JEF United Chiba

JEF United Chiba (ジェフユナイテッド千葉, Jefu Yunaiteddo Chiba), full name JEF United Ichihara Chiba (ジェフユナイテッド市原・千葉, Jefu Yunaiteddo 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. Of its club name, JEF is taken from the JR East and Furukawa Electric companies and United is meant to represent the unity of the club and its home city.

Full nameJEF United Ichihara Chiba
Nickname(s)JEF, Inu (The Dogs)
Founded1946; 75 years ago (1946)
(as Furukawa Electric SC)
GroundFukuda Denshi Arena
OwnerEast Japan Railway Company (50%)
Furukawa Electric (50%)
ChairmanHideyuki Maeda
ManagerYoon Jong-hwan
LeagueJ2 League
2020J2 League, 14th
WebsiteClub website


Furukawa Electric SC (1946–1991)Edit

The club 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.

The club was a founding member ("Original Eight"[a]) of the Japan Soccer League (JSL) in 1965. Since the league's inception, the club had always played in the top flight in Japan and was the only Japanese club to never be relegated from the JSL Division 1, 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 FC 1–0 on aggregate in a two-legged playoff. The last place was not automatically relegated until the 1980 season.

JEF United Ichihara (1992–2004)Edit

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. JEF United Ichihara was an original member ("Original Ten"[b]) of the J.League in 1993. The club initially built itself around the former Germany national football team player Pierre Littbarski.

From 1998 to 2000, the club 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.

JEF United Chiba (2005–)Edit

On July 16, 2006, Osim left the club 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 clubs considered lesser than them such as FC Gifu and F.C. Machida Zelvia, JEF played the playoffs, making their road to the final. They defeated Yokohama FC 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.


Akitas and Mina

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.


JEF United considers its philosophy to be encapsulated in its tagline "Win By All" [1] since 2001.

Affiliated clubsEdit

Furukawa Electric ChibaEdit

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 and in 2011 they adopted the name Vonds Ichihara. Now separate from Furukawa Electric control, they aim to form its power base in Ichihara as JEF is now based in Chiba city.

JEF ReservesEdit

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 LadiesEdit


Marunouchi GosankeEdit

Historically, JEF United's fiercest rivals have been Kashiwa Reysol and Urawa Reds, both close neighbors. The three were co-founders ("Original Eight") of the Japan Soccer League (JSL) in 1965, and spent most seasons in the top tier through the JSL era. Because of their former parent companies' headquarters being all based in Marunouchi, Tokyo, the three clubs were known as the Marunouchi Gosanke (丸の内御三家) and fixtures among them were known as the Marunouchi derbies.

Chiba derbyEdit

JEF United and Reysol first met in 1941 in ancient Kanto regional football league. The two clubs both now based in Chiba Prefecture, and their rivalry is known as the Chiba derby. They annually contest a pre-season friendly match well known as the Chibagin Cup (i.e., Chiba Bank Cup) since 1995.

Kit and coloursEdit


The club colours of JEF United Chiba are yellow, green and red.

Kit evolutionEdit

Record as J.League memberEdit

Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Teams Pos. Attendance/G J.League
1992 Group stage Quarter final
1993 J1 10 8th 20,273 Group stage Quarter final
1994 12 9th 22,262 2nd round 2nd round
1995 14 5th 15,418 1st round
1996 16 9th 12,008 Group stage 3rd round
1997 17 13th 5,693 Quarter-final 4th round
1998 18 16th 5,365 Final 3rd round
1999 16 13th 5,774 2nd round 3rd round
2000 16 14th 6,338 2nd round Quarter final
2001 16 3rd 7,818 Quarter-final Quarter final
2002 16 7th 7,897 Quarter-final Semi-final
2003 16 3rd 9,709 Group stage Quarter final
2004 16 4th 10,012 Group stage 4th round
2005 18 4th 9,535 Winner 5th round
2006 18 11th 13,393 Winner 4th round
2007 18 13th 14,149 Group stage 4th round
2008 18 15th 14,084 Quarter-final 4th round
2009 18 18th 14,730 Group stage 4th round
2010 J2 19 4th 11,689 Not eligible 4th round
2011 20 6th 9,680 Quarter final
2012 22 5th 9,281 Quarter final
2013 22 5th 10,004 3rd round
2014 22 3rd 9,333 Semi-final
2015 22 9th 10,725 3rd round
2016 22 11th 10,292 3rd round
2017 22 6th 9,983 3rd round
2018 22 14th 9,858 3rd round
2019 22 17th 9,701 2nd round
2020 22 14th 2,778 Did not qualify
2021 22 3rd round

