Japanese soccer player dies at 34
Defender Naoki Matsuda played on Japan's 2002 World Cup final 16 team.
August 4th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Japanese soccer player dies at 34

One of Japan's top male soccer players died Thursday, two days after suffering heat stroke following a practice.

Defender Naoki Matsuda, 34, who played in 40 matches for Japan's national team, including the 2002 World Cup tournament, suffered cardiopulmonary arrest after practice Tuesday, The Japan Times reported.

He died shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, Kyodo News Service reported.

"On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, I wish to extend our condolences to you, to the Japanese football community and, most importantly, to Naoki Matsuda's friends and loved ones. Please let them know that today the football community stands by their side," Joseph S. Blatter, president of the international soccer's governing body, said in a statement.

Matsuda played 385 Japan Football League games for Yokohama F. Marinos from 1995 to 2010, according to The Japan Times.

Hiromi Hara, Japan Football Association technical director, fought back tears after being informed of Matsuda's death during an unrelated press conference Thursday, Kyodo reported.

The death comes less than three weeks after the Japanese women's national team captured the Women's World Cup in an emotional victory over the favored U.S. team.

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Filed under: Heat • Japan • Soccer • Sports • Weather
soundoff (10 Responses)

    warning... better stay inside... or the sun is going to get you!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |

    I HAVE THE CNN BLOG'S IN MY SIGHTS, sooon i will controls all of the blogs and next the world.....

    August 4, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. CNN's Jim Kavanagh

    you're plans of cnn blog domination will never succed!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brent

    Bless his soul

    August 4, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Grumplestiltskin

    Well, this just sucks!

    August 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    No disrespect intended but is J-pan havin severe weather too ??or did he just over exert his poor body? either way, Im sorry .

    August 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    A few years ago I suffered heat exhaustion & it was really scary. After that heat stroke is not far away. I was just walking & it was extremely hot, but if you're excerting yourself, as in excercise or sports, heat doesnt have to be extreme & you can easily bypass the exhaustion stage before you have fullblown stroke & are in trouble. Athletes are especially suceptible because they are used to pushing beyond the discomfort zone & often practice in harsh weather. This is such a sad loss, especially if it might have been prevented. I hope American coaches take notice & remember this when they send our kids out to practice! My condolences to J.a.pan, this well loved athletes family, friends, & fans!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J. van Rijn

    The world lost a hero.RIP .Condolence from Amsterdam Holland to the family ,friends and the people of Nipon.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Godzilla


    August 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. footballbear

    Very sad indeed.
    Seems like strickter rule need to be enforced regarding medical checkups for football players.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |