Kamakura Middle School Years
Aizawa Kakeru is the younger brother of one of Japan's top soccer stars. Yet, he's called "Mr.No-Goal" for never scoring a single point during matches. Eventually, Kakeru stopped playing soccer in front of others and settled as the manager in hopes that when his brother wins the World Cup, he will be there standing next to him. While Kakeru seemed fine with his new path, his brother Suguru silently disapproved of his current action. Kakeru, severely lacking confidence, was unwilling to return to soccer and was frustrated by Suguru's method of forcing him back. Meanwhile, Suguru clearly recognized Kakeru's natural talents as a forward and felt that he was wasting his potential.Eventually, Kakeru decided that he wanted a clean break from football and prepared to quit as the manager of the football club. On the day when Kakeru was about to officially resign from the club, his bike broke on the way to school. Suguru came along and gave a ride to Kakeru. It is during this time that the two brothers finally have a sincere talk. Kakeru revealed to Suguru his decision to withdraw from football completely and his hope for him to become the king of the field. Suguru responded by telling Kakeru that a king cannot win alone and needed a courageous knight who can score goals during critical moments. Before Suguru can say more, an incoming truck wheeled off course from the road and headed blindly toward their direction. Both Suguru and Kakeru were gravely injuried after being hit by the truck. They were quickly taken to the hospital where family and friends soon rushed over out of worry.There, the doctor informed their parents of their status. Suguru suffered a severe head injury and became brain dead. Meanwhile, Kakeru has a steel pipe embedded in his chest and received immense heart damage. Having already lost Suguru, the doctor suggested an option that might save Kakeru, which is to transplant Suguru's heart into Kakeru.
Awakening as a Striker
After the surgery, Kakeru astounded everybody with his quick recovery speed, but he is still in the dark about his brother's death. When the truth was finally revealed, Kakeru broke down and cried for his brother. After a few month, Kakeru returned to Kamakura but with the unwavering decision to quit the football club, to the protest of his friend Yusuke. No one seemed to be able to convince him to return to football until he played against the mysterious figure with the alien mask again in the park. In a moment of frustration, Kakeru shot a beautiful volley shot with his left leg. It was then revealed that the mysterious figure was Nana after all. Kakeru was thrown into disarray when he realized that the reason he survived was because of his brother's heart and that it's full of his unfulfilled dreams.After reading Suguru's diary and understanding his true thoughts, Kakeru regretted forgetting their promise to win the World Cup together and firmly decided to return to football. A year has passed by since Suguru's death, Kakeru was back with the football club but still didn't have a numbered jersey. It appeared that his previous reputation affected his chance of being selected as a regular. Nonetheless, over the course of the year, Kakeru trained his left foot relentlessly to overcome his psychological hindrances. Before the last match in his middle school years, Kakeru and Nana went to visit Suguru's grave to pray so that Kakeru may participate in the match. There, Kakeru met the legendary Leonardo Silva, the world-class football player from Brazil and a friend of his brother. For reasons even Kakeru's didn't know, he boldly invited Silva to come watch his school's match. During that match, Kamakura Middle School's team was overwhelmed by the other team's offense and defense. With some encouragement from Kouta and Yusuke along with his own determination, Kakeru pleaded for the coach to let him play. For the first time in middle school, Kakeru worn a numbered jersey, which happened to be 10, and went on to the pitch in an official game. In the small amount of time left, Kakeru put in two goals, demonstrating his massive improvements in his abilities. Just before the whistle blowed, Kakeru suddenly started playing with high-leveled dribbling skills mimicking that of his late brother. However, his efforts were in vain because they ran out of time. Despite losing, Kakeru gained the others' respect and took his first step toward knighthood.
Transfer to Enoshima
After reading through his brother's diary, Kakeru found a picture of his brother with another player named Araki whom his brother deemed as having better passes. Kakeru felt that a knight definitely needed a king, and decided to enroll in Enoshima High to receive passes from Araki. During the opening ceremony, Kakeru and Nana had their first encounter with Hyoudo Makoto, Kuribayashi Reo, and Horikawa Akito. The three Enoshima High Football Club (FC) members immediately pulled Kakeru and Nana into signing up for the club after they successfully answered a question from Coach Iwaki. After filling out the necessary papers, Kakeru and Nana left, feeling somewhat cheated.
When Kakeru got settled into his class, he and Nana were surprised to find that their old friend Kouta from Kamakura was also here. It turned out that Kouta's grade wasn't good enough for Kamakura so he had to retake the exam and got into Enoshima on his second try. Once the class started, they found out that their homeroom teacher was none other than Coach Iwaki. Although becoming suspicious of everything, Kakeru was still oblivious to the split within Enoshima.
After class, Kakeru and the others eventually met Araki, without any knowledge that the obese person in front of them is the Araki he was looking for. Araki attempted to lure them into joining the Comedian Club, but Kakeru refused saying they are interested in football. Araki countered by replying that football is boring and proceed to show the 1st years the strict entrance test to Enoshima's Soccer Club (SC). Kakeru and Nana were shocked and somewhat confused because the FC they just joined seem to welcome everybody. Eventually, the FC members also showed up. Not until Araki introduced himself as "Arahkey" did Kakeru finally realize that the fat person in front of him was the same person in his brother's photo. No need to say, Kakeru was shocked and disappointed. To make matters worse, Kakeru found out that FC was a hobby group and had no chance of going into the Nationals. Although wanting to quit FC for SC, Coach Iwaki managed to convince Kakeru to stay with ideals about winning the world cup. Afterwards, Kakeru had a one-on-one talk with Araki. He attempted to convince Araki to play for the FC again, but Araki told Kakeru to give up, telling him that he's skills were not enough to survive in high school and revealed that the main reason he quit football is because of Suguru.
In preparation for the big match against SC, the rest of the FC decided to hold a practice match on the beach. Kakeru was amazed by the team dynmaic and the skills of each FC players. For the first time since enrolling in Enoshima, Kakeru felt that he made the correct choice. Because he was not use to playing on the sand, Kakeru struggled with passing and running around first. Eventually, the first years, Kakeru and Matoba Karou were quickly exhausted by the immense stress placed on their legs.
That night after dinner, Kakeru went up to Suguru's room and opened his diary. He remembered Araki's words and decided to find out more about it. By reading Suguru's diary, he found out how Araki and his brother met and their eventual fallout. Kakeru realized that it was all a misunderstanding and felt that he must convince Araki to return to football again. The next day at school, Kakeru met Takase, the 190cm tall player from SC, and Oda Ryoma, the current SC's number 10. Before he left, Oda asked them to come by and watch the SC's match later. After school, Kakeru and Nana went to watch the match and witness the real strength of the SC. While absorbed with the match, Kakeru was surprised to find that Araki was also there. Once again, Kakeru tries to convince him to return. Araki stubbornly revealed that there was no point if he could not even play in a real match. Kakeru listened as Araki continue to recount the last FC's encounter with the SC: the FC lost devastingly to the SC. Just as Araki was expressing his frustration for his inability to break the SC's defense, Kakeru brought up a phantom pass route that can only be done by two people but is effective in bring down any iron defense. Although they didn't receive a direct confirmation, Kakeru and Nana believe that Kakeru's words got through to Araki.
FC vs. SC
In the match against SC, the FC players appeared to be struggling initally. The SC's iron defense prove to be a formidable obstacle for the FC and that made it difficult to score. In addition, using their superior physyical attributes, the SC dominated the game in offense as well. Using his keen instinct, Kakeru manages to save the team from losing two points by clearing the ball at the critical moment. The SC continued their relentless attacks and scored two points consecutively. When a member of FC got injuried and reduce the team to ten players, Kakeru felt dejected until the arrival of Kouta renewed his spirit. During the halftime break, Coach Iwaki reminded him that his actions were too obvious and needed to disappear for a while.This reminded Kakeru of his brother's advice before. The match restarted again and when the right time came, Kakeru manage to appear where no one expected and score a goal for the team. However, the SC soon retailated with another point of their own, bringing the game to 3-1.
Just when things looked bad for the FC, their king Araki returned. Despite never establishing any chemistry, Kakeru and Araki manage to pull off a magical trick that earned the FC their second point. Afterwards, Araki told Kakeru to set the stage for himself. Although initially puzzled by it, Kakeru soon understood what Araki meant and started a barrage of high powered middle-range shots. Others were surprised by the strength behind these shots because they are disproportional to Kakeru's thin frame. Through many attempts, they finally opened up a gap between the defenders and the goalie, thus creating the stage for the striker. With another combination with Araki, Kakeru manage to score his second point and tie the score at 3-3. Now that the game could go either way, both SC and FC began to gave their all. At the last moment, Kakeru attempted to win the game with an overhead kick, but it was blocked by the goalie. Thus, the game ended in a tie.
Birth of Enoshima High Football Team
After the intense match with SC to decide to representative team, both coaches decided to disband their own teams to create an official football team. Kakeru and the rest of the FC members were told that they have to give it their all if they want to be regulars on the new team. All 67 members of the combined SC and FC were put through intensive training for a whole week. During a practice match on the beach, Kakeru was unable to dribble past Araki, who directly told him that he possess a fatal weakness for a forward and, at this rate, he was not qualified to become a regular, which caused Kakeru to become dejected.
Because Araki gained back half of his weight, Kakeru and Nana paid his mother a visit and asked for her help in his dieting. Before they left, Araki once again brought up Kakeru's weakness and told him that it will hinder him as a forward. This caused Kakeru to remember his brother's words that he has forgotten a long time ago. During a practice session, Suguru easily managed to steal the ball from Kakeru. When Kakeru attempted to find out why, Suguru only gave him a hint to figure out why his strength is Run With the Ball, but it becomes a weakness in a one-on-one confrontation. Later on that night, Kakeru continues his nightly practice session with Nana. When Nana also managed to steal the ball from him, he becomes anxious and realize that he has no chance of becoming a regular if he doesn't realize and fix his weakness. WIth hints from Nana, Kakeru finally realizes that the problem lies with his concentration on the ball. Because he tends to look at the ball before making a feint, the opponents can easily read his intention and steal the ball from him. Now that he figured out his weakness, Kakeru is determined to fix it by practice. Nana suggests that he practice with the alien mask on. The mask greatly limited his field of vision and prevented Kakeru from seeing the ball when trying to pass Nana. Just when Nana was about to steal the ball, she is shocked to find that the ball has disappeared. The next thing she noticed was that the ball has returned to Kakeru's feet. Afterwards, Kakeru was surprised that he managed to pass Nana until she told him that he had just done a mythical feint, and the two continued to practice to perfect this technique.
The next day, it was time to pick the 20 regular players that will participate in the Inter-High preliminaries. Coach Iwaki began by picking the goalie, the defenders, the midfielders and finally the forwards. Kakeru started to get nervious after nineteen players were choosen and the only position left is a forward. In a moment of relief, Coach Iwaki voiced out Kakeru's name, officially making him a regular player for the competition. Even though he's number 20, Kakeru is excited because he hasn't receive a numbered uniform since elementary school. With the members set, the team continues to prepare the preliminaries, whether it's in skills or teamwork.