  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average home league attendance
  • 2020 season attendance reduced by COVID-19 worldwide pandemic
  • Source: J. League Data Site



Furukawa Electric SCEdit

JEF United Ichihara ChibaEdit

League historyEdit

  • Division 1 (JSL Div. 1): 1965–1991/92 (as Furukawa)
  • Division 1 (J1): 1993–2009 (as JEF United)
  • Division 2 (J2): 2010–

Total (as of 2020): 44 seasons in the top tier and 11 seasons in the second tier.


Current squadEdit

As of 22 August 2021.[2]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   JPN Shota Arai (vice-captain)
3 DF   JPN Jun Okano
4 MF   JPN Taishi Taguchi
5 MF   JPN Yusuke Kobayashi
8 FW   JPN Riku Danzaki (on loan from Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
9 FW   JPN Kengo Kawamata
10 FW   JPN Takayuki Funayama
11 DF   JPN Koki Yonekura
13 DF   JPN Daisuke Suzuki (captain)
14 MF   JPN Shuto Kojima
15 DF   KOR Jang Min-gyu
16 MF   JPN Takaki Fukumitsu
17 DF   JPN Ikki Arai
18 MF   JPN Andrew Kumagai
19 FW   JPN Shuhei Otsuki
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 MF   JPN Asahi Yada
22 DF   JPN Itsuki Oda (on loan from Kashima Antlers)
23 GK   JPN Ryota Suzuki
24 DF   JPN Yukitoshi Ito
25 MF   JPN Rui Sueyoshi
29 DF   JPN Yushi Mizobuchi
30 GK   JPN Peter Kwame Aizawa
31 GK   JPN Sota Matsubara
32 MF   JPN Issei Takahashi
33 DF   JPN Michihiro Yasuda
37 FW   JPN Keita Buwanika
39 MF   JPN Tomoya Miki
40 FW   JPN Solomon Sakuragawa
49 FW   BRA Saldanha (on loan from Bahia)

Out on loanEdit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
- MF   JPN Yuki Horigome (at Montedio Yamagata until 31 January 2022)
- DF   JPN Takeaki Hommura (at Giravanz Kitakyushu until 31 January 2022)
- DF   JPN Danto Sugiyama (at Kamatamare Sanuki until 31 January 2022)

International capped players.Edit



Manager Nationality Tenure
Yoshikazu Nagai  Japan 1992–1993
Eijun Kiyokumo  Japan 1994–1995
Yasuhiko Okudera  Japan 1996
Jan Versleijen  Netherlands 1997–1998
Gert Engels  Germany 1999
Nicolae Zamfir  Romania 1999–2000
Sugao Kambe (interim)  Japan 2000
Zdenko Verdenik  Slovenia 2000–2001
Sugao Kambe (interim)  Japan 2001
Jozef Vengloš  Slovakia 2002
Ivica Osim  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2003–2006
Amar Osim  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006–2007
Josip Kuže  Croatia 2008
Shigeo Sawairi (interim)  Japan 2008
Alex Miller  Scotland 2008–2009
Atsuhiko Ejiri  Japan 2009–2010
Dwight Lodeweges  Netherlands 2011
Sugao Kambe  Japan 2011
Takashi Kiyama  Japan 2012
Jun Suzuki  Japan 2013–2014
Kazuo Saito (interim)  Japan 2014
Takashi Sekizuka  Japan 2014–2016
Shigetoshi Hasebe (interim)  Japan 2016
Juan Esnáider  Argentina 2017–2019
Atsuhiko Ejiri  Japan 2019
Yoon Jong-hwan  South Korea 2020–



  2. ^ "CLUBS & PLAYERS:JEF UNITED CHIBA". J.League. Retrieved July 29, 2019.

External Links.Edit

Preceded by Champions of Asia
Succeeded by