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Japanese Coach Takayoshi Ishihara Joins Sky Blue FC

Former Head Coach of INAC Kobe Leonessa joins the Sky Blue FC Coaching Staff.

Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra on the sidelines during a 2013 match.
Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra on the sidelines during a 2013 match.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (Monday, January 27, 2014) - Sky Blue FC announced today that Takayoshi Ishihara has joined the club as an assistant coach for the 2014 NWSL season, pending P-1 Visa approval. In addition to his duties to the first team, Ishihara will also serve as head coach for Sky Blue FC's reserve team.

"Sky Blue FC is fortunate to have the opportunity to add Taka to our technical staff," Sky Blue FC Head Coach/Technical Director Jim Gabarra said. "He will provide the club with a tremendous work ethic, experience, and a different coaching perspective that will certainly enhance our player and club development"

Sky Blue FC President and General Manager Tony Novo was elated to be able to add a coach with the experience and acumen that Ishihara brings to the club.

"Not only do we have the best coach in the NWSL in Jim, but by adding Taka, we are able to add a fresh outlook on the game," Novo said. "Between the success both Jim and Taka have had, I am extremely confidant that this will improve the club both on and off the field."

A native of Aichi, Japan, Ishihara joins the New Jersey side after enjoying success at various levels of the Japanese soccer pyramid. He began his career as an assistant coach at Tsukuba University while concurrently holding a coaching/technical support role within the Japanese Football Association. He then spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Maebashi Ikuei High School and Teikyo High School, helping guide those programs to national prominence.

"First, I want thank the head coach, Jim Gabarra, and Sky Blue FC, for giving me an opportunity to be a part of the program," Ishihara said. "For me, this opportunity is a challenge, and yet a chance to become a greater coach. I am excited to work with world-class players and staff, and I promise to work hard for the club."

Ishihara moved to INAC Kobe Leonessa, a perennial power and winners of three straight Nadeshiko League titles and four consecutive Empress' Cups. During his first season at INAC, Ishihara was an assistant coach to the first team while also serving as head coach of the U18 squad. In 2013, he was promoted to the first team head coaching position.

In his only season as head coach, Ishihara lead INAC to an unprecedented four titles, including three Japanese domestic trophies as well as the mobcast Cup International Women's Club Championship. In the mobcast Cup, INAC defeated South American Champions Colo-Colo of Chile 3-0 in their semi-final contest. They then downed English power Chelsea Ladies 4-2 in the final. The four titles INAC won in 2013 set a record for most trophies captured by a professional women's soccer team in one season.

Ishihara added, "I am confident that my coaching experiences in Japan will contribute to the success of Sky Blue moving forward and I'm looking forward an exciting, upcoming season."