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Yokohama FC
横浜FC
Full nameYokohama FC
Nickname(s)Fulie
Founded1999; 23 years ago (1999)
GroundMitsuzawa Stadium
Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama
Capacity15,046
ChairmanYuji Onodera
ManagerTomonobu Hayakawa
LeagueJ2 League
2021J1 League, 20th of 20 Decrease (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Yokohama FC (横浜FC, Yokohama Efushī) is a Japanese professional football club based in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The club currently plays in the J2 League, which is the second tier of football in the country. The club was formed by fans of Yokohama Flügels as a protest against Flügels' merger with Yokohama Marinos in 1999, becoming the first supporter-owned professional sports team in Japan.[1]

Since gaining J.League membership in 2001, Yokohama FC spent a long time in the second tier of the Japanese football league system. The club gained promotion to J.League Division 1 for 2007 season, as champions of J.League Division 2 in 2006, but were immediately relegated the following season. After twelve years in the J2 League, they returned to the top flight in the 2020 season, earning promotion the previous year.

History

Graphical timeline of Yokohama football clubs
Graphical timeline of Yokohama football clubs

Yokohama FC was formed in 1999 following the merger of Yokohama's two J.League clubs, the Flügels and the Marinos. Flügels supporters felt that their club had essentially been dissolved rather than merged with, so rejected the suggestion that they should start supporting Marinos – who had been their crosstown rivals. Instead, with money raised through donations from the general public and an affiliation with talent management company IMG, the former Flügels supporters founded the Yokohama Fulie Sports Club.[2] Following the socio model used by FC Barcelona, the Fulie Sports Club created Yokohama FC, the first professional sports team in Japan owned and operated by its supporters.[1]

For its first season in 1999, Yokohama FC hired former German national team and World Cup star Pierre Littbarski to be the manager and Yasuhiko Okudera, the first Japanese footballer to play professionally in Europe, to be the chairman.[3] The club attempted to gain entry directly into the professional J.League, but the Japan Football Association only permitted entry to the amateur Japan Football League (JFL), at the time the third level of the Japanese football league system, and ruled that the club would not be eligible for promotion into J.League Division 2 at the end of its first season. So, despite finishing as JFL champion in 1999, Yokohama FC finished as JFL champion again in 2000 before being promoted to J.League Division 2.[4]

The club spent the next 6 seasons in J.League Division 2 before finishing as champions in 2006 and gaining promotion to J.League Division 1. In 2007, just the ninth year of its existence, Yokohama FC played its first season in the top flight of Japanese football. After a poor season, the team were consigned to relegation with five games of the season still remaining. Despite their early relegation, Yokohama FC nevertheless decided the final outcome at the opposite end of the table; by defeating title contenders Urawa Red Diamonds on the last day of the season, Kashima Antlers secured the J.League Division 1 title.[5]

In 2018, Yokohama FC narrowly missed out on automatic promotion by goal difference. The team made it to the J2 promotion final, losing to Tokyo Verdy on an stoppage time winner. In 2019, Yokohama finished second in J2 and gained automatic promotion to J1.

Fight for promotion

Although they had a dire season in 2005, ending 11th out of 12, they were in the top half of table throughout the 2006 season. On 26 November they finished in the top spot of the J2 League, and hence were finally promoted to the J. League 1.

This success story was so dramatic as to make people somewhat excited in Japan. Yokohama FC's financial situation was so poor that they didn't even possess their own football ground or a club house. Players did everything themselves including carrying the goal posts and washing the jerseys.

One of their players, Kazuyoshi Miura, is 54 and a former player, Atsuhiro Miura (one of their main players before his 2010 retirement) was 36 when he last played for the club. These players once played for the Japan national team.

They lost all pre-season matches, even against college students, then also the first official match of the year. After this, they suddenly changed the player-manager to a freshman with little experience named Takuya Takagi, who was 38. At the beginning of the season few expected them to become champions.

Record as J.League member

Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Teams Pos. Attendance/G J.League
Cup
Emperor's
Cup
2001 J2 12 9th 3,007 2nd round 4th round
2002 12 12th 3,477 3rd round
2003 12 11th 3,743 3rd round
2004 12 8th 4,219 5th round
2005 18 11th 5,938 4th round
2006 13 1st 5,119 3rd round
2007 J1 18 18th 14,039 Group stage 5th round
2008 J2 15 10th 6,793 4th round
2009 18 16th 3,535 3rd round
2010 19 6th 5,791 3rd round
2011 20 18th 5,770 2nd round
2012 22 4th 6,039 3rd round
2013 22 11th 6,064 2nd round
2014 22 11th 5,146 2nd round
2015 22 15th 5,113 2nd round
2016 22 8th 4,892 Round of 16
2017 22 10th 5,967 2nd round
2018 22 3rd 6,141 3rd round
2019 22 2nd 7,061 3rd round
2020 J1 18 15th 3,559 Group stage Did not qualify
2021 20 20th 4,511 Group stage 2nd round
Key

Honours

Current players

As of 13 January 2022[6]

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 Issei Ouchi
4 MF Japan JPN Hideto Takahashi
5 DF Brazil BRA Gabriel
7 MF Japan JPN Takuya Matsuura
8 FW Japan JPN Kosuke Saito
9 FW Brazil BRA Kléber
10 MF Japan JPN Shunsuke Nakamura
15 MF Japan JPN Reo Yasunaga
17 MF Japan JPN Eijiro Takeda
21 GK Japan JPN Akinori Ichikawa
22 DF Japan JPN Katsuya Iwatake
24 DF Japan JPN Yuya Takagi
25 MF Japan JPN Ryo Tabei
26 DF South Korea KOR Han Ho-gang
27 DF Japan JPN Daiki Nakashio
30 MF Japan JPN Kohei Tezuka
No. Pos. Nation Player
31 FW Brazil BRA Saulo Mineiro
33 MF Japan JPN Tomoki Kondo
39 FW Japan JPN Kazuma Watanabe
44 GK Japan JPN Yuji Rokutan
45 DF Japan JPN Hayato Sugita
46 MF Japan JPN Taishin Yamazaki
47 DF Japan JPN Kensho Masuda
49 GK Germany GER Svend Brodersen
50 FW Brazil BRA Felipe Vizeu (on loan from Udinese)
DF Japan JPN Takumi Nakamura
DF Japan JPN Masashi Kamekawa
DF Japan JPN Zain Issaka (on loan from Kawasaki Frontale)
DF Japan JPN Takuya Wada
MF Brazil BRA Rhayner (on loan from Tombense)
MF Japan JPN Tatsuya Hasegawa
FW Japan JPN Koki Ogawa
FW Japan JPN Ryoya Yamashita

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
DF Japan JPN Kyowaan Hoshi (at Iwaki FC)
DF Japan JPN Kakeru Kumagawa (at YSCC Yokohama)
FW Japan JPN Yuki Kusano (at Renofa Yamaguchi)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW Japan JPN Sho Ito (at Matsumoto Yamaga)
MF Japan JPN Riku Furuyado (at Mito Hollyhock)
FW Japan JPN Keijiro Ogawa (at Western Sydney Wanderers)
DF Japan JPN Masakazu Tashiro (at Machida Zelvia)
FW Japan JPN Kazuyoshi Miura (at Suzuka Point Getters)

Colours

As they could not adopt directly Flügels' white and blue strip given its similarity to that of Marinos, Yokohama FC decided to adopt an all-cyan kit, after NKK SC, a former company club which had closed in 1994. NKK SC was based in Kawasaki and played most matches at Todoroki Athletics Stadium, but used Mitsuzawa Stadium on days when the other Kawasaki clubs at the time (Verdy Kawasaki, Toshiba and Fujitsu) used it.

Kit Evolution

FP 1st
2001
2002
2003 - 2004
2005 - 2006
2007 - 2008
2009 - 2010
2011 - 2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021 -
FP 2nd
2001
2002
2003 - 2004
2005 - 2006
2007 - 2008
2009 - 2010
2011 - 2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021 -

Managers

As of 23 February 2020.

References

  1. ^ a b Ichiro Hirose (2014). スポーツ・マネジメント入門 [Introduction to Sport Management] (in Japanese). Toyo Keizai. p. 123. ISBN 4492502602.
  2. ^ John Horne, Wolfram Manzenreiter (2013). Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup. Routledge. p. 101. ISBN 0415275636.
  3. ^ Kumi Kinohara (27 July 2000). "Yokohama FC struggling to survive despite JFL success". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Interview with Tomio Tsujino" (PDF) (in Japanese). Yokohama City. 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. ^ Andrew Mckirdy (2 December 2007). "Inspired Antlers squad captures J.League title". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. ^ "選手・スタッフ" (in Japanese). Yokohama FC. Retrieved 31 August 2021.