Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Sanfrecce Hiroshima logo.svg
Full nameSanfrecce Hiroshima F.C
Nickname(s)Sanfrecce, Sanfre, Viola
Founded1938; 85 years ago (1938)[1] as Toyo Kogyo S.C.
GroundEdion Stadium Hiroshima
Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima
ChairmanShingo Senda
ManagerMichael Skibbe
LeagueJ1 League
2022J1 League, 3rd of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japanese: サンフレッチェ広島, romanizedSanfuretche Hiroshima) is a Japanese professional football club based in Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima. The club plays in the J1 League, which is the top tier of football in the country. Sanfrecce is one of the most successful clubs in Japan. The club is the joint fourth in most J1 League titles with four, the joint first in most top-flight titles (which includes the defunct Japan Soccer League), with eight, and the club with the most participations in Emperor's Cup finals, with 15.

The club is one of the only four clubs to be among the three best-placed teams of the FIFA Club World Cup, in a feat currently shared with Al-Sadd, Al-Ain and Kashima Antlers.

Club name

The club name is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for three, San and the Italian word frecce, which means 'arrows'. This is based on the story of the feudal lord Mōri Motonari who told his three sons that while a single arrow might be easily snapped, three arrows held together would not be broken and urged them to work for the good of the clan and its retainers.[3]

Former names


The club's home town is Hiroshima and the side plays at Hiroshima Big Arch and Hiroshima Prefectural Stadium. It holds training sessions at Yoshida Soccer Park in Akitakata, Hiroshima and Hiroshima 1st Ball Park.

Sanfrecce plans a move to a new stadium on 2024, which has been named Hiroshima Peace Stadium Park. It is on construction since 2021, and is scheduled to end it around the end of 2023.


As Mazda team

1965 Inaugural League Champion. Hiroyuki Kuwahara and Yasuyuki Kuwahara are brothers.

The club was a former company team of Toyo Kogyo Soccer Club (東洋工業サッカー部) in 1938 and played in the semi-professional Japan Soccer League.

The club was an original founder ("Original Eight"[a]) of the now-disbanded Japan Soccer League (JSL) in 1965. They dominated the JSL's early years, winning the title 4 times in a row – a feat that was later equaled by Yomiuri SC/Verdy Kawasaki. The name change was made at Mazda SC (マツダSC) in 1981. When JSL disbanded and became the J.League in 1992, it dropped the company name and became "Sanfrecce Hiroshima". Alongside JEF United Ichihara Chiba and Urawa Red Diamonds they co-founded both leagues ("Original Ten"[b]).

During the 1969 season they participated in the Asian Club Cup, forerunner to today's AFC Champions League; at the time, the tournament was done in a single locale (in that year it was Bangkok, Thailand), and they ended up in third place, the first participation of a Japanese club in the continental tournament. This also cost them the league title to Mitsubishi/Urawa, and although they won another title in 1970, since then the club has been out of the running for the title, with exceptional seasons such as 1994 when they won runner-up.


The Toyo Industries that became the first JSL champions also completed the first double by taking the Emperor's Cup. They were also the first of three "Invincibles", undefeated champion clubs in Japan (the others were Mitsubishi in 1969 and Yamaha in 1987–88), although only Toyo completed a double.

Matsumoto, Ogi, and Yasuyuki Kuwahara went on to win the 1968 Olympic bronze medal for the national team.


In 2002, Sanfrecce became the first former stage winner (first stage, 1994) to be relegated to the lower division, J2. But it only spent a year there, finishing second the very next season to regain promotion back to J1. The club finished 16th in the 2007 season and were relegated to J.League Division 2 after they were beaten by Kyoto Sanga in the promotion/relegation play-off. In 2008 they nevertheless won the J2 title at the first attempt, having 84 points (a difference of 25 points with the runner-up clubs) with six matches left.

By virtue of earning fourth place in the 2009 season and Gamba Osaka retaining the Emperor's Cup, Sanfrecce qualified for the Asian Champions League, where they were knocked out in the group phase.

