Albirex Niigata

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Albirex Niigata
Full name Albirex Niigata
Nickname(s) Albi
Founded 1955; 62 years ago (1955)
Ground Denka Big Swan Stadium,
Ground Capacity 42,300
Chairman Mitsugu Tamura
Manager Wagner Lopes
League J1 League
2016 J1 League, 15th
Website Club home page
Current season

Albirex Niigata (アルビレックス新潟?, Arubirekkusu Nīgata) is a Japanese J1 League association football club based in Niigata 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.[1]


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.[2]

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,[3] 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'.[4] 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.[1]

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.[1] 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 April 4, 2017.[6]

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 Koki Otani
2 Japan DF Kazunari Ono (captain)
4 South Korea DF Song Ju-hun
5 Japan DF Takanori Maeno
6 Brazil MF Jean Patrick
7 Brazil FW Roni
8 Japan MF Kei Koizumi
9 Japan FW Ryohei Yamazaki
10 Brazil MF Thiago Galhardo
13 Japan MF Masaru Kato
14 Japan FW Tatsuya Tanaka
15 Japan MF Isao Homma
16 Japan FW Shu Hiramatsu
17 Japan MF Yuta Ito
18 Japan MF Sho Naruoka
19 Japan DF Kisho Yano
No. Position Player
20 Japan MF Go Hayama
21 Japan GK Tatsuya Morita
22 Japan GK Goro Kawanami
23 Japan MF Noriyoshi Sakai
24 Japan DF Naoki Kawaguchi
25 Japan DF Takumi Hasegawa
26 Japan DF Goson Sakai
27 Japan MF Yuto Horigome
29 Japan MF Shunsuke Mori
30 Japan MF Romero Frank
31 Japan GK Koji Inada
32 Japan FW Atsushi Kawata
33 Japan DF Ryoma Nishimura
34 Japan MF Teruki Hara
49 Japan FW Musashi Suzuki
50 Japan DF Seitaro Tomisawa

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 Japan Soccer College)
Japan DF Shigeto Masuda (at Machida Zelvia)
Japan MF Kiwara Miyazaki (at Zweigen Kanazawa)
Japan MF Kazuki Kozuka (at Renofa Yamaguchi)

Notable players[edit]


Statistics correct as of the end of the 2015 season

Name Nationality From To Pld W D L % Honours/Notes Ref
Frans van Balkom  Netherlands 1994 1997 36 28 3 5 77.78 Promotion to Japan Football League [7]
Yoshikazu Nagai  Japan 1998 2000 108 49 7 52 45.37 Promotion to J. League Division 2 [7]
Yasuharu Sorimachi  Japan 2001 2005 196 97 40 59 49.49 Promotion to J. League Division 1 [7]
Jun Suzuki  Japan 2006 2009 136 51 32 53 37.50 [7][8][9][10]
Hisashi Kurosaki  Japan 2010 May 21, 2012 80 24 25 31 30.00 [11][12][13][14]
Nobuhiro Ueno*  Japan May 22, 2012 June 10, 2012 1 0 0 1 00.00 [15][14]
Masaaki Yanagishita  Japan June 11, 2012 December 31, 2015 89 37 25 27 41.57 [13][14][16]
Tatsuma Yoshida  Japan January 1, 2016 September 27, 2016 30 7 6 17 23.33 [17]
Koichiro Katafuchi  Japan September 27, 2016 December 31, 2016 4 1 0 3 25.00 [17]
Fumitake Miura  Japan January 1, 2017 May 7, 2017 10 1 2 7 10.00

* Served as caretaker manager.


Affiliated clubs[edit]

Since 2004, Albirex Niigata has selected a number of players for its satellite team in the S.League in 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,[18] and went on 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. ^ a b c "Venture spirits, Hiroshi Ikeda interview" (in Japanese). Biz STYLE. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Niigata-Nippo. 11 years-History of Albirex Niigata (2007), pp. 2–10.
  3. ^ "Albirex won the promotion slot" Niigata-Nippo: p. 1. 24 November 2003.
  4. ^ a b "Club guide : Albirex Niigata" (in Japanese). J.League. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. 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. ^ "2017 Albirex Niigata squad". Albirex Niigata. January 10, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d The 11-year History of Albirex Niigata (in Japanese). Albirex Niigata. 2007. ISBN 4861322219. 
  8. ^ "League Table 2007 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "League Table 2008 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "League Table 2009 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "League Table 2010 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "League Table 2011 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "League Table 2012 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c "Yanagishita named Albirex manager". Japan Times. Kyodo News. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "SCORESHEET 2012 J.LEAGUE Division 1 2nd Day 13th Sec". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "League Table 2013 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "2016 J.LEAGUE Division 1 Albirex Niigata". J. League. January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  18. ^ "2006 Nadeshiko League" (PDF) (in Japanese). Nadeshiko League. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  19. ^ "Albirex Niigata Barcelona website" (in Japanese). Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]