Student Spotlight

Graduation Spotlight: Keisuke Ota, Kinesiology

Written By: Lasha Markham | May 6, 2024

Keisuke Ota in cap and gown on sealMeet Keisuke Ota. Not only is he an assistant coach for UCF Women’s Soccer, but he is also a former professional soccer player himself. After dedicating 16 years to playing in various Japanese professional soccer teams, competing in over 300 matches and scoring 36 career goals in the J. League—the top level of Japan’s Professional Football League—he chose to retire from professional soccer in 2015 to pursue a college degree. In 2022, he received a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from UCF. After graduation, he plans to continue coaching top athletes at the collegiate level and eventually, he hopes, at the professional level.


Hometown: Hamamatsu City, Japan

Degree: Master of Science in Kinesiology


Keisuke Ota


What will you be doing after graduation?

I have been an assistant coach for the UCF women’s soccer team during my time in graduate school, and I will continue coaching for the women’s soccer team after graduation.


What are your long-term career plans?

I want to continue coaching soccer at the college level, but eventually I would like to coach at a professional club in Major League Soccer (MLS) or the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).


Keisuke with UCF soccor coaches holding a trophyWhat accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?

There were many challenges trying to balance being a full-time soccer coach and graduate student especially during the rigorous fall soccer season with two games per week. Therefore, I created a detailed schedule in advance to balance my coaching and studying time. As a coach, my proudest achievement is helping the UCF women’s soccer team become the American Athletic Conference regular season champions in 2022.


What did you love the most about your time at UCF?

The small class sizes in the kinesiology graduate program promoted collaboration with other students. Everyone was very passionate about kinesiology, and it helped me succeed in the program.


What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?

My favorite professor at CHPS was Dr. David Fukuda. We were able to relate due to his Japanese heritage. He was always willing to explain difficult concepts to me in an easy-to-understand way. I always looked forward to attending his classes for his engaging lectures and hands-on lab experiences.






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