Shinji Okazaki, born in April 16th 1986, is a professional soccer player from Hyogo prefecture Takarazuka city and is currently part of England’s Premier League’s Leicester City F.C.
With a height of 174 cm, he is definitely not blessed with the best physical attributes, but on the other hand, his tenacity and unyielding spirit has helped the team in both offense and defense and all possible situations. In the 2015-2016 season Okazaki was one of the main forces in leading the Leicester, who were often fighting in relegation matches, to their first league championship victory in 132 years from when the team was first founded.
In 2005 after graduating from his local Takigawa Daini Junior High School in Hyogo prefecture he joined Shimizu S-Pulse. When he first joined the team he wasn’t a highly valued player, but with the limited time that he was given, he continued to produce results and in 2008 he scored 10 goals in the J. League. Gradually he managed to establish himself as an attacking player. It was during this time that he started getting offers to represent Japan and in 2010 he appeared in the FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa. He was sent in the pitch in the middle of the match against Denmark and by scoring a goal through Keisuke Honda’s assist, helping the team advance to Round 16, he cemented his position in the national team.
In 2011 he decided to transfer to Germany’s Bundesliga’s VfB Stuttgart. By moving to the foreign scene, he was also able to up his career. Because Stuttgart was struggling to avoid relegation, the team focused mostly on defense and thus it was difficult for Okazaki to score points, but after he joined 1.FSV Mainz 05 he scored over 10 goals for 2 seasons in a row, increasing his value in the eyes of Europeans.
In 2015 Shinji signed a contracted with England’s Premier League’s Leicester City FC. Because Jamie Vardy, England national team striker, is already on the same position,
Okazaki wasn’t always in the starting lineup and thus his goal count also dropped considerably comparing to his time with Mainz. However in their match against Newcastle United F.C. in their home stadium, King Power Stadium, he left a strong impression with his overhead kick. Moreover, his active play in the team earned team’s first league title.
Following his appearance on the national team in 2010, he played again in the 2014 World Cup, held in Brazil. In the 3rd match against Columbia they lost, but he managed to score a goal, making the final result 1-4. Presently he is fighting for Japan’s national team and in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (AFC) match against Thailand, Okazaki scored his 50th international goal, which made him the 3rd player after Kunishige Kamamoto and Kazuyoshi Miura with the most goals scored in the Japan national team’s history.