It was just announced that for his twelfth year in the J. League, forward Kota Yoshihara joins Mito, after playing for Sapporo, Gamba Osaka, and most recently Omiya Ardija.
He'll be the second most veteran player on the squad, with even more years as a professional than Mito's stalwart keeper Honma, who exemplifies the feeling of "veteran" for the Mito fan. Only defender Suzuki, who has played in the J. League since 1995, has been around longer. He's played in 325 league and cup matches, scoring 74 goals. He also played for the national team in 1999. Including play in the JFL (with Sapporo), this will be his 15th year.
Although Mito players have gone on to become national team members (most notably Marcus Tulio Tanaka), Yoshihara is the first former national team member to join Mito. While his best years are behind him, he still has a bit left in him as could be seen with two goals scored against Shonan in the recent training match. He'll not play over J2's rookie of the year Arata or Urawa rental Takasaki, but would likely be in an offensive side midfield position as a feeder to those two and taking shots when appropriate.
His statement to Omiya supporters:
「大宮のファン・サポーターの皆さんにはご心配お掛けしましたが、水戸ホーリーホックに加入することになしました。ディビジョンは違いますが、大宮と対戦することを楽しみにしております。これからも応援よろしくお願いします。」("I caused a lot of worry for Omiya fans and supporters, but it's come to pass that I join Mito HollyHock. Even though a different division, I look forward to playing against Omiya.I still ask for your support from now, too.")
His statement to Mito supporters:
「本当にいろんな思いを持って加入を決めました。声を掛けてくれた水戸に恩返しが出来るよう頑張ります。応援よろしくお願いします。」 ("I really put a lot of thought into it and then made the decision to join. I want to work hard and return the favor of Mito, who called out for me. I ask for your support.")