Central Coast Mariners striker Mitchell Duke will join Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse in time for the upcoming J-League season, the A-League team announced on their website today.
The 24-year-old is scheduled to fly to Japan on Tuesday, where he will undergo a medical before joining the team for their final pre-season training camp.
“The J-League is a well-respected league all around the world, all you have to do is take a look at the Japanese national team to see the quality players the J-League can produce,” Duke told the Mariners’ official website.
“I’ve gotta work my ass off and it’s a huge challenge for me to head overseas and prove myself in another country.”
Although it’s been well over a decade since league co-founders S-Pulse participated in Asian competition, Australian fans may know the Shizuoka Prefecture outfit as the former home of Alex Brosque, who called IAI Stadium Nihondaira home for nearly two seasons in 2011 and 2012.
“It always gives us as a club, playing and coaching staff great pleasure to have played a role in helping a young player develop his game to a point where it attracts interest from big leagues,” Mariners head coach Phil Moss told the club’s official website.
“It’s a great opportunity for ‘Dukey’ to take his career to the next level and he goes with our blessing,”
S-Pulse will look to end their streak of 13 seasons without a trophy when they host Kashima Antlers on March 8 in their season opener.