Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers (鹿島アントラーズ, Kashima Antorāzu) are a Japanese professional football club based in Kashima, Ibaraki, part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The club plays in the J1 League, which is the top tier of football in the country.

Kashima Antlers
Full nameKashima Antlers F.C. Co., Ltd.
Founded1947; 74 years ago (1947) (as Sumitomo Metal FC)
GroundKashima Soccer Stadium
ChairmanFumiaki Koizumi
ManagerNaoki Soma (caretaker)
LeagueJ1 League
2020J1 League, 5th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Antlers is derived from the city name, Kashima, which literally means "deer island". The club has financial backing from Mercari, a Japanese e-commerce company.

Since the J.League's creation and introduction of professional Japanese football in 1993, Kashima have proved by far Japan's most successful football club, having won the J.League title a record eight times, the J.League Cup a record six times and the Emperor's Cup five times for an unprecedented total of nineteen major domestic titles. Kashima became Asian Champions when they won their first AFC Champions League title in 2018. Kashima have finished in the top five of the league for over seventy percent of all seasons played to date, recorded an average end of season league placing of third and captured a title in over sixty percent of all seasons played to date.

Kashima are also one of only two clubs to have competed in Japan's top flight of professional football every year since its inception (the other being Yokohama F. Marinos).


The name ‘Antlers’ is derived from the city of Kashima, which literally translates to ‘Deer Island’. The club crest not only resembles deer antlers but it also reflects the image of rose thorn as it is the official flower of Ibaraki, the home prefecture of the club. Deer are amiable animals and are viewed in some religions as spiritual messengers. In fact, Kashima Shrine, one of the most famous shrines in Japan and located in close proximity to the club headquarters, have kept and raised deer for more than 1,300 years as spiritual symbol. Deer are affectionate animals but are also known for their courageous character as they battle each other head to head with lethal antlers.

Leonardo Araújo, played for Kashima from 1994 to 1996

Founded in 1947 as Sumitomo Metal Industries Factory Football Club in Osaka and moved to Kashima, Ibaraki in 1975. It played in the semi-professional Japan Soccer League (JSL). They were promoted to the JSL's top flight in 1984, but never made much of an impact, going down in 1985/86, returning in 1986/87 and going down again in 1988/89. Its last standing in the JSL was 2nd in the Second Division for 1991/92.

After the formation of the fully professional J.League, Sumitomo, like all other clubs, stripped the corporate brand from the club's name and reformed as the Kashima Antlers. Kashima was essentially promoted to the new top flight, as many JSL First Division clubs decided to relegate themselves being unprepared for professionalism. (Of the original 10[a] J.League founding member clubs, Kashima and Shimizu S-Pulse were newly promoted. Ironically, Kashima had defeated a forerunner of Shimizu's, Nippon Light Metal/Hagoromo Club, to earn its JSL Second Division place back in 1974).

Since the J.League's creation and introduction of professional Japanese football in 1993, Kashima have consistently been amongst the strongest clubs in the country, holding several distinctions and records. Led by former Brazilian star and Japanese national team coach Zico in the club's formative years, Kashima were the first club to win a J.League stage, claiming the 1st stage of the inaugural season in 1993. This laid a platform for continuous greatness and long after the Kashima icon had departed, in 2000 Kashima became the first J.League club to achieve the "treble", by winning all three major titles: J.League, J.League Cup, and Emperor's Cup in the same year.

In recent times, by clinching the 2007 J.League title they became the first and only club in Japan to have won ten domestic titles in the professional era. In 2008 they became the first and only club to successfully defend the J.League title on two separate occasions. In 2009 they became the first and only club to win three consecutive J.League titles. With victories in back to back J.League Cups in 2011, 2012 and most recently followed by their 2015 victory, Kashima extended their unmatched record of major domestic titles in the professional era to seventeen.

To this day, Kashima has maintained strong ties with the football community in Brazil, a fact borne out of Zico's past affiliation with the club. Kashima's Brazilian connection has manifested itself in both the club's player transfer and coaching policy resulting in only three non-Brazilian foreign players and predominantly Brazilian managers signing for Kashima since the inception of the J.League.

