Japanese Born Nakamura Wants To Grow The Game
Oakville, ON – Toronto Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick announced today the signing of Koichi Nakamura to a one-year agreement. The 27-year old from Fukuoka, Japan will step on the floor for the first time with the Rock at Tuesday’s training camp session at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, ON.
The signing is pending league approval.
“I have witnessed first-hand the time he’s put in and his work ethic here at the TRAC and with no guarantees of getting a shot,” explained Dawick. “He’s got the drive and commitment and now he’s got an opportunity to show us what he’s got.”
Nakamura first discovered lacrosse watching YouTube videos of American field lacrosse star Mikey Powell. He fell in love with the game and wanted to start a team at Nakamura Gakuen University in Japan. By his sophomore year, he had recruited enough players to make a team.
Fast forward to 2017 and he decided to make the trip to North America and play at Onondaga Community College near Syracuse, NY and went on to win a National Championship in 2017 and 2018.
This year, he’s come back to North American again. After attending the Philadelphia Wings rookie and free agent camp in October, he’s now come to Canada and specifically southern Ontario, to learn from the best as he put it, recognizing that the region is the hotbed for box lacrosse. He’s been working out at the TRAC and putting in time on the turf which is where he caught the eye of Dawick.
Nakamura was a faceoff specialist at OCC, but also has a pretty slick stick and can shoot the ball. While making an NLL roster is certainly his dream, he has loftier goals for the growth of box lacrosse back in his home country of Japan.
“This is my dream, my highest dream,” said Nakamura of making the NLL. “My short-term goal is to be the first Asian born lacrosse player in the pros. But, I also want the next generation of Japanese athletes to choose to play lacrosse and take advantage of this opportunity to possibly one day compete in the Olympics.”
Nakamura wants to bring the indoor game to Japan to improve his country’s chances at competing in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, CA. With Sixes being the version of the game played at the Olympics, he’s recognized how important indoor skills will be to having success on the international stage.
“Japan needs to learn box lacrosse to succeed internationally, no one has box lacrosse experience back home,” said Nakamura. “I want to help bring lacrosse to Asian countries like Japan and China. Hopefully we can have some Toronto Rock players come to Japan and teach box lacrosse to players there.”
Following Tuesday’s session, the Rock will be back on the floor for training camp on Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm at the TRAC.
As for exhibition games, the Rock will host Saskatchewan on Sat., Nov. 13, Colorado on Sat., Nov. 20, and Philadelphia on Sat., Nov. 27. All games will be 7pm starts at the TRAC.
The Toronto Rock Home Opener is scheduled for Saturday, December 4 at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre. Tickets for the game are now on sale to the general public through ticketmaster.ca and torontorock.com.
For more information on Toronto Rock Season Memberships, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive at 416-596-3075 or visit torontorock.com.