My blog

Hello people. How is it all going? My name is Naoki Imaya. I just started a blog or a diary, whatever you like to call it. My home page is but its under construction at the moment, and yes, i think it is in japanese :p im gonna try and fix that though, so you can read it in english as well.
Little bit about myself, i was born in Japan and came to sydney at 10yrs old due to my dad's work and also to pursue my parents dream to live in an english speaking country. Im a professional footballer, or a soccer player as you may like to call it in other countries. Ive played in Australia and Switzerland, and right now i'm injured with a broken leg.
I am off to New Zealand for the new elite football comp, that commences this year in Australia called A-league. The league consists of 7 teams from AUS and 1 from NZ and that team is New Zealand Knights. Ive signed for 1 season with them and hoping to recover from this injury early as possible to get back on the park.
well, thats my intro, i will wirte again. take it easy

still can't walk

Not that i was going for them, but Man Utd shud've won the FA cup. Arsenal played well at the start and then it was all Man U. Disappointing game for me as Fabregas, my 2nd favourite player at the moment (after Ronaldinho) didnt have a good game. How good is that bloke? 17? gotta be feke passport!
Anyways NZ knights said to have signed 18 players already..... but havent been announced yet.
hmmmmmm, theres few players still available at blacktown. and ex blacktown player simon catanzaro is looking for an A-league club. if u sign catta, we'll just hit cross bars all day! ( sorry, personal joke)
Champions league, later tonight..... hey joel, u shud've put money on liverpool like you said when they were paying $26! rather than spending money on a horse. aaaaaaaand i have a feeling they might just win. But my feeling is usually wrong, just like when im playing the pokies.
Im offski for now, but i will try and keep the English journals coming as much as possible.

yea, still on crutches

Liverpool aye. Gerrard, what a 2nd half! captain at 24? you gotta be kidding. I got goose bumps when Liverpool made it 2-3. Milan must have thought they would still hold on... Big was like us few weeks ago when we were winning 4-2 with 20min to go and ended up losing 4-5!
If you havent got Japanese language stored in your computer, all the jap journals i wrote must be all like boxes. if you click the Hi category on the right hand side, it will go to a page where it only has English journals.
Im heading to NZ next month, and cant wait to get back on the park. its still few months away but im sure ill still go for few nutties in cheva.
special mention to adam kwasnik. he scored in hong kong sevens for the mariners. kwas got injured during the same game when i broke my leg, and was set to miss out around 6 weeks. hes come back earlier and sounds like hes doing well. maybe a little biassed opinion, but hes good enough to be one of the best striker in the A-league. just stay away from the pokies man...

Japan(c'mon!) vs Bahrain(booooooooooo)

Big game tonight for Japan in the world cup qualifier against Bahrain. c'mon nakamura!
Japan missing shinji ono with a stress fracture that appeared just two days before the kick off.
ono, who is for me the best player for japan at the moment alongside with shunsuke nakamura will surely be missed by zico.
nakata will replace ono in the deeper midifeld role instead of being just behind a lone striker. huuuuuge expectation and faith shown from zico to nakata, who has not played for fiorentina in the last 9 games... but still puts him in the starting lineup to lead japan to a victory, which will almost assure japans place in germany 2006.
nakata, who is often criticised by media in japan (because they ask him million questions and he cant give them million answers) has said he is in good condition.
i hope he proves the critics wrong.

Im free, and it feels so weird to put my left foot on the ground!

Yeeees yes, Japans going to Germany 2006. They certainly look like a team capable of doing quite well in the world cup given that they still have 1 year to improve.
My team in Sydney, Blacktown will play in the finals series tomorrow against Canberra.
Canberra knocked off Sydney united which was a surprise for me as Sydney united were the best side that i played against this season.
Since coming back from Swiss and Japan, Blacktown really looked after me and i would like to thank all the staff and the committee. coaches, Brian Brown and Cliff Pointer signed for another season and i wish them all the best in the following season.
We had a great year, we were the premiers and still could do the double if we can sneak past Canberra tomorrow night.
Good luck boys! ill be on the sideline just drinking coffee and yelling some crap...


