Shinji Kagawa is more than just a good footballer. His genuine nature and kind approach to others have helped make him a real fans’ favourite even without his career really getting started at Old Trafford.
Back in Cerezo Osaka, Kagawa donates ‘Shinji Seats’ where he pays for 100 seats to be given out to underprivileged children at every home game so that they can get to watch the football.
“This is going to be the third year since the creation of the ‘Shinji seat’. I hope for as many children as possible to be able to watch Cerezo matches, and to be able to realize the charms of the J League and the joys of soccer. I also hope that through watching the games in person at the stadium that more people will become fans and supporters of soccer.” Shinji Kagawa
It’s a fantastic gesture from Kagawa. He doesn’t need to give anything back but by donating those seats to every home game, he is giving kids back in Japan an opportunity they may otherwise not have had.
Kagawa also held football schools this summer to help teach children about football and gave them a chance to play alongside him in mini matches.
And courtesy of Shinji Kagawa Baby, here is a fantastic anecdote showcasing why Kagawa is such a hero back in Japan.
“Former JNT striker Akihito Nagashima featured on a talkshow recently and shared this little anecdote when asked to share a “too bad” incident.
My son is turning 20 this year. He is moving up to high school, he played football, more for his father than himself. He’s since given up.
But when he was in elementary school, his teammates would practice in this Kobe neighborhood park. They say this ‘Oniichan’ (older kid) about three years older than them would practice there as well and he’d tell these little kids, “gather around” and start an impromptu football school of sorts.
The kid was better than everyone else, skilled. He’d slip through everyone and right when he had the goal, he’d always pass it to one of the younger kids and let them take the shot. The kids really got into football in that park, saying they wanted to become J-League stars.
Some years later, when these kids were in Jr. High school, they were watching a J-League game and one of them says “Hey, that’s Oniichan, that’s the guy that was teaching us football at the park”. I couldn’t believe it, that older kid was Shinji Kagawa.
My son’s teammates who played with Kagawa in that park, still play football. It’s ‘too bad’ my son never learned from Shinji.”