The population of Kashima city is a mere 60,000 and for that reason club has also adopted the surrounding cities of Itako, Kamisu, Namegata and Hokota as its official hometowns, all in Ibaraki Prefecture. The combined population of five cities is 280,000. Antlers home games are played at Kashima Soccer Stadium, one of the 2002 FIFA World Cup venues with capacity of 40,000.

In 2016, they became the first Asian club to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final following a 3–0 victory over South American champions Atlético Nacional.[2] In the final, after a 2–2 draw against European champions Real Madrid after 90 minutes, they were beaten 4–2 after extra time.[3]

Colour, sponsors and manufacturersEdit

Season(s) Main Shirt Sponsor Collarbone Sponsor Additional Sponsor(s) Kit Manufacturer
2018 Lixil Mercari Yellow Hat Riso Kagaku Corporation Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Eyeful Home - Nike
2019 Nippon Steel
2021 Merpay Connect

Kit historyEdit


Year Slogan
1999 NEXT
2000 Glory Again – 原点からの挑戦 –
2001 - 勝利主義 Antlersism – FOR NEXT 10 YEARS
2002 - 進化 Antlersism – STAIRWAY TO THE WORLD
2003 OVER'03 – カシマからアジア、そして世界へ –
2004 FOOTBALL DREAM 2004 – 奪冠10 –
2005 FOOTBALL DREAM 2005 – 反撃宣言 –
2006 FOOTBALL DREAM 2006 – 一新制覇 –
2007 FOOTBALL DREAM'07 – 魂 Spirits –
2010 FOOTBALL DREAM 2010 – Evolução 新化 –
2013 RENASCIMENTO – 誇りを胸に –
2014 SPECTACLE – 戦 –
2020 FOOTBALL DREAM みせる[4]


List of Sponsors[5]


Current squadEdit

Kashima players training at Azadi Stadium
As of February 9, 2021[6]

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   KOR Kwoun Sun-tae
4 MF   BRA Léo Silva
5 DF   JPN Daiki Sugioka
6 MF   JPN Ryota Nagaki
7 MF   BRA Juan Alano
8 MF   JPN Shoma Doi
9 FW   BRA Everaldo
11 MF   JPN Ryuji Izumi
13 DF   JPN Ryotaro Araki
14 DF   JPN Katsuya Nagato
17 MF   BRA Arthur Caíke
18 FW   JPN Ayase Ueda
19 FW   JPN Itsuki Someno
20 MF   JPN Kento Misao (captain)
21 MF   BRA Diego Pituca
22 DF   JPN Rikuto Hirose
No. Pos. Nation Player
23 DF   JPN Naoki Hayashi
24 DF   JPN Yusuke Ogawa
25 MF   JPN Yasushi Endo
26 MF   JPN Naoki Suto
27 MF   JPN Yuta Matsumura
28 DF   JPN Koki Machida
29 GK   JPN Tomoki Hayakawa
31 GK   JPN Yuya Oki
32 DF   JPN Keigo Tsunemoto
33 DF   JPN Ikuma Sekigawa
34 MF   JPN Yu Funabashi
37 MF   JPN Kei Koizumi
38 GK   JPN Taiki Yamada
39 DF   JPN Tomoya Inukai
41 MF   JPN Ryōhei Shirasaki

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
DF   BRA Bueno (on loan at Atlético Mineiro)
DF   JPN Tatsuki Nara (on loan at Avispa Fukuoka)
DF   JPN Itsuki Oda (on loan at JEF United Chiba)
DF   JPN Shogo Sasaki (on loan at Iwate Grulla Morioka)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   JPN Shintaro Nago (on loan at Shonan Bellmare)
FW   JPN Kotaro Arima (on loan at Tochigi SC)
FW   JPN Yuki Kakita (on loan at Tokushima Vortis)

