Having played an integral role in Coniston claiming some silverware, Takayuki Kayano is now leaving the Illawarra for his next footballing chapter.
Coniston on Wednesday revealed that their central defender had departed for an opportunity with FNSW League One outfit Macarthur Rams in 2024. The announcement comes about six weeks after 'Cono' broke their 22-year Premier League first-grade grand final drought with a 1-0 victory over Cringila.
Kayano is the third player to leave the club in recent weeks, after rivals Wollongong United announced that they had snared Sammy Matthews and Jason Zufic. With goalkeeper Kaydin Harrison also set to miss their whole 2024 campaign due to an ACL injury, fans can expect a new-look Coniston outfit under head coach Franc Pierro.
The loss of Kayano will arguably be felt the most by Cono next year. He joined the club in 2018 and went on to play more than 100 first-grade games, providing steeliness to their defensive unit.
Kayano - who was named the club's 2023 player of the year - said he was "extremely happy and proud" to have played for the Illawarra outfit.
"My memories at Coniston FC include winning the District League in the 2018 season, getting promoted to the IPL, and winning the IPL grand final," he said.
"In my third and fourth years, the league was suspended due to COVID, and in my fifth year, it was a shortened season due to heavy rain, but Coniston FC continued to support me. This season, we were finally able to play a full season, and in the end, we were able to win the IPL grand final.
"A big thank you to all the Coniston FC supporters, teammates and staff."
Coniston president John Karayiannis thanked Kayano for his service to the club.
"When 'Taka' first moved to Australia we could see he was a fantastic defender, yet Taka brought so much more to the club. Whenever our volunteers needed help to mark the lines or help with labouring around the ground, Taka would always make himself available with a smile," he said.
"Taka also coached many of our juniors, which led to him becoming one of our most popular players. Taka also completed the rare feat of winning the District League and Premier League grand final."
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