Endo targets trophies with Urawa

Special Olympics athlete Matthew Millett of Team USA with the 3/4 court buzzer beater!

Urawa Reds new signing Wataru Endo said that he hopes to win many trophies with his new club during his unveiling at Saitama Stadium on Sunday.

Endo, who captained Japan in qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, said that he was thrilled to be part of the club.

“It’s nice to be in a position where people get on you for not winning trophies,” Endo said on Sunday at Saitama Stadium.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” he told the Japan Times. “I feel like I’m finally part of the club. The atmosphere at Saitama Stadium is incredible. Of all the teams I’ve played against, I’d say they’re the strongest.

“I can’t wait to join up with the other guys. We have plenty of options in attack.”

The signing of Endo is an indication that Urawa are out to chase silverware this season after being trophy-less in 2015.

Midfielder Endo feels that after spending a season in J1 and generally improving his overall game, he can help end Urawa’s barren run, though he has the added responsibility of a busy year with the Summer Games in Rio and the September World Cup final qualifiers to deal with.

“A year ago, I hadn’t played a full season in J1,” said Endo. “But after getting something under my belt, I was ready to take the next step and I felt this is where I could improve most.

“I like to think one of the reasons I’m here is because I can cover several positions. I’m going to play with one purpose and that is to help the club win a title. I expect to have very little time off this year — if any.”

Things don’t start off easy for Endo and his Urawa side as they are drawn in Group H of the AFC Champions League with defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, who they face away on March 16, with the return leg on April 5.

“It will be very tough without question. Not just the matches themselves, but the travel, the tight fixtures, etc. I’m expecting it to be a lot more difficult than I’m imagining.

“(Guangzhou) are a strong side, there’s no doubt about that. But it doesn’t make them unbeatable. One thing I learned through the Olympic qualifying is that you have to persevere and when you persevere, it opens up opportunities.”