Albirex Niigata

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Albirex Niigata
Full name Albirex Niigata
Nickname(s) Albi
Founded 1955; 64 years ago (1955)
Ground Denka Big Swan Stadium,
Capacity 42,300
Chairman Mitsugu Tamura
Manager Masakazu Suzuki
League J2 League
2018 J2 League, 16th
Website Club website
Current season

Albirex Niigata (アルビレックス新潟, Arubirekkusu Nīgata) is a Japanese J2 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

  • 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

As of 9 February 2019.[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 Kenta Hirose
3 Brazil DF Paulao
4 Japan DF Shun Obu
6 Japan MF Sachiro Toshima
7 Brazil MF Samuel Santos
8 Brazil MF Silvinho
9 Brazil FW Leonardo
10 Japan MF Masaru Kato
11 Japan FW Arata Watanabe
13 Brazil MF Francis
14 Japan FW Tatsuya Tanaka
15 Japan DF Taiki Watanabe
17 Brazil MF Cauê Cecilio
18 Japan MF Ryoma Watanabe
19 Japan FW Kisho Yano
20 Japan MF Shion Homma
No. Position Player
21 Japan GK Yosuke Nozawa
22 Japan MF Shunsuke Mori
23 Japan DF Yasutaka Yanagi
24 Japan DF Naoki Kawaguchi
25 Japan DF Hiroki Akiyama
28 Japan DF Fumiya Hayakawa
30 Japan GK Junto Taguchi
31 Japan DF Yuto Horigome
32 Japan DF Naoto Arai
33 Japan MF Yoshiaki Takagi
35 Japan DF Shosei Okamoto
37 Japan FW Shu Hiramatsu
38 South Korea MF Cho Young-cheol
39 Japan FW Ken Yamura (designated special player)
40 Japan MF Yoshizumi Ogawa (captain)
41 Japan GK Kazuki Fujita

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
Japan DF Takumi Hasegawa (at Zweigen Kanazawa)
No. Position Player
Japan FW Shu Hiramatsu (at V-Varen Nagasaki)

Notable players


Statistics correct as May 2017.

Name Nationality From To Pld W D L % Honours/Notes Ref
Frans van Balkom  Netherlands 1994 1997 36 28 3 5 077.78 Promotion to Japan Football League [7]
Yoshikazu Nagai  Japan 1998 2000 108 49 7 52 045.37 Promotion to J. League Division 2 [7]
Yasuharu Sorimachi  Japan 2001 2005 196 97 40 59 049.49 Promotion to J. League Division 1 [7]
Jun Suzuki  Japan 2006 2009 136 51 32 53 037.50 [7][8][9][10]
Hisashi Kurosaki  Japan 2010 21 May 2012 80 24 25 31 030.00 [11][12][13][14]
Nobuhiro Ueno*  Japan 22 May 2012 10 June 2012 1 0 0 1 000.00 [15][14]
Masaaki Yanagishita  Japan 11 June 2012 31 December 2015 89 37 25 27 041.57 [13][14][16]
Tatsuma Yoshida  Japan 1 January 2016 27 September 2016 30 7 6 17 023.33 [17]
Koichiro Katafuchi  Japan 27 September 2016 31 December 2016 4 1 0 3 025.00 [17]
Fumitake Miura  Japan 1 January 2017 7 May 2017 10 1 2 7 010.00
Wagner Lopes  Japan 8 May 2017 31 December 2017

* Served as caretaker manager.


Affiliated clubs

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 a 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. Archived from the original on 12 September 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Albirex Niigata name 2019 squad". gekisaka. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  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. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  18. ^ "2006 Nadeshiko League" (PDF) (in Japanese). Nadeshiko League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Albirex Niigata Barcelona website" (in Japanese). Retrieved 27 January 2014.

External links

  • Official website (in Japanese)
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