Calm and composed on the ball, Daigo Kobayashi is one of the best passers on the team and has made over 50 appearances since arriving in New England ahead of the start of the 2014 season. He is often able to escape from tight situations in the center of the field and make the right decision to get the Revs out of danger. Typically one of the club’s first choices off the bench, Kobayashi appeared in all 34 of the Revs’ regular-season games in 2014. Prior to coming to MLS in 2013, Kobayashi played for three teams in the Japanese J-League while also plying his trade in Greece and Norway.
2015: Made 21 appearances, including 11 starts, all in central midfield where he tallied two assists. Kobayashi recorded his first assist of the season in the Revs’ first win, a 2-1 win over San Jose on March 28. He missed eight games from April 4 through May 20 while recovering from a left hamstring strain and a back injury, marking the first games he had missed since joining the club ahead of the 2014 season. He made his return from injury in the 2-2 draw with LA on May 31, coming off the bench in the 77th minute. Kobayashi registered his second assist of the season against NYCFC on July 18, helping set up Lee Nguyen’s game-winner. He appeared off the bench in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round defeat to D.C. United, and also started against the Charlotte Independence in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup.
2014: Appeared in all 34 of the Revs’ regular-season games after being acquired in a trade from Vancouver in late February. He started 23 times for the club, tallying four assists, including two game-winning assists. He picked up his first assist as a member of the Revolution against Houston on April 12, setting up Kevin Alston’s game-winning goal. He added assists against Toronto FC on May 3 and at Philadelphia on May 17 before collecting his fourth and final assist on August 23, setting up Lee Nguyen’s game-winning goal against Chivas USA. He made his Revolution debut in the season opener on March 8 against Houston and went on to play in every game, becoming the second Revolution player (along with Jose Goncalves in 2013) to appear for the Revs in every game of a 34-game regular season. Kobayashi also played in two of the Revs’ three U.S. Open Cup games while also playing in three of their five games in the MLS Cup Playoffs, including MLS Cup, when he came on in place of Scott Caldwell in the 58th minute. He assisted on Teal Bunbury’s goal in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Columbus at Gillette Stadium on November 9, just two minutes after coming on for the first postseason assist of his career.
2013: Signed with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Jan. 28, 2013 and started 21 of his 30 regular-season appearances. He scored two goals and added four assists in that time, with his first assist coming in his MLS debut on March 2 against Toronto FC when he set up Gershon Koffie’s game-winning goal. He scored his first goal for the Whitecaps a week later in a 2-1 home win over Columbus. He did not score again until September 7 when he opened the scoring in a 3-1 road loss to FC Dallas. Kobayashi added three assists in his final three games of the year, setting up a pair of Kekuta Manneh goals in a 4-1 road win over Seattle on October 9, and then adding another on October 19, setting up another goal for Manneh, this time in a 3-2 loss away to Colorado. He also played in two of Vancouver’s four games in the Amway Canadian Championship, scoring in the second leg of the final against Montreal Impact on May 29.
CLUB CAREER OUTSIDE OF MLS
Kobayashi began his professional career in 2001 with Tokyo Verdy of the J-League, where he played for five seasons (2001-2005), scoring 10 goals in 135 matches for the club. He moved to fellow J-League side Omiya Ardija in 2006 and spent three seasons (2006-2008) there, appearing in 55 games and scoring nine times. He moved to Europe in 2009, signing with Stabaek in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, where he scored eight goals in 29 matches and helped the Norwegian side finish third in league standings. After one season in Norway, Kobayashi moved to Greece, playing 15 times for Iraklis FC in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, tallying three assists before returning to Japan to play for Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League. He made 38 appearances for the club in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, scoring twice.
Was capped once by Japan, making his international debut on August 9, 2006 in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago in Tokyo. In 2003, he helped lead Japan to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Youth Championship (now FIFA Under-20 World Cup). Kobayashi is also a former member of Japan’s Under-18 squad.