Masato Kudo

Their words: Masato Kudo opens up about the collision after making his return

Their Words: Masato Kudo

EDITOR'S NOTE: Scroll to the bottom of the page to read the letter in Japanese. 

Their stories, their emotions, their words. That, in a nutshell, is what thisseries on whitecapsfc.comis all about. What better way to get to know the 'Caps – your 'Caps – than to hear from them directly. No filter.No fluff. Just their words. 

Today, Japanese striker Masato Kudo opens up about the fractured jaw he suffered in a scary collision with Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson on May 11 at BC Place.

Their words: Masato Kudo opens up about the collision after making his return -

This was the first real injury I’d ever had since I started kicking a soccer ball at the age of three.

I don't really remember what it was like when it happened, but I know for sure that – more than feeling the pain – I was really mad at myself for getting injured right after my first goal.

That goal was very special for me.

I was hungry to score a goal from the day I got here in Vancouver, because I knew that was the reason I had been signed for. The fact that I got the goal in a derby game against Portland with BC Place full of fans, supporters, and filled with enthusiasm made it even more memorable.

Since I got a late start due to the medical issue I had in February, I knew I needed to score a goal as soon as possible to receive acceptance by the coaches, teammates and supporters. After that goal, I finally felt that everyone might start to recognize me as number 9. I was very happy that my boss, coaches, teammates and supporters congratulated me on the goal. Pa and Kekuta had planned the celebration for my first goal, and we finally got to do the "Sumo wrestling" that day!

Four days later, it happened.

One moment I was chasing the long ball from Laba, and the next moment I collided with the goalkeeper. That kind of ball from Laba is my forte, so I remember thinking: “I might be able to score here.” I was too absorbed by the ball and lost track of the keeper.

I woke up to find myself laying down on a bed in the hospital.

My wife stayed with me for the whole time. Soon thereafter, I heard my boss (Robbo) came by to see me right after the game. I didn't get to see him, but I felt the warmth in his heart once again.

On the next day, right before the surgery, Greg Anderson, Bob Lenarduzzi, and Joe Jesseau came to see me with a get-well card filled with words of encouragement and a flower for my wife. The only thing I could tell them was: “I'm sorry for being injured.” I was – and still am – disappointed that I was unable to be a part of the team for more than a month.

It was just after the surgery that my father-in-law came to visit all the way from Japan.

Even though my wife never showed her worries and anxiety to me, I know she was feeling scared, helpless, and lonely. So her dad’s visit was something truly meaningful.

My mom was here the next day to see me (my dad and mother-in-law couldn’t take the time off from work). She told me she was very anxious and she couldn’t keep still. But I was just so relieved to be with my family when I was in such a condition. Even though it was only for a few days, their mere presence gave me the courage to overcome this injury.

I really felt the support – and not only from family and friends.

My teammates and all the staff at the club sent me texts immediately to cheer me up. Their wives and girlfriends sent my wife and I a beautiful flower and get-well card, too.

They were so thoughtful.

After a while, I got a heartwarming letter from Matt Lampson, the goalkeeper for Chicago Fire who I collided with. I would like to thank him for caring about me – and also his teammates who took part in the emergency aid to help me. I can't wait to meet (play) them again.

I've also received so many encouraging messages from fans and supporters on Twitter and Instagram. Some of them even sent me a handwritten letters. I read through every single message and realized how lucky I am to have so many people at my back. I cannot thank everyone enough for everything.

This was probably the first time I didn't play soccer for such a long time.

It was tougher than I expected, not being able to play the game that I love. Soccer is something that I can hardly be separated with from my daily life.

However, my wife has been really supportive from the moment I left the pitch that day. She always made me smile when I needed it the most, and cheered me up during the most difficult period of time in my life. She even made me nutritious smoothies 10 times a day – sometimes more – to make sure I didn’t lose too much weight. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without her.

I am deeply grateful to all of you for the encouragement and support.

I hope I can show my gratitude with goals.  

Their words: Masato Kudo opens up about the collision after making his return -



2月に少し体調を崩したことで他の選手から遅れを取っていたこともあり、監督やコーチを始め、チームメイトやサポーターに一日でも早くチームの一員として認めてもらうためにも、何より "ゴール" が必要な事は自分でもよく分かっていました。



その瞬間、BC Placeの大観衆は一斉に沸き、スタジアム全体が歓喜と熱気に包まれたのを感じました。


また、"お前がゴールを決めた時には日本らしいパフォーマンスをしよう!" と前々から相撲取りの動画を見て練習をしてくれていたチームメイトのPaとKekutaと念願のSumo Celebrationも披露することができました。

あのゴールを決めた後からようやく "ホワイトキャップスの9番" として、チームに受け入れてもらえたような気がしました。

そして、4日後 ー

ボランチのLabaから僕の得意とするディフェンス裏へのロングボールが来た瞬間、"これは絶対にゴールが獲れる" - そう確信を持ちながら夢中になってボールを追い掛けていました。



"この絶好のゴールチャンスを逃すわけにはいかない" という気持ちが強すぎて、ボールに気を取られ過ぎてしまっていたのだと思います。















そこには、"怪我をさせてしまって本当に申し訳なく思っている  早くピッチに帰って来ることを願っているし、復帰するまで私に出来ることがあれば何でもするのでいつでも連絡下さい" と書いてありました。