It's become an annual tradition unlike any other here at The18. Every winter the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament comes around and, like clockwork, drops the highlight of the year.
We've previously covered the greatest free kick routine in football history, and last year a "Ring Around the Rosie" corner kick captured the imaginations of even the most grizzled set-piece minds (the Danish).
Well, we're still over a month away from the 32-team tournament, but qualification finals are being played in prefectures across Japan this weekend and next.
As the largest city in the country, the Tokyo Prefecture gets two teams in the finals, and Kokushikan High School advanced to the qualification final with a 2-1 win over Omori Gakuen.
The game-winning goal was a 35-yard rocket that stayed hit — it was still rising when it flew into the top corner at a lethal velocity.
The All Japan High School Soccer Tournament continues to deliver, this time in qualifying.Masato Ichinose with a sensational finish for Kokushikan.pic.twitter.com/VsOe8l2HIe
— Dave Phillips (@lovefutebol) November 6, 2022
The 101st All Japan High School Soccer Tournament begins Dec. 28 with the final on Jan. 9, 2023. I'm going to try to buy the broadcasting rights.