top of page

Japanese J1 League 2022 - Goalkeeper Guide for Sorare - Update


During the preseason, I wrote a post about each teams J1 League keepers. It can be found here

I have been noticing more questions around keepers in general and thought it be helpful to give an update on each teams scenarios now the season has kicked off.

For me, 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.


Keepers Available

  1. Nishikawa

  2. Suzuki

  3. Niekawa

Prediction - Shusaku Nishikawa

Confidence level - 90%+

Shusaku Nishikawa has played in all the league games for Urawa and was made captain. He is still firmly the number 1.

Zion Suzukis progress with the club is going excellently. Last season he played in the league cup and received the J League New Hero Award. He has started the last two of the ACL games so far and it will be interesting to see if he continues to be given this role for the remaining games.

Zion also represented Japan U21 team in their opening game win against the u23 Croatia side. We can see from the below he has represented Japan since youth level and his progress has been highly impressive:

Saying that, for the league, I see Nishikawa continuing to be the number 1 for the foreseeable and he will leave/retire on his own terms. His experience is vital for Urawa and their young team as well as being a mentor for Zion. For Sorare therefore, its important to manage expectations as though it is possible Zion will be challenging for the top spot this or next season, it could take longer as culturally in Japan its important to respect your place in the hierarchy. This wiki link goes through the basics of the Senpai and Kohai concept which I see being in play at times in J league clubs

Its hard to say when Zion will get his hands on the number 1 shirt but its safe to say he is one of the brightest talents coming through and has a very bright future ahead of him.

  1. Maekawa

  2. Iikura

Prediction - Maekawa

Confidence level - 60%

The keeper situation at Vissel Kobe is famous for how uncertain it is and nothing much has changed. Maekawa started the season as the number 1 though this was partially down to Iikura being injured. Vissel had a very poor start and Iikura came in and didnt impress either with a very poor game against Kyoto leading to him getting the chop.

At the moment Maekawa is the number 1, however with a new manager and the team in general in turmoil - it cant be said with certainty this will remain the case or if Kobe are a good team to be buying players from!

I say this as a holder of both keepers - Vissel urgently need to get a new keeper in. Its also important to note that alot of the problems that Vissel are facing have been nothing to do with who was in nets. The defence and mid making big mistakes and not doing their keeper any favours!

Keepers Available

Prediction - Kim Jin-hyeon

Confidence level - 95%+

Kim Jin-hyeon as expected is firmly number 1 at C.Osaka, starting all 9 games so far.

The team didnt get one clean in their first 7 league games but have got two back to back shut outs and the signing of Jonjic has for sure stabilised the defence and I see them being much more solid at the back going forward.

Keepers Available

  1. Kenta Tanno

  2. Yuki Hayasaka

Prediction - Jung Sung-ryong

Confidence level - 95%+

Jung Sung-ryong as expected is the main keeper at for the current Champs and has performed to his usual high standards.

Yuki Hayasaka has joined the team as the designated player from Toin University, following Issak Zain and Kento Tachibanada on the same pathway. He has impressed scouts and was previously in Frontales youth setup before going onto university. I feel he is one to watch for the future but for the time being is somewhat of an unknown.

Keepers Available

  1. Langerak

  2. Yohei Takeda

  3. Tsubase Shibuya

Prediction - Langerak

Confidence level - 95%+

Langerak has played all the league and cup games for Nagoya this season. The big difference is team have not been performing anywhere near the level of the last two seasons and this has led to more goals being leaked

Perhaps the tide has turned for the defence since 1) Maruyama returned to action and 2) the team changed formation to a back 3. Nakatani and Fujii both look solid and have had 2 CS in a row.

  1. Sun-tae Kwon

  2. Yuya Oki

  3. Taiki Yamada

Prediction - Sun Tae Kwon

Confidence level - 90%

The situation at Antlers has evolved alot since pre season. At one Sun Tae was rumoured to be retiring but it is said he had a change of heart and wanted to prove he was still capable after an injury prone couple of seasons.

At the preseason camp he was sharing duties with Oki but even then we could see he was highly motivated and it was no real surprise he started the season in nets.

He has done excellently for the side and is one the leaders, especially for a young and relatively new defence after Machida and Inukai left.

Oki will get his chance but its hard to know when. For Sorare, we all know that u23 keepers are vital. A great positive for Oki is his longevity as an U23 keeper ( until July 2024) and he is def being trained up to be the long term keeper at Antlers but this season he may not see much action.

Join the J-League Sorare Discord and connect to the Sorare J league community! Just click the icon above!

  1. Shuichi Gonda

  2. Takuo Okubo

  3. Kengo Nagai

Prediction - Shuichi Gonda

Confidence level - 95%+

As expected Gonda has been the keeper for Shimizu and looks he is very safe bet to continue starting for Shimizu. However there are still questions around the quality of the Shimizu squad and defence.

He is also the current Japan national keeper, this gives him more utility during the World Cup especially as I do expect Sorare to put out some specials similar to Euro 2020

Prediction - Jakub Slowik

Confidence level - 95%

I was confident that Slowik would be the starting keeper at the start of the season however his performances have surpassed my expectations!

He has made 5 CSs from the 9 starts for Tokyo and also boasts the highest save % including the best save ive seen this season vs Sapporo

The Slowik + Morishige stack is well known now & i see their performances not dropping off anytime soon

  1. Yohei Takoaka

  2. Powell Obinna Obi

  3. Tomaki Tagawa

Prediction - Yohei Takoaka

Confidence level - 95%

Takaoka had an excellent season with YFM and has done well again this year. The big difference to last yeah is that the CBs at YFM have been changing almost every game making it more difficult to use Takaoka as a combo/sack

Obi returned from loan and will look to gain more experience in the cup games. He loses his u23 status on Sorare in July so i dont see him as a U23 prospect.

  1. Masaaki Higashiguchi

  2. Jun Ichimori

Prediction - Ichimori & Masaaki Higashiguchi

Confidence level - 90%

Higashiguchi has missed the season so far due to injury that needed minor surgery to his knee.

The good news is, as of yesterday he returned to light training (see below pic) & the manager said to expect him in full training in May.

Higashiguchi was the best player for Gamba in a disjointed season last year and though I rate Ichimori - Higashiguchi will almost certainly return as number 1 keeper when fully fit.

  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 this has continued this year with 4 cleans sheet & he remains a safe bet to keep the number 1 spot

  1. Seung-gyu Kim

  2. 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 who have qualified for the WC giving potential extra utility

Masato Sasaki is another highly talented young Japanese keeper coming through. He played in the Dubai Cup for the victorious Japan U21 team winning alot of plaudits. This season, I see him gaining more experience in the cup.

Kim Seung Gyu had a few rumours over the winter about a possible return to S.Korea and K league and if this happens next winter then Sasaki is the natural successor - for the moment this is pure speculation though!

  1. Takuto Hayashi

Prediction - Keisuke Osako

Confidence level - 80%

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).

Hayashi started the season as number 1, which I feel was partially due to the manager being out of the country and the team wanting Hayashis leadership. Skibbe the new manager is now with the squad and for last 4 games, Osako has started and got 3 clean sheets. Osako has long been trained up by Hiroshima to be their long term number 1 and I expect them to stick with him unless there is complete loss of form/major injury! There are def aspects Osako needs to improve, especially high balls and directing his backline

  1. Takanori Sugeno

  2. Koki Otani

  3. Kojiro Nakano

Prediction - Takanori Sugeno

Confidence level - 90%

Another keeper who is 35+ but showing no signs of decline is Sugeno. He is still firmly the number one at Sapporo and Otani rather than Nakano playing in the league cup and the 1 game Sugeno was absent due to covid

  1. Park Gyu

  2. Tatsuya Morita

Prediction - Park Gyu

Confidence level - 95%

Park Gyu is another safe choice as number 1 at Sagan Tosu. They have performed much better than I and most people expected and this is also reflected with them having the most clean sheets currently with an impressive 6 from 9 games

  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.

As expected he is starting for Shonan again this season. They are however playing poorly and look like they will be fighting relegation again.

He is on loan from Gamba Osaka and his future for next season is unknown and I dont expect any updates on this till either the end of the season or in the off season

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

  1. Kamifukumoto

  2. Michael Wood

Prediction - Kamifukumoto

Confidence level - 75%

Kyoto have seen changes with their keepers frequently due to either injury, red card or lack of form.

In general, I see Kamifukumoto as the number 1. He has started 7 of the 9 games and missed 1 due to suspension after a very harsh red against Iwata.

Wakahara has started 2 games but now finds himself out of the squad in the league and on the bench in the cup with new signing Wood seemingly taking the number 2 role

This is one, where I can see further changes as the season goes on but for now Kamifukumoto is the starting keeper

  1. Ryuki Miura

  2. Alexei Koselev

  3. Yuji Kajikawa

Prediction - Ryuki Miura

Confidence level - 70%

Miura has started all 9 league games this season but was injured vs Hiroshima. At the moment there is no news on the extent of the injury and they do not have a game until the 28th April so hopefully more news will come.

I see Koselev as the second choice and did come on vs Hiroshima and Miuras injury.

For Sorare, I personally dont like taking risks with keeper situations especially for teams in the bottom few as, I have learnt from the past, I can be left holding a non starting keeper


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 :)

Click below for the J League Sorare Discord channel:

bottom of page