Canberra United Japan soccer great Yukari Kinga to boost W-League title hopes

Canberra United have invested in a Japan soccer champion to boost their hopes of winning a third W-League title, recruiting World Cup-winner Yukari Kinga to bolster their attacking stocks this season.

Canberra coach Rae Dower also revealed she will use injured players Caitlin Munoz and Catherine Brown on her support staff to keep them involved despite being ruled out for the year.

Japan's Yukari Kinga, right, has signed with Canberra United.


Former Arsenal player Kinga boasts a resumé that includes 100 international caps, World Cup glory, Olympic Games silver medals and a 13-year worldwide career.

Dower's vision of lifting Canberra to another championship led her to explore options in Japan and Kinga's recruitment will become even more crucial after Munoz ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.

Kinga and Munoz would have teamed up on the field to form an attacking duo, but Munoz will instead be helping Dower bark orders from the sideline in an assistant manager role.

Kinga, 32, whose English is limited but "speaks football", will arrive in the capital at the end of October after she finishes her season in Japan with INAC Kobe Leonessa.

"We're lacking a bit of experience with a few players being injured and a few players moving on, so hopefully [Kinga] is a bit of glue that we need to cement the newer players," Dower said.

"I set out to get a Japanese players this year for the league and in true Canberra United fashion she's the first Japanese international to come to the league.

"With someone of such pedigree to come over, she's possibly the most experienced international we've had join the W-League.

"She's excited to come and I thought it was a really good fit. Munoz will be missed on and off the field so [Kinga] was a key signing as soon as Caitlin was injured.

"The plan was to have them together and that would have been exciting, but now Munoz can assist from the sideline."

Dower is piecing together her Canberra squad after several changes in the off-season through injuries and players opting to move on.

Foundation Canberra United goalkeeper Lydia Williams has left, opening the door for Trudy Burke to be the No.1 shot-stopper.

Ellie Brush, who is closing in on 100 W-League caps, will juggle her time at United with her women's AFL ambitions.

Canberra defender Brown will also miss the season after dislocating her knee at a GWS Giants women's AFL trial last weekend.

"From all accounts Browny had a congenital knee problem there so it was possibly a timebomb waiting to happen," Dower said.

"With the impact she had, her patellar split right down the middle. It's disappointing for her, she'd worked so hard to get back in [W-League] contention.

"She was travelling to Sydney to play every weekend and got really fit. It's a real blow, but like Caitlin we'll keep her involved in whatever capacity we can."

Kinga has been in the Japan top division team of the year six times, won eight L League titles, three L League Cups and eight All Japan women's soccer championships.

She will join Canberra for their first game of the season against defending champions Melbourne City at Canberra Stadium on November 12 as part of a double-header with the A-League.

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