Sagan Tosu

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Full name Sagan Tosu Football Club
Nickname(s) Sagan
Founded 1997; 19 years ago (1997)
Ground Tosu Stadium
Tosu, Saga
Ground Capacity 24,000
Chairman Minoru Takehara
Manager Massimo Ficcadenti
League J1 League
2015 11th
Website Club home page
Current season

Sagan Tosu (サガン鳥栖 Sagan Tosu?) is a Japanese professional football club, currently playing in the J1 League. The team is located in Tosu, Saga Prefecture.

Sagan is a coined word with a couple of meanings behind it. One of its homophones is sandstone (砂岩 sagan?) in Japanese. This symbolises many small elements uniting to form one formidable object, for example as a metaphor for a team. Also, Sagan Tosu can be interpreted as "Tosu of Saga (Prefecture)" (佐賀ん鳥栖 Saga-n Tosu?) in the area's dialect. In addition, it is widely believed that the word is meant to be a pun with Italian giants Juventus although the club hasn't confirmed it.


In February 1997, Sagan was established as a new club which virtually takes over Tosu Futures, which became insolvent in the previous month, and admitted to participate Japan Football League from 1997 to 1998, as well as J. League Cup in 1997 as a preferential measure, although J. League Associate Membership status is not awarded to Sagan. In 1999 they were admitted to the new J. League Division 2 (J2) as the original ten teams, where they remained until their promotion to J1 at the end of the 2011 season. Things have changed and started to turn positive with the new President & Chief Operating Officer Minoru Takehara, who is also part owner of the club.[1]

In their first season at the J. League Division 1 in 2012, confounding the prediction of many critics about their immediate relegation to J2, they have been maintaining their position between 5th and 11th places all the way through the season, only except after the 2nd week in which they were ranked as 13th. They were ranked third after the 33rd week, having a chance to qualify to 2013 AFC Champions League if they would not lose to Yokohama F. Marinos in the last match of the 2012 season. However, they have lost to Yokohama by 0–1 then ended up as 5th, while Urawa Red Diamonds defeated Nagoya Grampus and ranked as 3rd. They also became the first club in Asia to sign a partnership with Warrior Sports[2] who also sponsors English side Liverpool FC and others.

In 2013, they made it to the semifinal of the 2013 Emperor's Cup first time in club's history, becoming the first club based in Kyushu to make it to the semifinal of the Emperor's Cup since Nippon Steel Yawata SC had done in 1981 edition. This year, they also invited Sydney FC from A-League along with the former Italian national team player Alessandro Del Piero for a Japan Tour for the first time.[3]

In 2014, the club have been in the most successful season in J. League Division 1, as being ranked on the top of 2014 J. League Division 1 after the 1st, 2nd, 13th, and 18th week. However, the club made an announcement on 8 August, several days after the 18th week match when Sagan moved back to the top of the league, to terminate the contract with the head coach Yoon Jung-Hwan as of 7 August all by sudden.[4] This year, they continued on its international expansion and initiated a relationship with Italian side Juventus FC for its Juventus Under-16 Japan Tour 2014.[5]

Record as J. League member[edit]

old crest
Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G J. League Cup Emperor's Cup
1999 J2 10 8 3,385 1st Round 3rd Round
2000 J2 11 6 3,714 1st Round 3rd Round
2001 J2 12 10 3,479 1st Round 4th Round
2002 J2 12 9 3,890 3rd Round
2003 J2 12 12 3,172 1st Round
2004 J2 12 11 3,610 4th Round
2005 J2 12 8 7,855 4th Round
2006 J2 13 4 7,465 4th Round
2007 J2 13 8 6,114 5th Round
2008 J2 15 6 7,261 Quarter-final
2009 J2 18 5 5,939 4th Round
2010 J2 19 9 6,633 3rd Round
2011 J2 20 2 7,731 2nd Round
2012 J1 18 5 11,991 Group Stage 2nd Round
2013 J1 18 12 11,515 Group Stage Semi-final
2014 J1 18 5 14,137 Group Stage Round of 16
2015 J1 18 11 13,450 Group Stage
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance


Current squad[edit]

As of 18 July 2016.[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 Taku Akahoshi
2 Japan DF Hiromu Mitsumaru
3 Japan DF Keita Isozaki
4 Japan DF Teruaki Kobayashi
5 South Korea DF Kim Min-hyeok
6 Algeria MF Aymen Tahar
8 Japan DF Masato Fujita
9 Morocco FW Moestafa El Kabir
10 South Korea MF Kim Min-woo
11 Japan FW Yohei Toyoda
12 Japan GK Shingo Tsuji
14 Japan MF Yoshiki Takahashi
No. Position Player
18 Japan FW Takamitsu Tomiyama
20 Japan MF Keiya Nanami
21 Japan GK Ayumi Niekawa
22 Japan FW Kei Ikeda
23 Japan DF Yutaka Yoshida
24 Japan MF Daichi Kamada
25 Japan MF Ryota Hayasaka
29 Japan MF Hiroyuki Taniguchi
30 Japan MF Akito Fukuta
33 Japan GK Akihiro Hayashi
35 Japan MF Takeshi Aoki
39 Japan FW Shohei Okada

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 Eisuke Fujishima (to JEF United Chiba)
Japan DF Shohei Kishida (to V-Varen Nagasaki)
Japan DF Ryuhei Niwa (to JEF United Chiba)
Japan DF Tatsuya Sakai (to V-Varen Nagasaki)
Japan MF Koki Kiyotake (to Roasso Kumamoto)
Japan MF Naoya Kikuchi (to Consadole Sapporo)
Japan MF Keiya Nakami (to Zweigen Kanazawa)
Japan MF Tomotaka Okamoto (to Shonan Bellmare)
South Korea MF Baek Sung-dong (to V-Varen Nagasaki)
South Korea MF Choi Sung-keun (to FC Gifu)
Japan FW Shūto Hira (to Thespakusatsu Gunma)
Japan FW Ryogo Yamasaki (to Tokushima Vortis)

Retired number[edit]

  • 17 Japan Sakata Michitaka – A former professor of Saga University and the person which backed up in both the establishment of Tosu Futures and the team's revival as Sagan Tosu. He died due to kidney cancer on January 7, 2000. The number 17 indicates his day of death.



  1. ^ [サガン、竹原氏が社長就任 「J1昇格と健全な経営」]
  2. ^ [Warrior Football – Sagan Tosu]
  3. ^ [Sagan Tosu outlast Sydney FC in J-League friendly]
  4. ^ "尹晶煥監督 契約解除のお知らせ" [Annulment of the contract with Head Coach Yoon Jung-Hwan]. Sagan Tosu. 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  5. ^ [The Bianconeri Allievi fly to Japan]
  6. ^

External links[edit]