CHICAGO, Ill. (June 24, 2022) — Today, the Chicago Red Stars announced the addition of Morinao Imaizumi to the club's coaching staff as an assistant coach. Imaizumi joins the club for the remainder of the 2022 season to complete the team's coaching staff that has been without a third assistant coach since the departure of Julianne Sitch in April.
"Imaizumi is well-established and incredibly thoughtful in his approach, with experience coaching some of the best players in the game," said Chicago Red Stars Associate General Manager Michelle Lomnicki. "We are thrilled to bring in a coach with his knowledge, coupled with his vision and playing philosophy, that perfectly aligns with our club. We are excited to bring in Ima to round out our coaching staff."
"I'm excited to add Morinao to our team. He's a highly respected and extremely talented coach," said Chicago Red Stars Head Coach Chris Petrucelli. "He has worked with some of the world's best players and coached some outstanding teams."
"I'm excited for this fantastic opportunity. As I've progressed in my career, I've always kept my eyes open for a chance to work on the professional level," said Imaizumi. "I feel very fortunate to be selected to work with the Red Stars and their many talented players. Thank you to Michelle Lomnicki for believing in me. I look forward to working with Chris, his staff and the team."
Imaizumi, a Japanese native, held multiple coaching roles at the collegiate and international levels, and will now begin his coaching career at the professional level. He was a crucial member of the Japan Women's National Team as an assistant coach in 2004, where he coached current Red Star, Yuki Nagasato in the Olympics. The 61-year-old was the head coach of the U-17 and U-20 teams from 2004 to 2006.
"I played for the U-19 Japanese national team 18 years ago that Imaizumi-san coached. I was super young and had a lot to learn, on and off the field, and he helped guide me in the right direction," said Yuki Nagasato, Red Stars forward. "His passion for soccer is amazing. He will bring huge possibilities to the team and push us to a higher level."
On the collegiate level, Imaizumi has been the assistant coach for Florida State University women's team since 2011, starting as a volunteer assistant coach before becoming a full-time assistant coach in 2012. After returning to Japan for a few years to coach youth players, he returned to FSU as an assistant coach in 2015. As a part of the FSU staff, Imaizumi helped the team win six ACC Championships and the 2018 and 2021 NCAA National Championships. Casey Krueger (then Short), was part of the 2011 team, along with Imaizumi that won the ACC Championship.
"I worked with Imaizumi at Florida State where he helped me tremendously in learning the outside back position and was a huge asset in helping the team succeed," said Krueger. "I'm looking forward to working with him again and know that he will be a wonderful addition to the Red Stars organization."
Imaizumi began his coaching career with high school and youth clubs in Japan. As a head coach on the high school level, Imaizumi led two different schools to championship victories. Following his time on the high school level, Imaizumi joined the Japan Football Academy, where he was the youth development chief coach for girls in 2005 and head coach of the Fukushima girls' team in 2006.