Thanks to all the people at the knights, ive settled in smoothly and can just concentrate on my leg becoming better.
The set up is sensational, and the team, well its too early to say anything.
They are great bunch of lads and actually we are going away to queensland for a week before we play Sydney on the 23rd of July.
I'm living on my own 2 min from the ground. and theres few of our boys living close by, so its all good.
The weather is actually quite good and to be honest I like what i see in New Zealand so far.
It reminds me of swiss in a way, when i see lots of green and the deep green colour in the ocean.
My legs quite good at the moment. i can walk around normally and can do few excersises with the ball already.

griffo socceroo

joel griffiths got called up for socceroo and deserved it too.
well done mate! and good luck. all the other ozs been getting a call up from swiss, and not even been playing week in week out, when joels been playing well for his club.
im still couple of weeks away from joining in full training sessions, but played in a game within
ourselves yesterday.
we are still struggling to play as a team, and the quality hasnt been at the best during training sessions.
hopefully we can gel together as a team in the near future.

Points on board!

It was definetly good to see us get a win on the weekend!
Ive actually started training with the team from last week. the fitness is still not 100%, but im
feeling ok. scored 2 goals in a game within the team. I hope im in the squad this week, away to Newcastle.


Inaugural A-league season

Looking back at this season, it was definetly not the ideal one for myself.
Obviously started the season with recovering from a broken leg, which took me to the 5th round to play my 1st game for the knights.
Then im finishing the season off with another lengthy injury i suffered 3 weeks ago when i was just starting to play well.
But i have learned a great deal over this season and im hoping to do better in the upcoming season.

People talk about luck, i believe luck comes to people who always put the extra effort in.
Whether you are in the team or not, you have to work hard. i mean especially if you are out of the team, you should really be working extra harder.Easy to say because it does kill you mentally but you gotta do it.
You start to go wrong when you start thinking, yea but im better than that guy whos playing in front of me. Well you're ovbiously not, at least in the coach's eye.
To be perfectly honest, i was devastated when i was watching the games from the sideline for few weeks in a row, and i always use to think for the player that is playing in front of me to stuff up, so i can play.
Its normal to think like that i think... but its wrong isnt it? Then i start to think different. i was more like, i hope the other players do well too, and when i get my chance and come on to the field, i just have to do better than them. then its fair(at least in my mind),

Mind can change your attitude which can change the environment. You always have excuses when you're not putting your 100% effort in.

Someone came up to me the other day and said, it must've been tough this year with injury and your team not doing well. and i was like, compare to what i went through in europe, it was absolutely nothing. Nothing is a waste in life, you can always learn and grow from every single day you face.

The knights have asked me to extend my contract. i hope this year is the year for me to go and play for real madrid! nah just kidding.
On a serious note, my ex-team mate Joel Griffiths signed a 18months contract with leeds. Definetly deserves it, congratulations. i just hope neuchatel xamax would hurry up and give him his clearance so he can start playing for leeds!

Anyway thats me, take it easy and have a good day!

A little bit about my life and academy in Tokyo...

So, it's been 3 and a half years since I've been in Japan.

For the first few months here in Tokyo, I actually worked at a so called "Dining bar" over here, which is just another fancy name for a restaurant.

I worked as a waiter, but the chef was such a nice guy and he showed me how to make some meals before the restaurant opened for it's hours.
I've always been interested in cooking and one of my goals in life is to open a cafe/bar/restaurant.
So even though the pay was low, I learnt a lot at this place and it was also a meaningful experience.

But the main reason why I came to Japan was to open my football academy where I would teach the Japanese kids, football and English.

Thanks to my parents, I was able to learn a new language and a whole new way of living, when we moved to Sydney when I was 10.

Thanks to football and English, I have made friends around the world, and would definitely like to share that experience with the kids at my academy.

The TOC academy has been running for 2 years now, and we have some of the best players in Tokyo.
But the things weren't too rosey the first year when I had absolutely ZERO students, and was basically losing money month after month.
I tried to open an academy at six different places in the first year.
Failed in every single one of them...

August, 2009, in all honesty I was actually ready to pack it up and go back to Sydney.
I started to think the things I tried to do here where I would mix football and English and to create some kind of a link between Australian football and Japanese football would not be understood by many.

In September 2009, I gave my very last shot to open an academy for the 7th time.
Till this day, I don't exactly know what clicked it, but I had something like 98 kids turn up in just 4 sessions, all wanting to join the TOC academy.

I ended up taking 33 kids and was also able to do a joint Summer football camp in Sydney with our TOC partner, futbol tec which is run by Jason and Glen Trifiro.
They do and did a great job with the kids and also organising the camp.
I will be taking 9 kids next year which will make it our 3rd International camp.

It seems to get bigger and bigger as the years go by, and hopefully there would be more great surprises to come in the future.


"Aiming to be a world class player would be on anybody's mind who have tried to pursue a career in this beautiful game, but I think it is more important to aim to be a first class human being."

