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Japanese J1 League 2022 - Goalkeeper Guide for Sorare


The most important and usually most expensive position to buy for our Sorare squads is the GK . This makes getting the right pick very important, not only as an investment but without a starting keeper, our chances in a GW are likely decimated.

I remember when I first started on Sorare, I was in shock at the prices of keepers but it didnt take me long to realise that unlike any other position, you need to have one to actually play! I know that sounds obvious but you can get away with 1 of any other position due to the "extra" slot.

After a few mistakes in signings, my personal approach when entering a new league or division in Sorare is to research and pick the keeper first and then build around them.

The Japanese League like many others has a lot of options and also a lot of risk. I plan to go through each team by team and explain how I see things. This I hope will help you in your choices for the Asia division

Please note this page will be updated as we get more info from transfers and from pre-season training camps.


Keepers Available

  1. Nishikawa

  2. Suzuki

  3. Niekawa

Prediction - Shusaku Nishikawa

Confidence level - 90%+

Shusaku Nishikawa had an excellent 2021 season. He played 32 games in league and was crucial for them throughout not only for his skills but his leadership.

Suzuki is an excellent young keeper who gained alot of experience in the cup game last year, also winning the "new hero award". With Urawa in the ACL alongside their normal cup commitments, I can see him being used more to gain experience but for now, Nishikawa is firmly number 1.

  1. Maekawa

  2. Iikura

Prediction - ?

Confidence level - 20%

At this moment in time, I am very uncertain about who will start at Vissel Kobe. So uncertain that ive left this with the ? jersey

Vissel Kobe are reportedly actively looking for a goalkeeper. There were reports they had landed Svend Brodersen. However he has now signed a new contract at Yokohama FC.

I have Maekawa already on Sorare and am happy to just wait and watch the marker/pre season training games for hopefully more clarity on what is happening.

Keepers Available

Prediction - Kim Jin-hyeon

Confidence level - 90%+

Kim Jin-hyeon had an solid season with C.Osaka and I seeing him remaining in nets. Dang Van Lam is a very decent cover keeper who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury

Keepers Available

  1. Jung Sung-ryong

  2. Kenta Tanno

Prediction - Jung Sung-ryong

Confidence level - 95%+

Veteran keeper Jung Sung-ryong was second to Langerak in the season end player of the season awards.

He has already signed a contract for the new season and will be without a doubt the man in nets for the champions.

Keepers Available

  1. Langerak

  2. Yohei Takeda

  3. Tsubase Shibuya

Prediction - Langerak

Confidence level - 95%+

Langerak was in the 2021 Team of Year for the Japan J1 League. He also had the most clean sheets for the second time in a row.

There were some twitter rumours about him potentially being homesick, however these seem to be without much merit as he and his wife have spoken continually about being happy in Japan. Of course, its impossible to know what he is thinking/going on behind closed doors, I personally am relaxed about the situation and expect him to look to be the best keeper in the league again next season.

  1. Yuya Oki

  2. Sun-tae Kwon

  3. Taiki Yamada

Prediction - Yuya Oki/Sun Tae Kwon

Confidence level - 50%

Yuya Oki was dropped from the 1st team at the home stretch of the season. In came veteran 37 year old, Sun - tae Kwon who performed excellently as Antlers finished 4th (though still missing out on the ACL)

There have been rumours that Sun-tae Kwon is planning on retiring/leave Antlers. In the mid to long term, I can only see Antlers management backing Yuya Oki who was excellent for most of the season and is the future for the club. However, whilst Sun-tae Kwon remains at the club there is still a risk he wont start at the start of the season, hence the 50% confidence. From the preseason camp, Oki and Sun Tae Kwon shared keeper duty with Tae Kwon getting more game time. With the new manager still out of the county, my feeling Tae Kwon is just about favourite now

For Sorare, we all know that u23 keepers are vital. A great positive for Oki is his longevity as an U23 keeper.

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  1. Shuichi Gonda

  2. Takuo Okubo

  3. Kengo Nagai

Prediction - Shuichi Gonda

Confidence level - 90%+

Gonda has now fully signed for Shimizu from Portimonense where he was on loan from last season.

He is very safe bet to be starting for Shimizu, however there are still serious questions around the quality of the Shimizu squad and defence.

He is also the current Japan national keeper, this gives him more utility for international qualifiers and potentially the World Cup if Japan do qualify

  1. Jakub Slowik

  2. Go Hatano

  3. Akhiro Hayashi

Prediction - Jakub Slowik

Confidence level - 80%

There have been some big changes at FC Tokyo in the offseason. Not only do they have new management but also new owners (MIXI).

They brought in Jakub Slowik from newly relegated Sendai. At the point in time, it feels v difficult to know who will start between him and Go Hatano.

My personal feeling is that Slowik is just about the better keeper. After watching a lot of FC Tokyo games, it felt like Go Hatano was at times, error prone and lacked confidence in the air. However, there is not much in it and of course there will be many who think that Go Hatano will start.

