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Orange County Welcomes Honda to Training

By Staff, 07/06/17, 9:01AM EDT


Japanese international links up with USL club as he explores opportunities

Photo courtesy Orange County SC

IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC had a new face at training this past week, as world-renowned superstar Keisuke Honda linked up with the club to start his preseason fitness program, whilst exploring opportunities within the United States. The Japanese international was also joined by Netherlands National team assistant coach, Frans Hoek, who continues to assist in the development of Orange County SC.

Orange County SC’s Head Coach Logan Pause was delighted to have Honda train with the group.

“It is not every day you get the chance to work with a world class player,” said Pause. “It was a fantastic opportunity for our players to see first-hand the quality of a player who has played at the highest level possible.”

The 31-year-old Honda has had a glittering career, beginning in the J-League with Nagoya Grampus before heading to Europe to join Dutch Eredivisie side VV Venlo, where he scored 24 goals in 68 appearances. Following a hugely successful spell with the Dutch side he transferred to Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow for around $10 million, and spent four seasons with the club as he competed in the UEFA Champions League and helped lead CSKA to win the Russian Premier League. 

In 2013, Honda made the move to one of the biggest clubs in the world, A.C. Milan. Another successful spell followed as he appeared in just under 100 games for the club. Honda’s final appearance for the Rossoneri came on May 21st when he scored in a 3-0 victory against Bologna to send Milan into the UEFA Europa League for the first time since 2013.

Not only has Honda been hugely successful on the domestic stage, he has also been ever-present on the International stage too since making his debut for Japan in 2008. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Honday led Japan into the Round of 16 with a pair of goals, earning recognition as one of the stars of the tournament. He became the only Japanese player to score in two World Cups when he scored against the Ivory Coast in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Orange County will be buoyed by the visit of Honda as it looks for three points this Saturday against Phoenix Rising FC.  

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