TOC Vision 英語動画サービス

Merry Xmas!!


Took this photo near Roppongi Hills couple of nights ago.

Next week, I will be heading back to OZ for couple of weeks, few nights in melbourne and just over a week in Sydney.

Looking forward to getting some tan back, and enjoying the OZ life.

9 of my TOC Academy kids will be attending the Sydney camp, which will be the 3rd International camp between TOC and Futbol Tec.

As for my 1st grade team, Waseda United which belongs to Tokyo 1st division, we finished the season 6th from 15 teams.
Not too bad for our first year after being promoted from the 2nd division last season.

Obviosuly much tougher than the 2nd division, but I feel we can do quite well in this league, and I am confident that next year we will finish higher than this season.

We have some exciting new players joining our squad for the next season, and although we have a long way to go yet, we will be playing more of football to entertain!!

【TOC 次回のセレクションは2月~3月。4月からは6年生が卒業して、Cクラスからも何人かA、Bクラスに上がるので低学年はチャンスです。●詳細はここをクリックしてください。】

"Aiming to be a world class player would be on anybody's mind who have tried to pursue a career in this beautiful game, but I think it is more important to aim to be a first class human being."

TOC Vision 英語動画サービス

Nadeshiko takes out silver medal!


Nadeshiko Japan, women's national football team, have won silver medal at the London Olympics.

I woke up 3:30 am to watch this game, and was obviously cheering for Nadeshiko to win the tournament.
It was a re-match from the World Cup final where Japan beat USA in a penalty shoot-out to take out the World Cup for the first time ever in 2011.

That World Cup win gave a lot of hope to the people in Japan as it was soon after our Earthquake and Tsunami tragedy.

This time around in the Olympics, USA took gold medal and Japan ended up with silver.

Nadeshiko showed so much grit throughout the tournament, and this game was no different.

After being down 0-1, Nadeshiko seem to take control and had better opportunities but could not convert.

Both teams had chances in the 2nd half, but a great strike from Lloyd gave USA a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Ogimi, who was outstanding for Nadeshiko in the Olympics pulled 1 goal back and Iwabuchi, who had come on in the latter stage of the game had the golden opportunity to equalise with few minutes left, but only for Solo to keep the shot out.

Definitely, definitely was a game worth waking up for and although we lost the match, I was so moved by these Nadeshiko girls just like in the World Cup.

We have a lot to learn from this team!

Life in Tokyo since 2008!

It's been a while since I wrote an English journal, but here it is...

2008 was the year I came to Tokyo, and it has been about 4 and a half years.

Things weren't all rosy in the beginning, in fact quite the opposite.

Worked as a waiter from 4pm-11pm at Roppongi to pay the rent, and get my proper Japanese back! :)

In the morning till I went to work at the restaurant, I met people, and met people , and met people....
Approximately 500 people I had met in 6 months, as I counted the business cards I had exchanged.

Told them about how I wanted to build my TOC academy in Tokyo for Japanese kids to learn English & Football at the same time and create more of a global footballer.


A lot of them liked the idea, but was very difficult to get it off the ground.

Six places I had convinced to open the academy.

I failed at all six places...

Sometimes it was because of , no kids turning up, sometimes the kids showed up, but it wasn't enough to convince the owner of the ground...


Out of the guys I met in the first 6 months, a guy called Tom Byer took me under his wing and helped me out as he took me to his Adidas jobs around Japan as his assistant coach.

Not just financially this job helped me out, Tom game me some very useful pointers as a coach which I still follow.

The seventh place I had tried to open the TOC academy was at an university ground.

Waseda University is one of the most prestigious university in Japan, and was very lucky to meet Mr Iwasaki who helped me out to start the academy at Waseda.

Till this date, I do not know why so many kids turned up, but just in the first months alone 98 kids came for a trial.

I took 33 kids, and in October 2009, after 1 and a half years since I've been in Tokyo, I had finally began my TOC academy.

These days, I have 3 classes going, and go back to Sydney every year with several kids on an exchange program with futboltec academy based in Sydney.


2013 will be our 4th camp together, and expected to be our biggest one yet!
Very very much looking forward to it!!

I had also gave up the weekend job in 2010 as I became the coach of Waseda United in the Tokyo 2nd division.

Right now, we are in the Tokyo 1st division, and looking to get promoted into the Kanto Regional League.


As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

I am still learning the Japanese way, but also have been able to introduce some of the Australian lifestyle and the mentality. :)

Few things I had learnt since I've been in Japan:

Meeting new people brings you luck.

