Kaoru Mitoma is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion and the Japan national team.
Kaoru Mitoma (三笘 薫, Mitoma Kaoru, born 20 May 1997) is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion and the Japan national team.
|Full name||Kaoru Mitoma|
|Date of birth||20 May 1997|
|Place of birth||Kanagawa, Japan|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Brighton & Hove Albion|
|2016–2019||University of Tsukuba|
|2021–||Brighton & Hove Albion||20||(6)|
|2021–2022||→ Union SG (loan)||27||(7)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 21:39, 15 March 2023 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 17:38, 5 December 2022 (UTC)
Born in Kanagawa, Mitoma grew up in the Kawasaki area and joined the Frontale academy at the U10 level. Offered a promotion from the U-18s to the senior team coached by Yahiro Kazama, he instead chose the University of Tsukuba, a Japanese university football powerhouse who had recently produced Frontale stalwarts such as Shogo Taniguchi and Shintaro Kurumaya. Mitoma professed to feel unprepared to enter professional football at age 18, citing the struggles of fellow Kawasaki academy products Ko Itakura and Koji Miyoshi to win regular playing time with the senior squad. He wrote his university thesis on dribbling.
During his time at Tsukuba, Mitoma was selected to represent Japan at the 2017 and 2019 Universiade tournaments, as well as the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Toulon Tournament with the under-23 national team. Playing in the Kanto University Soccer League with Tsukuba, he was named to the all-league XI in his final three seasons while majoring in physical education. In addition, Tsukuba appeared in the 2016 and 2017 Emperor's Cup tournaments making an upstart run to the round of 16 in the latter edition, upsetting J.League clubs YSCC Yokohama, Vegalta Sendai (against whom Mitoma scored a brace), and Avispa Fukuoka along the way. While enrolled in college, Mitoma also occasionally joined Frontale's senior team for training sessions as a Special Designated Player starting in his sophomore year, appearing in a single J.League Cup match in 2019.
In July 2018, Mitoma agreed on a professional contract with Kawasaki Frontale senior team starting in 2020. He made his official pro debut on the opening matchday of the 2020 J1 League and quickly established himself after the league resumed following the COVID-19 outbreak,, becoming the first rookie to reach double digits in goals in the first division since Yoshinori Muto.
Brighton & Hove Albion
On 10 August 2021, Mitoma joined Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion on a four-year deal, joining Union SG on loan for the first year. He scored his first goal for Union SG on 16 October, where he scored a hat-trick in a 4–2 home victory over Seraing.
On 13 August 2022, Mitoma made his Premier League debut for Brighton, coming on as a 75th-minute substitute for Leandro Trossard in a 0–0 draw with Newcastle United at the Falmer Stadium. He made his first start for Albion on 24 August, playing 67 minutes of the 3–0 away win over League One side Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Cup second round. He made his first Premier League start on 29 October, setting up Leandro Trossard's fifth minute opener in the eventual 4–1 home win over Chelsea. A week later, he scored his first goal for the Seagulls, heading them level from Adam Lallana's cross in the eventual 3–2 away win over Wolves. Mitoma also helped Brighton in both other goals with his run into the box creating Pascal Groß's 83rd minute winner. Mitoma scored again in Brighton's next match four days later, putting Albion in front in the eventual 3–1 away win over Arsenal in the EFL Cup third round. He scored his first home goal on 31 December, giving Brighton a lifeline in the eventual 4–2 home loss against Arsenal. He later had a goal ruled out for offside which would have cut the Gunners' lead to one. On 29 January 2023, Mitoma's 91st-minute winner at home in the fourth round of the FA Cup saw Brighton defeat the cup holders Liverpool 2–1. On February 5, he scored the late winning goal in a 1–0 victory over AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League. 
After being capped at youth level, Mitoma was called up to the Japan senior squad for the first time in November 2021 for 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Oman. He made his debut on 16 November, coming on as a substitute in a 1–0 away win over Oman.
On 24 March 2022, Mitoma scored his first two international goals in a 2–0 World Cup qualification win against Australia. Coming from the bench on 86th minute, the winger opened the score three minutes later. He scored another during added time. This win confirmed Japan's qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mitoma's double offered him his First "A" international titularisation at the following game, five days later, against Vietnam.[clarification needed]
On 1 November, Mitoma was named in Japan's 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In the last group game which came against Spain on 1 December, he assisted Ao Tanaka's winner that saw Japan qualify to the round of 16 as group winners. The goal came with controversy, originally being ruled out for the ball going out of play, VAR awarded the goal giving the reason that the curvature of the ball was hanging over the chalk.
