Morinao Imaizumi is in his eighth season at Florida State, returning from Japan in 2015 after being a volunteer assistant in 2011 and an assistant coach in 2012. Imaizumi aids with player development and has a large role in planning the offensive attack. He has helped the Seminoles to win five ACC Championships (2011, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020) and the 2018 NCAA National Championship.
The 2020 season was a special one for the Seminoles offense as the finished ranked No. 1 in the country in assists per game (2.36), points per game (8.55), scoring offense (3.09), total goals (34) and total points (94). The Florida State offense was a balance attack, led by Clara Robbins who finished the fall season with five goals and five assists. LeiLanni Nesbeth joined Robbins with five goals of their own. Jenna Nighswonger and Jaelin Howell both had four goals of their own. Nighswonger tied Robbins for the team lead in assists with five. Florida State would score four or more goal in six of their 11 games, outscoring their opponents by a combined 34-6.
In 2019 the Seminoles ranked in the top 25 in assists (23rd – 44), goals (16th – 49) and points (15th – 142) as the Seminoles advanced to their 13th Elite eight. Deyna Castellanos once again led the Noles in scoring with 35 points on 12 goals and 11 assists. This performance propelled her to her third All-American honor and moved her into second all-time at FSU in points and goals. 12 different Seminoles scored a goal for the 17th time in school history. Florida State has six games in which a student-athlete scored multiple goals, coming from four different players.
The 2018 Seminoles ranked in the top 10 in total points (seventh – 152), goals (eighth – 52) and assists (eighth – 48) as Florida State won its second national championship in program history. Deyna Castellanos led the team with 28 points on 10 goals and eight assists as 16 different players scored a goal to tie a school record set in 2012, and 10 different players had multiple goals scored. Every field player that posted at least 400 minutes on the season scored at least one goal on the season.
In 2017, sophomore forward Deyna Castellanos led the Seminole offense, scoring 41 points on 19 goals and three assists. The 19 goals finished ranked second in the NCAA and also was the second-most goals scored in a single season in FSU history, trailing only Mami Yamaguchi’s 24 goals scored in 2007. Overall, the Noles scored 43 goals and added 39 assists in 2017, and posted a .468 shot on goal percentage.
During the 2016 season, Florida State earned its fourth consecutive ACC Championship behind a very youthful squad, including eight underclassmen in the starting lineup. Each of the top five leading scorers on the squad were either freshmen or sophomores, topped by sophomore Megan Connolly (18 points on seven goals and four assists) for the second season in a row. Freshman Deyna Castellanos tied for the team lead with seven goals, but accomplished the feat in just 13 matches, as the Venezuela native missed over a month of the regular season to compete for her country at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, earning Bronze Boot and Bronze Ball accolades as Venezuela finished fourth in the tournament.
In 2015, the Seminoles reached the College Cup for the fifth consecutive season and won their third straight ACC Championship. Florida State led the nation with 69 assists and finished in the top five of four other statistical categories – goals, points, assists per game and points per game. Freshman Megan Connolly led the team with 28 points on her way to becoming FSU’s first freshman to be named an NSCAA First-Team All-American and the ACC Freshman and Midfielder of the Year. Overall, the Noles posted an 18-3-4 record and finished the year with a 24-game home unbeaten streak. For his work with the team, Imaizumi was named the Southeast Region Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Imaizumi moved back to Japan following the 2012 season, continuing to grow the game with the youth. In 2013, he worked with the Japan Football Association as the Chief Coach of the girls division. In 2014, he became the assistant director of coaching education at the JFA and also was a head coach of a team with the JFA Academy in Fukushima. The U-15 team at the Academy finished as runner-up in both the 2014 and 2015 All-Japan Tournament. There were also some graduates of the Academy selected to play in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup for Japan.
In his second year at Florida State in 2012, the Seminoles reached the College Cup for the second-straight season and the sixth time overall. FSU opened the season with a school-record 14 consecutive victories and ended the year with 20 wins – tying the program-best mark from 2005. The Noles earned their second ACC regular-season championship and placed a league-best eight players on the 2012 All-ACC teams. Senior defender Ines Juarena was named a NSCAA First-Team All-American and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist. Forward Tiffany McCarty led the team with 17 goals and 39 points in 2012, ending her career with 63 goals and 150 points – FSU records in both categories.
As a volunteer assistant in 2011, Imaizumi helped the Seminoles secure an 18-win season, their first ACC Championship and a berth in the College Cup. He was able to apply his unique teaching style from his experience as a head coach with the Japan Football Association (JFA) and implement it into the day-to-day workings of the Seminole offense. The new style was a success as Florida State finished the year ranked in the top four in the ACC in points per game (3rd – 6.58), goals per game (3rd – 2.12) and assists per game (4th – 2.35). The offensive production in 2011 of 172 points on 55 goals and 62 assists was an immediate upgrade from the previous season which the team tallied 130 points on 45 goals and 40 assists. Three players including First-Team All-American Tiffany McCarty turned out season career-highs in total points and goals.
Imaizumi began his coaching career in Japan where he served as head coach of the Funabashi Futawa High School football club for six years from 1983 to 1988. His next two coaching stints would keep him in the high school circuit as he landed the head job at Yachiyo High School (1988-2000) and then at Makuhari Sogo High School (2000-2003). He led Yachiyo to the inter-high school championship in 1999 and the final 16 in 1994. His 1997 squad reached the final eight of the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament. Imaizumi brought his winning ways to Makuhari Sogo High School leading the football club to the inter-high school championship in 2002.
Imaizumi took his coaching skills to the national level in 2002 where he served as head coach of the Japanese Women’s Universiade National Team for two years. He led the Japanese to a runner-up finish at the 2003 Universiade in Daegu. From 2004 to 2005, Imaizumi worked as an assistant coach with Japan’s Full National Team, while serving as the head coach of the U-17 team. He led the U-17’s to a gold medal at the 2005 Asian Football Confederation Championship as the Japanese defeated China PR in the title game. From 2004 to 2006, Imaizumi worked as head coach of Japan’s U-20 National Team. He would later serve for two years (2006-07) as Japan’s Olympic Committee Development coach.
With the JFA, Imaizumi worked as an instructor for A-License, B-License and C-License coaching certification. In 2003, he served as the boy’s Youth Development coach in the Kanto Region. Two years later, Imaizumi took over as the Youth Development chief coach for the girls and in 2006 became the head coach of the JFA Academy Fukushima girl’s squad.
A native of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Imaizumi earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from the University of Tsukuba in Tsukuba Ibaraki, Japan in 1983. Imaizumi was a member of the football club at Tsukuba and was a candidate on the U-20 Japanese National Team. He is married to Nami Imaizumi.