Do something you really love.

Do things for the people around you and the kids to better their life.

Appreciate everyday, and live each day as if it was your last.

Thanks for reading, I am now off to my academy!!

TOC English & Football Academy in Tokyo, Japan

Just one more day for my year 6 TOC players to attend and they will graduate.

Can't quite believe TOC will be in it's 5th year from April.

It's always sad to see the players off but some will move onto very good clubs.

Notably Yuki and Hiroki who will enter the youth system at FC Tokyo.

Yuki was also the captain of the National Canon boys team as him and Rikuto were selected into the 14 man squad.

Yuta, from our first year of TOC players, will be playing for one of the best youth team in Japan, Kashiwa Reysol.

Sai, a year 3 student will also be playing for Kashiwa Reysol in the U10 squad.
Another special player in my opinion.

Few have been selected in the Tokyo Verdy and the FC Tokyo advance program.

So quite a lot has happened at TOC in the first 4 years alone, but I'm sure there will be more to come.

Speaking of it, I will be opening a 2nd TOC Academy in Tokyo, at a place called Shinkiba.

The link is in Japanese, but it's for players around the age of 6-15.
One week of coaching in Japanese and one week of English.

Hopefully there will be more exciting things at TOC to happen in the future and seeing more exciting players!!

NZ (All Whites) VS Japan

First of all, I want to congratulate Neil on taking the New Zealand national team for the first time.

I saw very young but exciting bunch of players with a footballing style where it was a joy to watch.

Couple of early mistakes saw them go down 0-4 against a very good Japanese side mind you.

But with Neil's tactical adjustment, we saw much more of an even contest and in the 2nd half we saw New Zealand being the better side and creating more chances.

With what I saw in the 2nd half, the players moving off the ball, taking care of each pass and touch, getting behind their defense, trying to play football, I saw a new era in football New Zealand which could be something very promising and exciting.

Perhaps with Rojas being fit to play, it may have ended 3-4 or 4-4 you never know.

Either way, I was very happy to catch up with my former team mates in Tokyo and wish football New Zealand all the best in the years to come.








A-League and J-League sign historic co-op agreement

Bridging the gap between Australia and Japan.

What a great move for both the Japanese and the Australian football.

Our relationship with the Futboltec academy in Australia run by Glen Trifiro & Jason Trifiro is a tremendous way for our Japanese kids and the Australian kids to integrate on a cultural exchange program which has been going on every January since the year 2010.

It took my company and my partner in OZ, Nikola Mandic over 6 years to bring one Australian player to Japan, our first one being Nathan Burns to FC Tokyo.

My brother Ken Imaya being the JFA licensed agent for my company to make the deal possible.
(We have sent 15 players into the NPL with one going on to the A league, Kojiro Kaimoto.)

This article below was written in the year 2008 when I had just retired as a player and was about to start something not knowing where it could lead to...

Slowly and slowly things have become a reality and can't be any happier for these relationships to continue.

Asakusa visit. An interesting place if you have some spare time.

Went to Asakusa the other day with the missus.
Traditional area in Tokyo which was bombed during the WW2 and was rebuilt after the war.
Found a lot of wholesaler and was able to find a really nice black leather shoes for $50!!

I wouldn't say it's a must place to visit but if you have a spare half a day or something, it wouldn't be too bad.

Caught up with Burnsy and his gf in Kichijoji, a city voted by a lot of Japanese residents as the most livable city in Tokyo.
Went for a walk in Inogashira Park after dinner and we saw plenty of Pokemon hunters around the area!! Lol

Hoshino Resort Kinugawa, an amazing getaway and a place to stay in Tochigi, Japan

Spent few days at my wife's hometown and at her mum's place.

Stayed a night at Hoshino Resort Kinugaya, which was an amazing place to say the least with a top view, hot spring bath, splendid food and all that with first class hospitality.

The sky rope way and the trip down the river on a small boat was a great experience!
Looking forward to going back to work from today again!!

Metting up with my former team mate, Zenon Caravella in Tokyo at my Football Academy

Great to catch up with my former team mate Zenon Caravella in Tokyo at my academy.
It's been about 10 years since we last met but nothing has changed! Good times.

TOC Football Academy is held in Shinkiba, Yokohama, Higashifushimi(Inside Waseda University).

We coach kids from 6-15 years old in English & Japanese and English speaking kids always welcome.

Contact Naoki on 080-4955-0019 or e mail us at