For sorare, I almost always avoid situations where we have two keepers fighting for the top spot as the uncertainty causes headaches and also potential DNPs. For me, its not about being "right" in my prediction but to realise there is risk for both choices that doesnt justify picking either.

  1. Yohei Takoaka

  2. Powell Obinna Obi

  3. Tomaki Tagawa

Prediction - Yohei Takoaka

Confidence level - 95%

Takaoka had an excellent season with YFM and will be in nets for them again this season.

Obi returned from loan and will look to gain more experience in the cup gains.

  1. Masaaki Higashiguchi

  2. Jun Ichimori

Prediction - Masaaki Higashiguchi

Confidence level - 95%

Higashiguchi was the best player for Gamba in a disjointed season. He made the most saves in the league. There had been some concern that Tani would return to challenge for the top spot, however, now that he has been confirmed as being on loan with Shonan again next season there is no doubt Higashiguchi will be number 1

  1. Masaaki Murakami

  2. Takumi Nagaishi

  3. Rikihiro Sugiyama

Prediction - Masaaki Murakami

Confidence level - 95%

Murakami was one the best performing J league keepers last season and I cant see any reason for him not remaining number 1

  1. Seung-gyu Kim

  2. Takimoto

  3. Masato Sasaki

Prediction - Seung-gyu Kim

Confidence level - 95%

Another very easy pick for the number 1 keeper. Kim is also the national keeper for South Korea where he has performed very well in the qualifiers.

They should qualify for the world cup which gives him extra utility.

Kim is prone to a few errors however, despite being in a poor team that concedes alot - he suits the sorare matrix for his "sweeper keeper" action

  1. Keisuke Osako

  2. Takuto Hayashi

Prediction - Keisuke Osako

Confidence level - 70%

Keisuke Osako was another keeper who lost his place in the team last year. He had a run of poor games and the experienced Hayashi played the most of the remaining games (although Osako returned for the last game of the season.

It feels like Osako is still trusted with the team and him being dropped was to protect him (manager also mentioned an injury). I am confident that Osako will be playing the majority of games next season and in the future for Hiroshima.

Although there is risk of Hayashi starting, the difference between his situation and Go Hatanos is that 1) the rival keeper is much older and likely retiring soon 2) Osako has longer left as a U23 keeper in sorare, Hatano will lose his U23 badge this year whilst Osako has multiple years left. This, for me, makes Osako a risk im willing to take as the potenital upside is much greater.

  1. Takanori Sugeno

  2. Korijo Nakano

  3. Koki Otani

Prediction - Takanori Sugeno

Confidence level - 90%

Another keeper who is 35+ but showing no signs of decline is Sugeno. He had another solid season for Sapporo and although I dont think his contract renewal has been announced, I do expect him to be playing as number 1 again next year as have seen no signs about him leaving/retiring

  1. Park Gyu

  2. Tatsuya Morita

Prediction - Park Gyu

Confidence level - 95%

There has been some early rumours about a transfer to South Korea and potentially a swap with Maekawa at Vissel Kobe. However after renewing his contract, looks set to be playing for Sagan Tosu again next season

  1. Kosei Tani

  2. Daiki Tomii

Prediction - Kosei Tani

Confidence level - 95%

Tani is one, if not the brightest young goalkeepers. He had an excellent season not only for Shonan but for the Japan national team in the Olympics.

There was some uncertainty around his loan, now this has been confirmed, he will be starting for Shonan again this season.

Important to note that he will not be able to play vs Gamba due to details in his contract

  1. Shuhei Matsubara

  2. Kamifukumoto

  3. Wakahara

  4. Michael Wood

Prediction - Kamifukumoto

Confidence level - 55%

Kyoto are on the two newly promoted teams to the J1 League. They have signed a couple of new keepers and their main keeper from last season (Wakahara) ended the year injured. Its difficult to know who will start for them - will they look for experience in Kamifukumoto or stick with Matsubara after he had a great season in the J2

This is one, where I can see an argument for both cases and will be looking to preseason to gather more intel

  1. Ryuki Miura

  2. Yuji Kajikawa

  3. Alexei Koselev

Prediction - Ryuki Miura

Confidence level - 50%

Jubilo are the other promoted team to the J1 League and it is very difficult to know who will start in nets.

  • Miura played the majority of games in the J2 season and is well liked by fans

  • Jubilo bought in Kajikawa who has experience in the J1 league

  • They have Koselev, who is highly rated but due to visa issues wasn't able to Japan for a long period. Some concerns about his communication skills (feeling that keepers need to speak Japanese)

I can see an argument for any of the 3 to start. I have gone for Miura only because he knows the team well and started 37 games last season. However, this is one, I am wanting to get more info on in general


I hope you find this post useful in making your Sorare decisions! Do let me know your thoughts and opinions on this post.

This goes without saying, but this just my opinion of the situation and I have tried to keep it fair and balanced, without considering my holds. Let me know I have I have missed anything or reach out if you have any questions on twitter or discord :)

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