Genki Haraguchi, born on May 9, 1991, is a professional soccer player from Kumagaya city in Saitama prefecture, currently playing in the Bundesliga’s second division team Fortuna Dusseldorf. He often plays as the left wing and left half, and he excels at creating plays from dribbling and shooting after inside cuts.
He started playing soccer at his local soccer youth club, and when he was in 6th grade, he won the All-Japan Youth Soccer Tournament. As he moved up to junior high school, he also entered the Urawa Red Diamonds junior youth club, where he skipped a grade and moved right to the youth group.
Even in the youth club, he became a towering figure, and at the tender age of 17, he was registered in the top team. On May 25, 2008, he made his regular game debut in the Nabisco Cup against the Nagoya Grampus Eight.
On January 30, 2009, Haguchi became the youngest player in the history of Japanese clubs to sign a professional contract with the Urawa Reds. That year, he was made a starting member in the J. League’s opening match against the Kashima Antlers, and in the 5th match against the Nagoya Grampus Eight, he became the youngest Japanese player in club history to score a goal.
In 2011, he had established himself as a regular member from the starting match of the season, and he was able to consistently score goals in a team that was in a slump. As Urawa was fighting to stay in the J1 league, Haraguchi scored 9 goals in the J. League matches. Furthermore he was awarded the New Hero award, which is given to a player who is under 23 years old and has made the most remarkable achievements up until the Nabisco Cup semifinals.
2013 was the first year where Haraguchi managed to score double digit goals, finishing at 11. The next year, on May 25,2014, he announced that he will transfer to the team Hertha BSC in Germany’s Bundesliga.
His debut match in Hertha was in the DFB-Pokal’s first match against SC Fortuna Koln, where he was a starting player as a left midfielder. He quickly left his mark by scored his first goal after transferring to the team. While he only scored a few goals, the manager took notice of his devoted plays that helped the team, and as a result Haraguchi was used in over 30 matches in both his 2nd and 3rd year.
Yet, he rejected Hertha’s offer to extend their contract, since he was looking for options to transfer to the Premier League in the 2017-2018 season.
Since there were no offers from Premier League teams, he decided to stay in his team, but because he had refused to extend his contract, he stained his relationship with the team’s leaders. After that he was given the cold shoulder and was treated like an outsider.
Although few, he did receive opportunities to appear in matches. In 2017-18 season, he was first played in the 7th match against FC Bayern Munich, where he was part of the starting lineup. He recorded his first assist in the season after he toyed with German national team’s 3 defenders. He was later selected for the Man of the Match and the Best Eleven award, which helped restore his team’s trust.
However, in the next match against Schalke 04, right after giving up the ball, he made a dangerous tackle against an opposing player, which instantly got him removed from the game. Since he received a ban for the next two matches, this time the coach decided to completely take him out of the picture, and on January 23, 2018, they announced that Haraguchi would be loaned to Fortuna Dusseldorf.
On January 27, he was in Dusseldorf’s starting lineup and played for the entire away match against 1. FC Kaiserslautern, where he lead the team to victory with 1 goal and 1 assist. He was chosen for the Man of the Match award and many are awaiting see more from him in the future.
Meanwhile, Haraguchi had his debut in the main Japan national team on October 7, 2011, in the Kirin Challenge Cup against Vietnam. He secured a regular spot for the FIFA World Cup qualification matches that started in 2016. He scored goals in 4 consecutive matches, helping Japan move to the World Cup finals for the 6th time in a row.