JEF United Chiba

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Full name JEF United Ichihara Chiba
Nickname(s) JEF, Inu (The Dogs)
Founded 1946; 72 years ago (1946)
(as Furukawa Electric SC)
Ground Fukuda Denshi Arena
Chiba, Chiba
Capacity 19,781
Owner East Japan Railway Company(50%)
Furukawa Electric(50%)
Chairman Hideyuki Maeda
Manager Juan Esnáider
League J2 League
2018 J2 League, 14th
Website Club website
Current season
Former crest/logo

JEF United Chiba (ジェフユナイテッド千葉, Jefu Yunaiteddo Chiba), full name JEF United Ichihara Chiba and also known as JEF Chiba (ジェフ千葉, Jefu Chiba), is a Japanese professional football club that plays in the J2 League. On 1 February 2005, the club changed its name from JEF United Ichihara to the current name after Chiba city had joined Ichihara, Chiba as its hometown in 2003. The club name, JEF -taken from JR East and Furukawa Electric- and United, represents the unity of the team and its home town.


The team began as the company team, Furukawa Electric Soccer Club (古河電気工業サッカー部) in 1946. As the company team, it won the Japan Soccer League twice, the Emperor's Cup four times and the JSL League Cup three times. Furukawa also won the 1986–87 Asian Club Championship, the top club honor in Asia; they were the first Japanese club to do so.

Since the league's inception in 1965, the team had always played in the top flight in Japan and was the only Japanese team to never be relegated from the JSL1, a record they kept into the J1 years. They did finish the 1978 season in a relegation position (last of 10) but stayed up after beating Honda F.C. 1–0 on aggregate in a two-legged playoff. The last place was not automatically relegated until the 1980 season.

In 1991, it merged with the JR East's company team to become East Japan JR Furukawa Football Club (東日本ジェイアール古河サッカークラブ) and rebranded itself as JEF United Ichihara upon the J. League's founding in 1993. The team initially built itself around the former Germany national football team player Pierre Littbarski.

From 1998 to 2000, the team struggled to stay in the J. League and it began a series of efforts to be a competitive team. Since the hiring of Ivica Osim in 2003, JEF United has contended for the league title each year despite limited resources and struggling attendance.

On July 16, 2006, Osim left the team to take over the coach of the Japan national team and was succeeded by Amar Osim, his son and assistant coach.[1]. On December 5, 2007, it was announced that Amar Osim had been sacked after the club's lowly 13th-place finish in the 2007 season.[2]

After 13 games in the 2008 season Josip Kuže was sacked as team manager. On 8 May 2008 it was announced that the new manager was Alex Miller. Miller was First Team Coach at Liverpool F.C. alongside Rafael Benítez prior to joining JEF United.

The Furukawa Electric is no longer the main sponsor of the club, a job these days taken over by Fuji Electric.

On November 8, 2009, JEF United Chiba was relegated to J2 after 44 seasons in the Japanese top division; since 2010, JEF United Chiba is playing in J. League Division 2.

JEF United Chiba was close to being promoted to J. League Division 1 during the 2012 season. The club was considered one of the favorites to be directly promoted to J1. However, after defeats to teams considered lesser than them such as F.C. Gifu and F.C. Machida Zelvia, JEF played the playoffs, making their road to the final. They defeated Yokohama F.C. by 4–0, but lost the final match to Oita Trinita by 1–0, at Tokyo National Stadium.

In the 2013 season they played in the promotion to J1 playoffs. They lost the semi final match to Tokushima Vortis by 1–1(Chiba was 6th place and Tokushima was 3rd place in the league, regulation decides up high club can go final even draw.)

In the 2014 season they played in the promotion playoffs to J1 again. The club did not have to play in the semi-final(Chiba was 4th place but the 3rd place club named Giravanz Kitakyushu had a Jleague original stadium problem so Kitakyushu could not go to the promotion play off). In the final against Montedio Yamagata, they lost by 0–1, at Ajinomoto Stadium.



It had played its home matches at Ichihara Seaside Stadium, but has since moved to the larger, football-specific and more conveniently located Fukuda Denshi Arena, which opened in Chiba during the 2005 season. The club had initially practiced at Urayasu, Chiba planning to base itself in Narashino, Chiba before opposition by those living around Akitsu Stadium forced it to be based in Ichihara. Since 2000, training has been held at Footpark Anesaki in Ichihara in normally. Since 1 October 2009, they made new practice place UNITED PARK near the Fukuda Denshi Arena.


JEF United Ichihara's mascot characters are Akita Inu brothers named Jeffy and Unity. The squad number of Jeffy is 2 and that of Unity is 9.

Affiliated clubs

Furukawa Electric Chiba

This was JEF's reserve team during the JSL years. They were formed in 1967 and were first promoted to the JSL Second Division in 1975. They still exist, although they are no longer affiliated on paper, and play in the Kanto Regional League. In 2008 they renamed themselves S.A.I. Ichihara

JEF Reserves

JEF's reserve team played until 2011 in the Japan Football League, the third tier of Japanese football. But in 2011, the club announced the end of the B team because of financial problems.

