Here are some things that did not exist when Kazuyoshi Miura made his debut with Brazil's Santos at the age of 19: the European Union, the Chunnel, The Bold and the Beautiful, the Rugby World Cup, The Legend of Zelda (American version), Final Fantasy. It was 1986. On Wednesday, Miura, now 49, signed a one-year contract renewal with Yokohama FC of Japan's second division, making him almost certainly the oldest active player in professional soccer.
Soccer, like most sports, is for the young. We talk about guys like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or his teammate Michael Carrick, both 35, as though they're senior citizens. Miura will be playing professional soccer at age 50!
On signing, Miura told the press, "I hope to keep fighting with all my might together with people involved with the club, my teammates and supporters who have always given me support."
That support has buoyed Miura through an incredible 32-year career, with a number of championships and individual awards along the way. In the early 1990s, with Japan's Tokyo Verdy, he won the league, the league cup (twice), and the cup winner's cup. Later, he added a Croatian championship with Dinamo Zagreb. In 1992 he won his first of two consecutive Japanese player of the year awards and led the national team as it won its first Asian Cup. He made the last of his 88 appearances for the national team in 2000. Last year, he once again set Japan's record as the oldest professional goal scorer. He could break that record again after his birthday on February 26.
Miura is not, however, the oldest player to ever take the field. Mexican forward Salvador Reyes holds that record. In 2008, Reyes made a token appearance in a match for Chivas Guadalajara. He was 71.