Kiwi Sarah Gregorius signs with Japanese club

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 10:34 26/07/2014
Sarah Gregorius
Reuters
JAPAN BOUND: Football Ferns striker Sarah Gregorius has signed a short-term deal with AS Eflen Saitama.

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Football Ferns striker Sarah Gregorius has signed a short-term deal with Japanese league club AS Eflen Saitama. 

The 26-year-old former Liverpool player and 53-cap Fern says the move has come about thanks to the Football Ferns' trip to Japan in May which saw the New Zealand side go down 2-1 to the world No 3 side.

"It was basically a happy by-product of our game in Japan and some contact that I had with a couple of people over there which coincided with them being able to come and watch us play," Gregorius said.

"Everything sort of fell into place in that sense, it was on the radar for me but having the Ferns game over there helped me push it big time."

Gregorius acknowledged the move, which is only until the league finishes in December, will be a new experience off-field but one the striker is eager to get under way. 

"I think that's the best part about playing a global game like football, it takes you to places that you otherwise wouldn't go to at all," she said.

"It's hard to have expectations and to imagine what it's going to be like because it's a completely different culture to anything I've experienced before but I can't wait.

"It's a really exciting place to be in terms of the way elite women's football is there. Japan are the world champions and have won age-group titles as well, so they are obviously doing something right. 

"The Japanese style of football suits someone like me, they tend to be a little bit smaller and they play very quick and very technical and that's a part of my game I really want to improve on."

Gregorius has been training with the Auckland based Ferns players, linking with the preparations of the Junior Football Ferns who leave New Zealand next week for the under-20 women's World Cup in Canada. 

Gregorius leaves for Japan on August 4.

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