts to balance work and football give us courage to take on challenges in various life stages. Although they have been footballers for about a decade, their careers at Yanmar have just begun. Please keep your eyes on the Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies and the two players’ performance!