Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Who is Karina Maruyama and why is she so important to women's soccer?
There are soccer players that leave a lasting legacy for the team in which they play for. Karina Maruyama is an example of a player like this. This talented soccer forward. Her biggest international success came at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Maruyama scored the only goal of the game, sending Japan to its first ever World Cup Semifinal. And that goal will be considered one of the most special goals in the history of soccer.
Profile of Karina Maruyama
- Date of birth: March 26, 1983 (37 years old)
- Place of birth: Tokyo, Japan
- Height: 5 feet and 4 inches tall
- She plays for the club team Speranza F.C. Osaka-Takatsuki.
Karina Maruyama the talented soccer forward from Tokyo
Karina Maruyama's International Career (2003-2012)
Maruyama has been a regular participant in the Olympic Games, playing in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In the 2012 Olympics, Japan won the silver medal, losing to the eventual champion the United States. Maruyama has 14 career international goals as of this writing. That number may not be very much but numbers do not tell the whole story. She was the single biggest reason for Japan’s march to the gold medal in 2011. Maruyama’s career goes back as far as 2003 when she scored 2 goals in a 7-0 victory over Guam in the 2003 Women’s AFC Championship. Maruyama would go on to score goals in games against Myanmar and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). The score in those games was 7-0 and 5-0. Japan would score a total of 34 goals in 4 matches while surrendering no goals! That’s about as perfect as a soccer squad can get! Japan would lose 3-0 to North Korea in the knockout stages of the tournament. In the third place game, Japan would lose 1-0 to South Korea. But I really think that the first game of that tournament would be the most memorable for the Japanese team. It was an offensive onslaught as Japan beat the Philippines 15-0! Less than one month later on July 12, 2003, Maruyama scored a goal in 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup qualifying match in Tokyo. And then during the qualifying rounds at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Maruyama scored goals in victories against Vietnam and Thailand. Japan would beat Thailand twice, winning 6-0 both times.
In 2006, Japan would play a friendly match against Team Germany in Karlsruhe. Two years later in the 2008 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, Maruyama would score goals against Chinese Taipei in two separate matches as Japan’s offensive onslaught showed up once again. Japan would finish in third place beating Australia 3-0. In that game, Japan would get goals from Yuki Nagasato (Ogimi), Aya Miyama, and captain Homare Sawa in the 86th minute. Japan would beat Australia again in 2008 during a friendly match.
Karina Maruyama in a qualifying match in 2011
A Photo of Soccer Forward Karina Maruyama in Traditional Soccer Jacket
A Look Back At the Match That Produced Karina Maruyama's Memorable Goal
Karina Maruyama Announces Her Retirement from Soccer
In 2016, it was announced that Maruyama would retire from professional soccer for good. She had appeared in 14 games in the Japan Women’s football league but did not score a goal. She had not been chosen to be with the national team in Canada for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, this brings to an end a career for Maruyama who will forever be remembered by me for scoring that one amazing goal just four years prior that knocked out defending European and World Cup champions Germany.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian