Yasuyuki Moriyama

Position: FW
Born: 01-May-1969
Height/Weight: 171/71
Birthplace: Gifu
Previous Teams: Teikyo HS, Juntendo U., Nagoya Grampus, Bellmare Hiratsuka, Nagoya Grampus, Hit Gorica (Slovenia), Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Nagoya Grampus, Kawasaki Frontale, Nagoya Grampus, Consadole Sapporo, Nagoya Grampus, FC Gifu
Appearances (J1/J2): 215/18 Goals: 66/1
First Appearance: 16-May-1993 Nagoya Grampus -vs- Kashima Antlers (at Kashima Stadium)
First Goal : 19-May-1993 Nagoya Grampus -vs- Urawa Reds (at Komaba Stadium)


Yasuyuki Moriyama will be remembered as much for his fine qualities as a person as he will for his footballing skills. A true gentleman in every sense of the word, he was one of the most well-known faces on early Nagoya Grampus teams. After an extended run at Grampus, he spent the latter half of his J1 career as a journeyman, bouncing from team to team, and developing friendships, connections and "old boy networks" that would serve him very well in the early years of the 21st century.

Though Moriyama hails from Gifu prefecture, and his name has become synonymous with football in that area, he will always be closely associated with neighboring club, Nagoya Grampus, which he joined soon after leaving Juntendo University. As a starting striker with Grampus from the team's inception, in 1992, Moriyama emerged as one of the most recognisable and most affable players on the team, in its early years. A fan favourite, he was always in great demand after the matches, and always had time to sign autographs for the kids. Though usually content to perform the set-up work for talented teammates like and Gary Lineker and Dragan Stojkovic, Moriyama nevertheless racked up over 50 goals in his first five years, and even earned a few calls to the national team (though he made only one match appearance).

In 1999, Moriyama earned a breif invitation to play in Europe, at Hit Gorcia, a team in Slovenia, but within a year he was back in Japan, joining Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Thereafter, Moriyama bounced around to a number of teams, as his skills gradually faded and the improving skill level in the league forced him into a "journeyman" role. At the end of 2003, having made just five appearances at J2 club Consadole Sapporo, it looked like Moriyama's career was over. He managed to convince Grampus to invite him back for one last spell, allowing him to end his career where it started, However, after the first stage of 2004, having made no appearances in either a league or a cup match, he decided that his days in the pro ranks were at an end, and he bid farewell to Nagoya, returning to his home in nearby Gifu.

Even if the story ended there, Moriyama's career would have been a dramatic success by anyone's standards. But in fact, 2004 proved to be just the beginning of a career which would cement his name in the annals of football lore in Gifu prefecture. Though its population is nearly as large as that of neighboring Aichi prefecture, where Nagoya is located, Gifu had never developed any significant football clubs of its own. When Moriyama returned home, in mid-2004, there were not even any Gifu-based clubs in the Tokai Regional League. The prefecture suffered a fate similar to that of New Jersey, which for many decades had no sports teams of its own, because everyone supported the clubs in neighboring New York.

But in early 2004, Moriyama was out drinking with several childhood friends (one of whom played for Stickleback), and talk turned to the fact that Gifu fans had to support Nagoya Grampus, because they didnt have a team of their own. Moriyama sensed that he was being teased, and protested that he would love to play for Gifu, rather than Grampus, but there wasnt any club to employ him. "What about Stickleback?" he was asked, largely in jest. There was a long silence as the aging striker's eyes slowly began to grow wider and more animated. The seed of FC Gifu had been planted.

Moriyama was languishing on the bench at Nagoya, in what he must have known was his last season at the club. Returning to Nagoya after the first meeting with his friends, Moriyama let the club know that he would not finish out the year, and that he wanted to make his farewell to the fans and call it quits after the first stage concluded. He was followed out the exit by another aging Nagoya veteran, Tetsuya Okayama, who would join him in laying the early groundwork for FC Gifu.

Now, Moriyama's extensive connections throughout the league, and his reputation as a fine person and a close friend were put on display for all to see. One after another, players who were in the final years of their J.League careers, or who were struggling to find a full-time starting spot on their clubs, began turning out in droves to join the Moriyama Revolution in Gifu. Keeper Suguru Hino (Gamba), Tetsuya Ito and Takayuki Komine (FC Tokyo), and even the still-youthful former U-20 striker Atsushi Katagiri, added their talents to the mix, and the newly formed FC Gifu made a charge up the football pyramid.

The financial backing of companies in the Gifu area, together with Moriyama's wide-ranging contacts, allowed the team to bring in the additional players needed to make them a promotion candidate, including former Grampus and Sanfrecce striker Jorginho (the younger brother of Ueslei), S-Pulse veteran Yasuhiro Yoshida, and former Gamba striker Hiromi Kojima. In December 2007 the team made the final leap into the ranks of professional football. At last, Gifu had its very own J.League team, and Moriyama was the master of ceremonies as the entire town partied in celebration.

After achieving all that he could dream of, as a footballer, Moriyama announced that he would stand down as a player, as FC Gifu entered the J.League. But the storm of protest was immediate. Fans, fellow players and team management alike insisted that he savor the fruits of his hard work, and make one last appearance on the J.League stage. So in 2008, as he approached his 40th birthday, Moriyama returned to the J.League for a final bow. There are not many players in football who get to achieve their highest aspirations and dreams. Yasuyuki Moriyama managed to do so not once, but twice.


Photo Year Team Uniform # League Matches Cup Matches
Caps Goals Caps Goals
- 1993 Nagoya Grampus 12 4 1 1
- 1994 Nagoya Grampus 39 13 3 1
- 1995 Nagoya Grampus 42 14 4 0
- 1996 Nagoya Grampus 26 11 15 4
- 1997 Nagoya Grampus 29 9 6 1
- 1998 Bellmare Hiratsuka 4 0 2 0
- 1999- Hit Gorcia (Slovenia) - - - - -
  -1999 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 11 3 3 0
2000 Kawasaki Frontale 14 0 6 0
2001 Nagoya Grampus 26 12 4 0
2002- Nagoya Grampus 7 0 5 0
  -2002 Consadole Sapporo 4 0 0 -
2003 Consadole Sapporo 5 0 0 -
2004 Nagoya Grampus 0 - 0 -
- 2005 FC Gifu - 8 2 - -
- 2006 FC Gifu - 11 5 - -
- 2007 FC Gifu 8 0 - -
- 2008 FC Gifu 13 1 - -
- J.League TOTAL 233 67 49 7