Kentaro Sawada played a long and very impressive career, contributing greatly to the teams he played for and piling up some impressive totals in both matches played and goals, for a central defender. But due to the fact that his entire J.League career was played with relatively unimpressive teams, he never really attracted the attention of the sports press. Nevertheless, when he retired at the end of 2003, his wealth of accumulated experience and keen understanding of the game convinced Sanfrecce Hiroshima to ask him to remain with the team as a youth coach
Sawada began his career with Kashiwa Reysol, and his contributions were invaluable to helping the team win promotion to the J1 in 1995. He remained with Reysol until 1998, and then moved to Sanfrecce Hiroshima, where he wolud play the remainder of his career. If his JFL statistics with Reysol are included, he had close to 300 appearances over the course of his career, and even in the last few seasons of his career, his strength in the air and keen sense of ball anticipation allowed him to continue recording an unusually large number of goals for a central defender.