|Club||Season||League||National cup[a]||League cup[b]||Continental||Other||Total|
|University of Tsukuba||2016||–||1||0||–||–||–||1||0|
|Kawasaki Frontale||2018||J1 League||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||–||0||0|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||2021–22||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||–||0||0|
|Union SG (loan)||2021–22||Belgian Pro League||27||7||2||1||–||–||0||0||29||8|
- ^ Includes Emperor's Cup, FA Cup and Belgian Cup
- ^ Includes J.League Cup and EFL Cup
- ^ All appearances in AFC Champions League
- ^ Appearance in Japanese Super Cup
- As of match played 5 December 2022
- As of match played 5 December 2022
- Scores and results list Japan's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Mitoma goal.
|1||24 March 2022||Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia||Australia||1–0||2–0||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||2 June 2022||Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan||Paraguay||3–1||4–1||2022 Kirin Challenge Cup|
|4||10 June 2022||Noevir Stadium Kobe, Kobe, Japan||Ghana||2–1||4–1||2022 Kirin Cup|
|5||23 September 2022||Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany||United States||2–0||2–0||2022 Kirin Challenge Cup|
- J.League Best XI: 2020
- Japan Pro-Footballers Association awards: MVP, Best XI (2022)
- ^ "2022/23 Premier League squad lists". Premier League. 16 September 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
- ^ "三笘薫さん（サッカー）インタビュー". Players Japan. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- ^ "Kaoru Mitoma: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
- ^ Ando, Takahito (28 May 2018). "フロンターレ昇格を蹴って進学。筑波大・三笘薫、人生の選択について。". Sports Graphic Number (in Portuguese). Bungeishunjū. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- ^ a b c d Bontempo, Tiago (5 September 2020). "Mitoma, a sensação da J.League que só virou profissional aos 22 anos para 'garantir seu futuro' na faculdade". Globo Esporte (in Portuguese). Grupo Globo. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- ^ "Kaoru Mitoma: How a degree in dribbling shaped Brighton's breakout star". thetimes.co.uk (Archived).
- ^ "三笘薫選手加入内定のお知らせ". Kawasaki Frontale. 13 July 2018.
- ^ "Mitoma signs for Albion". Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. 10 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
- ^ "Royale Union Saint-Gilloise Union SG – RFC Seraing: 4–2". rusg.brussels. 16 October 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
- ^ "Brighton and Hove Albion – Newcastle United: 0–0". brightonandhovealbion.com. 13 August 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
- ^ "Forest Green 0–3 Brighton: Albion to face Arsenal in third round". BBC Sport. 24 August 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
- ^ "Brighton & Hove Albion 4–1 Chelsea: Seagulls spoil former boss Graham Potter's Amex Stadium". BBC Sport. 29 October 2022. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
- ^ "Wolves 2–3 Brighton: Pascal Gross secures late victory for visitors". BBC Sport. 5 November 2022. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
- ^ "Carabao Cup: Arsenal 1-3 Brighton – Seagulls move into last 16 with win at Emirates Stadium". BBC Sport. 9 November 2022. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
- ^ "Brave Albion beaten by the leaders". Brighton & Hove Albion. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- ^ Hytner, David (29 January 2023). "Mitoma's magical winner for Brighton delivers knockout blow to Liverpool". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
- ^ Rose, Gary (29 January 2023). "Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Liverpool: Kaoru Mitoma injury-time goal sends FA Cup holders out". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
- ^ "Brighton strike late to beat Bournemouth". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
- ^ "Albion's players in World Cup qualifying action". Brighton & Hove Albion. 10 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- ^ "'Bring him back' – Brighton fans send transfer message after loanee stars on international duty". SussexLive. 17 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- ^ "Japan secure dramatic win over Australia to qualify for World Cup". BBC Sport. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
- ^ "Kaoru Mitoma set to realize World Cup dream after injury scare". The Japan Times. 5 November 2022. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
- ^ "World Cup 2022: Japan 2-1 Spain: Japan and Spain both through on dramatic night". BBC Sport. 1 December 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
- ^ Kaoru Mitoma at Soccerway. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
- ^ Kaoru Mitoma - Statistics (in Japanese)
- ^ "Games played by Kaoru Mitoma in 2022/2023". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
- ^ a b Kaoru Mitoma at National-Football-Teams.com
- ^ Japan Pro-Footballers Association awards
- Kaoru Mitoma at J.League (archive) (in Japanese)
- Kaoru Mitoma at Kawasaki Frontale (in Japanese)
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- Hebrew: קאורו מיטומה - Wiki עברית
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- Japanese: 三笘薫 - Wiki 日本語
- Korean: 미토마 가오루 - Wiki 한국어
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- Thai: คาโอรุ มิโตมะ - Wiki ไทย
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- Ukrainian: Мітома Каору - Wiki українська
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- Chinese: 三笘薰 - Wiki 中文
- Cantonese: 三笘薰 - Wiki 粵語