On 24 November 2012, Sanfrecce defeated Cerezo Osaka 4–1 to seal their first ever J.League Division 1 title.[4][5]

On 7 December 2013, Sanfrecce defeated Kashima Antlers 2–0, securing their second J.League Division 1 title following a thrilling finish to the season which saw first-place Yokohama F. Marinos losing their final league game, handing Sanfrecce the title. With their second consecutive title win, Sanfrecce became the second club to successfully defend their crown since Kashima Antlers in 2009.

2015 proved to be a great year for Sanfrecce, finishing 1st in the 2nd half of the season, then finishing 1st overall, just 2 points above Urawa Red Diamonds, to qualify and represent Japan in that year's FIFA Club World Cup. They would finish 3rd, after winning, 2–1, against Chinese side Guanzhou Evergrande in the 3rd place match.

In 2018, after Sanfrecce progessively trailing towards a J1 title, as it led the standings after Round 5, the club fell down to 2nd-place at the end of the season. The club saw Kawasaki Frontale win the league as Sanfrecce lost four of their last five league matches.

In 2022, the club was relieved to experience another good season, under the management of newly-appointed German coach Michael Skibbe. Underrated by many because of the previous season, the club fought for the title at every competition it played until the very end. It finished at the 3rd place at the J1 League, as runners-up to J2 club Ventforet Kofu in the Emperor's Cup final, and as J.League Cup champions. The J.League Cup was won in dramatic fashion against Cerezo Osaka, as the club managed to comeback from a 1–0 loss with two goals scored by mid-season Cypriot signing Pieros Sotiriou. Both goals came very late in the match, being scored at the 96th and 101st minute of the match, during the added time of the second half.

Kit and colours


The main colour of Sanfrecce Hiroshima is purple.

Kit evolution

Record as J.League member

Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Teams Pos. Attendance/G J.League
1992 Group stage 2nd round Did not qualify Did not qualify
1993 J1 10 5th 16,644 Group stage Semi-finals
1994 12 2nd 17,191 1st round Quarter-finals
1995 14 10th 11,689 Runners up
1996 16 14th 8,469 Group stage Runners up
1997 17 12th 6,533 Group stage 4th round
1998 18 10th 8,339 Group stage Quarter-finals
1999 16 8th 9,377 2nd round Runners up
2000 16 11th 8,865 2nd round 4th round
2001 16 9th 9,916 Quarter-finals 4th round
2002 16 15th 10,941 Group stage Semi-finals
2003 J2 12 2nd 9,000 4th round
2004 J1 16 12th 14,800 Group stage 4th round
2005 18 7th 12,527 Group stage 5th round
2006 18 10th 11,180 Group stage 5th round
2007 18 16th 11,423 Quarter-finals Runners up
2008 J2 15 1st 10,840 Quarter-finals
2009 J1 18 4th 15,723 Group stage 3rd round
2010 18 7th 14,562 Runners up 3rd round Group stage
2011 18 7th 13,203 1st round 3rd round
2012 18 1st 17,721 Group stage 2nd round 5th place
2013 18 1st 16,209 Quarter-finals Runners up Group stage Not eligible
2014 18 8th 14,997 Final Round of 16 Round of 16
2015 18 1st 16,382 Group stage Quarter-finals 3rd Place
2016 18 6th 15,464 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals Group stage Not eligible
2017 18 15th 14,042 Play-off stage Round of 16
2018 18 2nd 14,346 Group stage Round of 16
2019 18 6th 13,886 Quarter-finals 4th round Round of 16
2020 18 8th 4,545 Group stage Did not qualify -
2021 20 11th 5,920 Group stage 2nd round
2022 18 3rd 10,493 Winners Runners-up
2023 18 TBA

League history

Total (as of 2022): 51 seasons in the top tier and 7 seasons in the second tier.


