Oita Trinita to sign sex scandal player

TOKYO - Japanese club Oita Trinita are planning to sign controversial midfielder Naoya Kikuchi, who was arrested two years ago for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Oita official Yasushi Hara said the Kyushu-based club were serious about recruiting Kikuchi, who was banned from playing in Japan for a year following the scandal.

"We don't want to see such a talented young player go to waste," Hara told Wednesday's Nikkan Sports newspaper. "We want to give him a chance."

The 24-year-old Kikuchi, who was a member of Japan's 2004 Athens Olympic squad, played third division football in Germany after being booted out of the J-League in 2007.

He had admitted to having sex with a schoolgirl in a car, according to police reports.

Kikuchi was arrested after the girl reported the case to the police with a wallet containing Kikuchi's driver's license, which he had left in the basket of her bicycle.

His former club Jubilo Iwata immediately terminated the player's contract.