JEF United Chiba Ladies


Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G J. League Cup Emperor's Cup
1992 Group Stage Quarter-final
1993 J1 10 8 20,273 Group Stage Quarter-final
1994 J1 12 9 22,262 2nd Round 2nd Round
1995 J1 14 5 15,418 1st Round
1996 J1 16 9 12,008 Group Stage 3rd Round
1997 J1 17 13 5,693 Quarter-final 4th Round
1998 J1 18 16 5,365 Final 3rd Round
1999 J1 16 13 5,774 2nd Round 3rd Round
2000 J1 16 14 6,338 2nd Round Quarter-final
2001 J1 16 3 7,818 Quarter-final Quarter-final
2002 J1 16 7 7,897 Quarter-final Semi-final
2003 J1 16 3 9,709 Group Stage Quarter-final
2004 J1 16 4 10,012 Group Stage 4th Round
2005 J1 18 4 9,535 Winner 5th Round
2006 J1 18 11 13,393 Winner 4th Round
2007 J1 18 13 14,149 Group Stage 4th Round
2008 J1 18 15 14,084 Quarter-final 4th Round
2009 J1 18 18 14,730 Group Stage 4th Round
2010 J2 19 4 11,689 4th Round
2011 J2 20 6 9,680 Quarterfinals
2012 J2 22 5 9,281 Quarterfinals
2013 J2 22 5 10,004 3rd Round
2014 J2 22 3 9,333 Semifinals
2015 J2 22 9 10,725 3rd Round
2016 J2 22 11 10,292 3rd Round
2017 J2 22 6 9,983 3rd Round
2018 J2 22 14 9,858 3rd Round
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance
  • Source: J. League Data Site


Furukawa Electric

JEF United Ichihara Chiba


Current Squad

As of 12 December 2018.[1]

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

No. Position Player
2 Australia DF Jason Geria
3 Japan DF Naoya Kondo
4 Brazil DF Hebert Silva Santos
5 Japan DF Tatsuya Masushima (on loan from Kashiwa Reysol)
6 Japan MF Masaki Yamamoto
7 Japan MF Yuto Sato (vice-captain)
8 Japan MF Koki Kiyotake
11 Japan FW Takayuki Funayama (vice-captain)
13 Japan MF Hirotaka Tameda
14 Japan MF Shuto Kojima
15 Japan DF Yushi Mizobuchi
16 Japan DF Koji Toriumi
18 Japan MF Andrew Kumagai
No. Position Player
20 Japan MF Asahi Yada
22 Japan MF Kohei Kudo
23 Japan GK Yuya Sato
25 Japan MF Yusuke Chajima (on loan from Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
28 Japan DF Takaya Inui
31 Japan GK Cholhwan Ono
32 Japan DF Danto Sugiyama
34 Japan FW Daigo Furukawa
38 Japan MF Koki Honda
49 Japan DF Takumi Shimohira (on loan from Yokohama F. Marinos)
50 Japan FW Hiroshi Ibusuki
TBA Japan GK Peter Kwame Aizawa

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 GK Masahiro Okamoto (at Ehime FC until 31 January 2019)
- Japan MF Issei Takahashi (at Renofa Yamaguchi FC until 31 January 2019)
- Japan FW Makito Yoshida (at Ehime FC until 31 January 2019)
- Japan DF Jun Okano (at Oita Trinita until 31 January 2019)

International capped players.



Coach Nation Tenure
Yoshikazu Nagai JapanJapan 1992-1993
Eijun Kiyokumo JapanJapan 1994-1995
Yasuhiko Okudera JapanJapan 1996
Jan Versleijen NetherlandsNetherlands 1997-1998
Gert Engels GermanyGermany 1999
Nicolae Zamfir RomaniaRomania 1999-2000
Sugao Kambe (interim) JapanJapan 2000
Zdenko Verdenik SloveniaSlovenia 2000-2001
Sugao Kambe (interim) JapanJapan 2001
Jozef Vengloš SlovakiaSlovakia 2002
Ivica Osim Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina 2003-2006
Amar Osim Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina 2006-2007
Josip Kuže CroatiaCroatia 2008
Shigeo Sawairi (interim) JapanJapan 2008
Alex Miller ScotlandScotland 2008-2009
Atsuhiko Ejiri JapanJapan 2009-2010
Dwight Lodeweges NetherlandsNetherlands 2011
Sugao Kambe JapanJapan 2011
Takashi Kiyama JapanJapan 2012
Jun Suzuki JapanJapan 2013-2014
Kazuo Saito (interim) JapanJapan 2014
Takashi Sekizuka JapanJapan 2014-2016
Shigetoshi Hasebe (interim) JapanJapan 2016
Juan Esnáider ArgentinaArgentina 2017-


  1. ^ "CLUBS & PLAYERS:JEF UNITED CHIBA". J. League. Retrieved February 4, 2015.

External Links.

  • Official website (in Japanese)
Preceded by
Daewoo Royals
South Korea
Champions of Asia
Succeeded by
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