Like other ball and net/goal games, football is increasingly becoming a positionless sport. Gone are the days when players honed one particular skill to play one specific position, trading that specialization for a diverse and dynamic skill set that enables them to blur the lines between midfielder and forward, point guard and small forward, left-wing and center, and even pitcher and batter in the case of the inimitable Shohei Ohtani.
Be that as it may, in the world of football, there is still one holy grail that all clubs are desperate to discover: a left-footed, ball-playing center-back. By some estimates, only 10% of the global population are lefties, so clubs will move heaven and earth to find these unicorns.
And Roma's Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli has done just that, dipping her toes in the Japanese transfer market for the first time, signing 23-year-old Moeka Minami to a two-year deal:
A 5’7” center-back, Minami not only brings size to the Giallorosse backline but a wealth of experience. Having made her top-flight debut in Japan in 2018, Minami has been a fixture for club and country, starting all 20 matches for Urawa Reds last season, scoring two goals along the way, while also making 10 appearances (all starts) for the Japanese National Team over the past year.
In her introductory press conference, Minami admitted she had mixed emotions about playing abroad for the first time in her career but admitted that “above all I am just so excited and delighted to be playing for AS Roma. I will do my absolute best to try and help the team be successful.”
Bavagnoli was equally excited about her latest signing, pointing immediately to her Minami's philosophical fit with Roma:
We are all delighted to be able to welcome Moeka to the club,
We really wanted her and were determined in our pursuit of her; despite still being so young she is already an extremely accomplished player.
We have now added another talented player to our defensive ranks and we believe she has attributes that will fit in really well with our football philosophy
While Minami will undoubtedly go through some growing pains as she adjusts to European football, she should slot in behind Elena Linari and Carina Wenninger in Alessandro Spugna's center-back rotation, ostensibly filling the ball-playing role of the recently departed Tecla Pettenuzzo.