As Toyo Kogyo SC and Mazda SC (amateur era) as well as Sanfrecce Hiroshima (professional era)



Winners (1): 2022

Continental record

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2010 AFC Champions League Group H China Shandong Luneng 0–1 3–2 3rd
South Korea Pohang Steelers 4–3 1–2
Australia Adelaide United 1–0 2–3
2013 AFC Champions League Group G Uzbekistan Bunyodkor 0–2 0–0 4th
China Beijing Guoan 0–0 1–2
South Korea Pohang Steelers 0–1 1–1
2014 AFC Champions League Group F China Beijing Guoan 1–1 2–2 2nd
Australia Central Coast Mariners 1–0 1–2
South Korea FC Seoul 2–1 2–2
Round of 16 Australia Western Sydney Wanderes 3–1 0–2 3–3 (a)
2016 AFC Champions League Group F China Shandong Luneng 1–2 0–1 3rd
South Korea FC Seoul 2–1 1–4
Thailand Buriram United 3–0 2–0
2019 AFC Champions League Play-off round Thailand Chiangrai United 0–0 (a.e.t.)
(4–3 p)
Group F China Guangzhou Evergrande 1–0 0–2 1st
Australia Melbourne Victory 2–1 3–1
South Korea Daegu FC 2–0 1–0
Round of 16 Japan Kashima Antlers 3–2 0–1 3–3 (a)

Personnel awards




For a list of all former and current Sanfrecce Hiroshima players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:Sanfrecce Hiroshima players.

Current squad

As of 6 January 2023.[6][7]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Japan JPN Takuto Hayashi
2 DF Japan JPN Jelani Reshaun Sumiyoshi
3 DF Japan JPN Taichi Yamasaki
4 DF Japan JPN Hayato Araki
5 MF Japan JPN Hiroya Matsumoto
6 MF Japan JPN Toshihiro Aoyama
7 MF Japan JPN Gakuto Notsuda
8 MF Japan JPN Takumu Kawamura
9 FW Brazil BRA Douglas Vieira
10 MF Japan JPN Tsukasa Morishima
11 FW Japan JPN Makoto Mitsuta
13 FW Switzerland SUI Nassim Ben Khalifa
14 MF Brazil BRA Ezequiel
15 DF Japan JPN Shuto Nakano
16 DF Japan JPN Takaaki Shichi
No. Pos. Nation Player
17 MF Japan JPN Taishi Matsumoto
18 MF Japan JPN Yoshifumi Kashiwa
19 DF Japan JPN Sho Sasaki (captain)
20 FW Cyprus CYP Pieros Sotiriou
21 GK Japan JPN Yudai Tanaka
22 GK Japan JPN Goro Kawanami
23 FW Japan JPN Shun Ayukawa
24 MF Japan JPN Shunki Higashi
25 MF Japan JPN Yusuke Chajima
28 FW Japan JPN Ryo Tanada
30 MF Japan JPN Kosei Shibasaki
32 MF Japan JPN Sota Koshimichi
33 DF Japan JPN Tsukasa Shiotani
38 GK Japan JPN Keisuke Osako

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Japan JPN Taishi Semba (at Fagiano Okayama)
MF Japan JPN Kodai Dohi (at Ventforet Kofu)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Japan JPN Motoki Ohara (at Mito HollyHock)

Reserve squad (U-18s)

