TOKYO -- Stefano Lilipaly, a midfielder on the Indonesian national squad, has turned down offers from three local clubs to instead play for the Consadole Sapporo soccer team in Japan.
The Dutch-born Lilipaly, who now plays for Almere City in the Netherlands, will become the second Indonesian in Japan's J.League. He will wear the No. 41 vest for Division 2 Sapporo, the team will announce Wednesday.
"He's a player with proven skills as well as fitness who can create chances," a senior club official said.
The 24-year-old Lilipaly made his debut on the Indonesian squad last year and is seen as a rising star.
Looking beyond his skills on the pitch, Consadole sees the deal as a way to promote its northern Japanese home city and the island of Hokkaido as a tourist destination in Southeast Asia's most populous country.
Vietnamese forward Le Cong Vinh's six-month stint with the team last year did just that in his home country, helping the team land a sponsorship deal with Japanese trading house Sumitomo, which is looking to expand its business there.
Separately, Consadole is also negotiating a club partnership with Arema Cronus of Indonesia.