Albirex Niigata

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Albirex Niigata
Full name Albirex Niigata
Nickname(s) Albi
Founded 1955; 60 years ago (1955)
Ground Denka Big Swan Stadium,
Ground Capacity 42,300
Chairman Mitsugu Tamura
Manager Masaaki Yanagishita
League J. League Division 1
2014 12th
Website Club home page
Current season

Albirex Niigata (アルビレックス新潟 Arubirekkusu Nīgata?) is a Japanese J. League Division 1 association football club based in Niigata. Despite the club's relative youth, only joining the J. League in 1999, Albirex are one of Japan's best supported teams. In 2003, while still playing in the second tier of Japanese football (J2), Albirex attracted the best average crowd in the country of over 30,000. Since promotion to J1 in 2004 they have recorded an average crowd of over 38,000, and in 2005 Albirex were the first ever club in Japan to record an average gate of over 40,000.


For many years it had been a local autonomous amateur club, Niigata 11, that could never hope to see the light of day in an old Japan Soccer League dominated almost entirely by company teams. The creation of the J. League spurred the club to rise, and in the 1990s it began climbing fast through the divisions.[1]

In 1998, Albirex Niigata joined the Japan Football League, and was merged into the J2 league after its creation in 1999. The team gradually became competitive and on 2001 and 2002 it came close to getting promoted to J1 and in 2003,[2] it became the champion of J2 and finally joined the top flight.

The team name is made from combining the star Albireo of the constellation Cygnus (the Swan) and the Latin word Rex meaning 'king'.[3] In 1997, due to copyright issues, the team name was changed from Albireo Niigata to the current Albirex Niigata.

In 2007, the uniform color will change. Until 2006, the color was orange – blue – orange, but from 2007 the color will be orange – orange – orange. This coordinate has not been adopted since 1996 when the team professionalized.

The success in Albirex Niigata gave a big impact to the entire Japanese sporting world including the professional baseball. It is because commercial correctness of structure of professional sports, and a regional sticking (effectiveness in Japan) was proven also in the local mainstay city. Moreover, it came for clarifying the possession of energy that it was farther larger than the expectation of the sports market in the local city without the population of the metropolitan area in the past, and local city citizens' localism feelings are very bigger to influence other a lot of sports and municipality.[4]

Team name transition[edit]

  • Niigata Eleven SC (Soccer Club) (1955)
  • Albireo Niigata FC (1995)
  • Albirex Niigata (1997)


The Big Swan

Joining the J. League in 1999, its home towns are Niigata and Seiro. Until 2003, it used Niigata Perfectural Sport Ground as the home ground but since 2004, the team began using Niigata Stadium Big Swan as well and now plays most of its games there. In 2003,[5] it set a record for highest attendance in the J. League with the cumulative total of around 660,000.[4] Its practice grounds are Albirex's training facilities in Seiro Albillage and the Ijimino Sports Park (五十公野運動公園 Ijimino Undō Kōen?) in Shibata.

The club plays its home games in the Niigata Stadium "Big Swan", which is currently called Denka Big Swan Stadium through a sponsorship deal. The stadium was opened in 2001, and has a capacity of 42,300. Prior to this the club had played its matches in the Niigata City Athletic Stadium constructed in 1938 with a capacity of 18,000.

The stadium was the site of two first round matches and one Round of 16 match in the past 2002 FIFA World Cup. It was also the venue for the 2009 National Sports Festival.


Current squad[edit]

As of October 7, 2015. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Japan GK Takaya Kurokawa
2 Japan DF Kazunari Ono
3 Japan DF Kentaro Oi (captain)
4 Japan DF Michael Fitzgerald
 5 Japan DF Takanori Maeno
6 Japan MF Yuki Kobayashi
7 Brazil DF Cortez (on loan from São Paulo)
8 Brazil MF Léo Silva (vice-captain)
 9 Japan FW Ryohei Yamazaki
10 Brazil FW Rafael Silva
11 Japan FW Hiroshi Ibusuki
13 Japan MF Masaru Kato
14 Japan FW Tatsuya Tanaka
16 Japan MF Yūhei Satō (on loan from Yokohama F. Marinos)
No. Position Player
18 Japan MF Sho Naruoka
20 South Korea DF Lim You-hwan
21 Japan GK Tatsuya Morita
22 Japan GK Goro Kawanami
23 Japan MF Kosuke Yamamoto (on loan from Júbilo Iwata)
24 Japan DF Naoki Kawaguchi
25 Japan MF Kei Koizumi
26 Japan DF Goson Sakai
27 Japan DF Ken Matsubara
31 Japan GK Koto Abe
34 Japan FW Shu Hiramatsu
35 Brazil FW Rafael Ratão (on loan from Ponte Preta)
37 Japan MF Go Hayama

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
Japan GK Yasuhiro Watanabe (at Tokushima Vortis)
South Korea DF Song Ju-hun (at Mito HollyHock)
Japan DF Shigeto Masuda (at Machida Zelvia)
Japan DF Ryoma Nishimura (at Azul Claro Numazu)
Japan MF Noriyoshi Sakai (at Avispa Fukuoka)
Japan MF Kazuki Kozuka (at Renofa Yamaguchi)
Japan FW Musashi Suzuki (at Mito HollyHock)

Notable players[edit]



Affiliated clubs[edit]

Active departments of Albirex
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
Football (Men's) Football (Women's) Football (Sng.)
Basketball pictogram.svg Cheerleading pictogram converted.svg Alpine skiing pictogram.svg
Basketball Cheerleading Skiing
Athletics pictogram.svg Baseball pictogram.svg F1 pictogram.svg
Athletics Baseball Racing

Since 2004, Albirex Niigata has selected a number of players for its satellite team in the S.League in Singapore, called Albirex Niigata Singapore. Albirex also has a women's team and joined L2 league (an equivalent of J2) in 2004. Albirex Ladies won the L2 title in 2006,[6] and is going to join L1 in 2007.

The following clubs are affiliated with Albirex Niigata:

In addition to the J-1 Albirex Niigata football team, there is an Niigata Albirex basketball club in the bj league, as well as a ski, snowboard, baseball, and track and field team. Though the teams share the same name, management and finances are completely separate for each team.


  1. ^ Niigata-Nippo. 11 years-History of Albirex Niigata (2007), pp. 2–10.
  2. ^ "Albirex won the promotion slot" Niigata-Nippo: p. 1. 24 November 2003.
  3. ^ a b "Club guide : Albirex Niigata" (in Japanese). J.League. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Venture spirits, Hiroshi Ikeda interview" (in Japanese). Biz STYLE. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "History of Niigata stadium" (in Japanese). Albirex Niigata. and Niigata Urban Flowering and Greenery Foundation Group. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "2006 Nadeshiko League" (PDF) (in Japanese). Nadeshiko League. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Albirex Niigata Phnom Penh FC for 2014". Goal Singapore. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Albirex Niigata Barcelona website" (in Japanese). Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]