As of 7 September 2022;Squad for the 2022 season:[8]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Japan JPN Eiko Nagoshi
2 DF Japan JPN Arashi Daijomen
3 DF Japan JPN Isshin Kuroki
4 MF Japan JPN Kanata Nakamitsu
5 DF Japan JPN Yuta Watanabe
6 MF Japan JPN Ryota Hatano
7 FW Japan JPN Haruto Takiguchi
8 MF Japan JPN Yuma Ino
9 FW Japan JPN Yuichiro Karashima
10 MF Japan JPN Yuzu Kasagi
11 MF Japan JPN Sota Koshimichi
12 MF Japan JPN Ayuki Masutani
13 FW Japan JPN Hayato Seno
14 MF Japan JPN Michika Takashita
15 MF Japan JPN Zento Torii
16 GK Japan JPN Koshin Yamada
17 DF Japan JPN Mikio Yamane
18 MF Japan JPN Seiya Ishibashi
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 MF Japan JPN Yuki Kimura
20 FW Japan JPN Sota Hamada
21 GK Japan JPN Shunsuke Sawada
22 MF Japan JPN Shin Takeyama
23 FW Japan JPN Jo Tsunokake
24 MF Japan JPN Kazuma Matsumoto
25 MF Japan JPN Yotaro Nakajima
26 MF Japan JPN Akashi Inoue
27 MF Japan JPN Miran Ishihara
28 DF Japan JPN Yutaro Aoi
29 FW Japan JPN Hagumu Nakagawa
30 FW Japan JPN Soma Hiroshige
31 GK Japan JPN Airu Nakahara
32 DF Japan JPN Fuga Kotani
33 MF Japan JPN Hiroto Ukai
34 FW Japan JPN Aren Inoue
35 MF Japan JPN Hinata Hashimoto
36 FW Japan JPN Shota Kofie

Club staff

For the 2023 season.

Position Name
Manager Germany Michael Skibbe
Assistant manager Japan Shinya Sakoi
First-team coach Germany Serhat Umar
Japan Kenji Arima
Japan Yoshifumi Matsuo
Japan Masaru Misuno
Goalkeeping coach Japan Shinkichi Kikuchi
Physical coach Japan Mineichi Isobe


Manager Nationality Tenure Club Assistant coach
Yoshiki Yamazaki  Japan 1938–42, 1947–50 Toyo Kogyo
Minoru Obata  Japan 1951–63
Yukio Shimomura  Japan 1964–71
Kenzo Ohashi  Japan 1972–75
Ikuo Matsumoto  Japan 1976
Aritatsu Ogi  Japan 1977–80
Teruo Nimura  Japan 1981–83 MAZDA Sports Germany Eckhard Krautzun (August – September 1983)
Kazuo Imanishi  Japan 1984–87 Netherlands Hans Ooft (1984–87)
Netherlands Dido Havenaar (1986–87)
Hans Ooft  Netherlands 1987–88 Netherlands Dido Havenaar (1987–88)
Kazuo Imanishi  Japan 1988–92 England Bill Foulkes (1988–91)
Stuart Baxter  Scotland 1 July 1992 – 31 January 1995 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Sweden Jan Jönsson (1993–94)
Wim Jansen  Netherlands 1 February 1996 – 31 January 1997
Eddie Thomson  Scotland 1 February 1997 – 31 January 2001 Scotland Tom Sermanni (1997–98)
Valeri Nepomniachi  Russia 1 February 2001 – 17 December 2001
Gadzhi Gadzhiev  Russia 1 February 2002 – 15 July 2002
Takahiro Kimura  Japan 16 July 2002 – 30 November 2002
Takeshi Ono  Japan 1 December 2002 – 1 April 2006
Kazuyori Mochizuki (interim)  Japan 2 April 2006 – 9 June 2006
Mihailo Petrović  Serbia 10 June 2006 – 31 December 2011 Serbia Ranko Popović (2006–07)
Hajime Moriyasu  Japan 1 January 2012 – 4 July 2017
Jan Jönsson  Sweden 10 July 2017 – 7 December 2017
Hiroshi Jofuku  Japan 7 December 2017 – 25 October 2021
Kentaro Sawada  Japan 26 October 2021 – 31 Feb 2022
Michael Skibbe  Germany 1 Feb 2022 – Japan Shinya Sakoi (2022–)



  1. ^ Sanfrecce Hiroshima Profile at J.League Official Website
  2. ^ "Edion Stadium Hiroshima". J.League. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  3. ^ Club Profile: Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Archived 13 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "SOCCER/ Hiroshima capture first J-League title – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun". Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Hiroshima capture first J-League title | Football | Reuters". Retrieved 30 November 2012.[dead link]
  6. ^ "トップチーム選手" (in Japanese). Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  7. ^ "トップチーム選手一覧" (in Japanese). Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  8. ^ "ユース選手". Retrieved 7 September 2022.