Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Takuya Yamada has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week for the first time this season, the league announced on Monday. Yamada has scored three goals this season and leads the NASL in minutes played with 2,250 minutes this season.
“It is a pleasure to receive this award,” said Yamada. “I’d like to thank my teammates, Coach Ricky, the staff and all the supporters. As always, I’ll be doing my best and aiming for the league championship.”
Against Atlanta, Yamada played a very important role in keeping the defense organized, even though the Rowdies played a man down for over 20 minutes. Yamada scored the equalizing goal in an extremely important match to maintain Tampa Bay’s three point edge on 2nd place.
Last Saturday is not the first time Yamada has played an important role for the Rowdies this season. In the season home opener on April 14, Yamada delivered the game-winner against FC Edmonton. He recently picked up the assist on midfielder Raphael Cox’s game winning goal against Ft. Lauderdale on September 1, helping the Rowdies clinch a playoff spot.
“It’s excellent that once again our club receives an award for our defensive performance,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “Every week he produces quality performances and I congratulate Yama for having such a high level on the playing field. He always seems to come through for us at the toughest times and I am very pleased that we are able to have him on our squad.”
Yamada is the longest tenured member of the Rowdies and has played in 78 matches for the team over the last three seasons. This is the second straight week that a Tampa Bay player has been awarded NASL Defensive Player of the Week, as defender Frankie Sanfilippo was awarded this accolade on September 4. The honor marks the 11th time this season a Tampa Bay player has received a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.
Tampa Bay currently sits in second place in the NASL standings, and will travel to play FC Edmonton this Sunday, September 16 at 4:10 p.m. (ET) at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton.