|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2014)|
|Full name||Club Deportivo Popular Junior F.C. S.A.|
|Nickname(s)||Los Tiburones (The Sharks) Tu Papa (Your Dad) El Equipo Tiburón (The Shark Team) Los Quilleros (The Quilleros) Los Rojiblanco (The White-red) Los Reyes de la Costa (The Kings of the Coast)|
|Founded||7 August 1924|
|Ground||Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez
|League||Categoría Primera A|
|Website||Club home page|
Club Deportivo Popular Junior F.C. S.A., also known simply as Junior or by its former name Atlético Junior, is a professional Colombian football team based in Barranquilla, that currently plays in the Categoría Primera A. Alongside the recently promoted Uniautónoma FC, Junior is the northernmost team in Colombia and the main Caribbean team in the Categoría Primera A.
The club was founded in August 7, 1924. Known as Los Tiburones (The Sharks), or El Equipo Tiburón (The Shark Team). Junior have won the Colombian professional football championship seven times (1977, 1980, 1993, 1995, 2004, 2010, and 2011). Some of the most notable players that have played for the club include Heleno de Freitas, Garrincha, Dida, Juan Ramón Verón, Efraín Sánchez, Carlos "El Pibe" Valderrama, Iván René Valenciano, Teófilo Gutiérrez, Carlos Bacca, Julio César Uribe and Giovanni Hernández.
In the early 1920s a team named Juventus came into being at the Colegio Salesiano in the San Roque neighborhood of Barranquilla, unsurprisingly given the name made up primarily of Italian immigrants. Soon after its launch the name was changed to the Spanish Juventud, though both translate the same in English - youth. In August 1924 some of the younger members of Juventud along with other young men from San Roque created an offshoot of Juventud - Juventud Infantil.
Around the 1940s (and the club's name was shortened to simply Junior) they became known as one of the country's best clubs. In 1945 the players of Junior were selected to represent Colombia at the South American Championship (now known as the Copa América), finishing a respectable fifth (though losing 7-0 to Uruguay and 9-1 to Argentina along the way). In 1949 they were again selected to represent Colombia (finishing last place) but this time their decision to play would have its consequences.
In 1948 Junior were founder members of División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano (commonly known as the Dimayor). Their debut match as a professional outfit came at home on August 15, 1948 against Deportivo Cali, which ended in a 2-0 victory for the home side. Early the following year they were again chosen to play as the de facto Colombia national team. Because of ongoing strife between Adefutbol (the original amateur Colombian football association) and the Dimayor, Junior were threatened with expulsion from the Dimayor if they participated. They went ahead and did so and were initially given a two year suspension from the league. This was later reduced to one year and they returned to the Dimayor for the 1950 season.
This was the golden age of Colombian football commonly referred to as El Dorado (football), a time when the Dimayor was a "rebel league" unaffiliated with FIFA and many high-profile players from around the world broke their contracts and came to play. Junior were no exception, picking up players from Brazil, Argentina, Hungary and the Czech Republic in these years. But El Dorado eventually came to an end for Colombian football and for Junior and the club left the Dimayor because of financial problems after the 1953 season.
A way ahead surfaced in the mid-1960s when a rift had again developed in Colombian football, this time between Adefutbol and the newly created Federación Colombiana de Fútbol, an organization devoted to developing professional football in the country. Adefutbol was still the official body in the eyes of FIFA and organized the national team in this period and additionally Colombian clubs did not enter the Copa Libertadores. Peace was finally made and the bulk of the amateur team that had attempted to qualify for the England World Cup signed up for Junior, who returned to the Dimayor in 1966. Junior have remained in the top level ever since.
In 1977 Junior won their first Colombian championship, finishing first place in the Apertura. They won further championships in 1980, 1993, 1995, the 2004-II (Finalización), the 2010-I (Apertura), and the 2011-II (Finalizacion). Junior have appeared in the Copa Libertadores nine times (reaching the semi-finals in 1994), and the Copa Sudamericana and Copa CONMEBOL once each.
The red and white striped colours of Junior's shirt (and logo) are derived from the similarly colored flag of the Atlántico Department. The seven stars of the logo represent the number of national championships Junior have won. Junior, long considered one of the smaller teams, is currently the 5th most successful team in the league, having won 7 Colombian Championships and having a very strong fan base in Colombia's northern coast. During the championships in 2009, 2010, and 2011, Atletico Junior and Once Caldas have been the only two teams on the Colombian League to play in at least one final each year, as well as being so far the most successful team in the decade of 2010, with two titles.
Atlético Junior won the Colombian 2011 Fall Championship in penalty kicks (4-2) after losing the 2nd leg game 2-1 against Once Caldas in Manizales on December 21, 2011. Junior won the 1st leg match 3-2 in Barranquilla on December 18, 2011.
- 1977, 1980, 1993, 1995, 2004-II, 2010-I, 2011-II
- Reebok Cup: 1
Performance in CONMEBOL competitions
- Copa Libertadores: 12 appearances
- Best: Semi-finals in 1994
- 1994: Semi-finals
- Copa Sudamericana: 1 appearance
- 2004: Quarter-finals
- Copa CONMEBOL: 1 appearance
- 1992: Quarter-finals
- As of 22 July 2014
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Club Deportivo Junior Fútbol Club S.A..|
- Official Web site of Club Deportivo Junior Fútbol Club S.A.
- Fuerza Tiburona Supporter's Team Website
- Junior Pasion