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Jet-set Naoki

Naoki Maeda who is settling in at Wolter Park.

A chance meeting on the Sunshine Coast led to Naoki Maeda signing for Moreton Bay United.

The 26-year-old from Japan was spotted, by striker Jeremy Stewart, practising in a park with fellow countryman Sakashita Mitsuru.

They were invited to training, coach Cameron Millar liked what he saw and signed both ahead of the Kappa Pro Series which starts this weekend.

“Naoki is an exciting player and I am very happy that he has decided to sign with us for the 2023 season,” coach Cameron said.

“He has already immersed himself into our club culture and is going to be a very important part of our team this year.”

The holding/number six midfielder has played in Japan, Finland and Cambodia and scored the only goal of Jets’ first pre-season victory at Surfers Paradise.

However, his senior career began at Shonan Bellmare in the J1 and J2 leagues 2013-14 and Fukushima United in J3 2015-2018 where he made 76 appearances.

In 2019 Naoki was at Ikoka in the JRL scoring four times in 18 games before going to Finnish second tier side Musan Salama in 2021 scoring once in 24 games.

Last year he went to Cambodian Premier League Ankor Tiger and then Australia playing six times for Sydney Bankstown.

“I love this crowd. I love this atmosphere and the coach is very kind and helpful,” he said.

Jets take on Sunshine Coast Fire at Kawana Sports Western Precinct on Sunday, 6pm, in the opening round of the new Kappa Pro Series.

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