Things to Know:
Nakamura had come to the attention of Reggina scouts after an international match against Honduras during the 2002 Kirin Cup in which Nakamura had a standout performance and scored two goals. Reggina gained promotion to Serie A after the 2001–02 season and had already been looking to sign a marquee player for some time. It is said that, on the day Reggina secured promotion, then-Chairman Pasquale Foti had already called the Marinos to inquire about a Nakamura transfer while Reggina’s players were still on the pitch celebrating. Expectations for Nakamura were very high; the prestigious number 10 shirt was even taken from teammate Francesco Cozza and given to Nakamura, and the club sold 25,000 Nakamura shirts in the first five months he was at the club. Nakamura responded by scoring in three consecutive matches early in the season; in league play, Nakamura finished the season with 32 appearances and tied for the team lead with 7 goals, helping Reggina narrowly avoid relegation (Reggina defeated Atalanta in the relegation playoff). Nakamura struggled with injuries in 2003 and was limited to just 18 appearances in the 2003–04 season (these injuries also caused him to miss a 2003 Confederations Cup game against Colombia and national team duty in November 2003). Additionally, Reggina underwent four managerial changes in just Nakamura’s first two years at the club; Walter Mazzarri, hired in the summer of 2004, would already be Nakamura’s fifth manager at Reggina. The frequent changes resulted in Nakamura mostly coming off the bench during the 2003–04 season and not fitting in well under Mazzarri in 2004–05 when Reggina only scored 36 goals in their entire league campaign, with Nakamura only managing to contribute two goals (although each came in crucial 1–0 league victories in a season where Reggina finished only 2 points clear of the relegation zone). Coupled with Reggina’s struggle to avoid relegation every season that he had been at the club, Nakamura became concerned he was regressing from top level football and decided it was time to move on.