Technical staffEdit

As of June 2020
Position Name
Technical Director   Zico
Manager   Naoki Soma
Assistant coach   Carlos Pacheco
Assistant coach
Goalkeeping Coach   Yohei Sato


Manager Nationality Tenure
Masakatsu Miyamoto   Japan January 1992 – June 1994
Edu   Brazil June 1994 – December 1995
João Carlos   Brazil January 1996 – July 1998
Takashi Sekizuka (interim)   Japan July 1998
Zé Mário   Brazil July 1998 – August 1999
Takashi Sekizuka (interim)   Japan August 1999
Zico (interim)   Brazil 20 August 1999 – 31 December 1999
Toninho Cerezo   Brazil 1 January 2000 – 30 December 2005
Paulo Autuori   Brazil 31 December 2005 – 29 November 2006
Oswaldo de Oliveira   Brazil 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2011
Jorginho   Brazil 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012
Toninho Cerezo   Brazil 1 January 2013 – 22 July 2015
Masatada Ishii   Japan 23 July 2015 – 31 May 2017
Go Oiwa   Japan 31 May 2017 – 1 January 2020
Antônio Carlos Zago   Brazil 2 January 2020 - 3 April 2021
Naoki Soma (interim)   Japan 7 Apri 2021 - as of today

Record as J.League memberEdit

Champions Runners-up Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Tms. Pos. Avg. Attd. Emperor's Cup J.League Cup Super Cup Asia Others
1992 Quarterfinal Semifinal
1993 J1 10 2nd 14,016 Runners-up Group Stage
1994 12 3th 16,812 1st round 1st round
1995 14 7th 19,141 Semifinal
1996 16 1st 15,386 Quarterfinal Group Stage
1997 17 2nd 16,985 Winner Winner Winner
1998 18 1st 15,345 Semifinal Semifinal Winner CC Quarterfinal
1999 16 9th 17,049 4th round Runners-up Winner CWC 3rd Place
2000 16 1st 17,507 Winner Winner CC Quarterfinal
2001 16 1st 22,425 Quarterfinal Semifinal Runners-up
2002 16 4th 21,590 Runners-up Winner Runners-up CC Quarterfinal
2003 16 5th 21,204 Semifinal Runners-up CL Group Stage A3 Winner
2004 16 6th 17,585 Quarterfinal Quarterfinal
2005 18 3rd 18,641 Quarterfinal Group Stage
2006 18 6th 15,433 Semifinal Runners-up
2007 18 1st 16,239 Winner Semifinal
2008 18 1st 19,714 5th round Quarterfinal Runners-up CL Quarterfinal
2009 18 1st 21,617 Quarterfinal Quarterfinal Winner CL Round of 16
2010 18 4th 20,966 Winner Quarterfinal Winner CL Round of 16
2011 18 6th 16,156 4th round Winner Runners-up CL Round of 16
2012 18 11th 15,381 Semifinal Winner Suruga Winner
2013 18 5th 16,419 4th round Quarterfinal Suruga Winner
2014 18 3rd 17,665 2nd round Group Stage
2015 18 5th 16,423 3rd round Winner CL Group Stage
2016 18 1st 19,103 Winner Group Stage Suruga Runners-up
FIFA Runners-up
2017 18 2nd 20,467 Quarterfinal Quarterfinal Winner CL Round of 16
2018 18 3rd 20,547 Semifinal Semifinal CL Winner FIFA 4th place
2019 18 3rd 20,571 Runners-up Semifinal CL Quarterfinal
2020 18 5th 6,466 - Group Stage CL Playoff



Revenue & ExpenditureEdit

Assets & Net WorthEdit


Kashima Antlers celebrate after winning the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Sumitomo Metal FCEdit

Kashima AntlersEdit



Personnel awardsEdit

World Cup playersEdit

The following players have been selected by their country in the World Cup, while playing for Kashima Antlers:

Olympic playersEdit

The following players have represented their country at the Summer Olympic Games whilst playing for Kashima Antlers:

Former playersEdit

International capped playersEdit

In popular cultureEdit

In the Captain Tsubasa manga series, two characters were players of Kashima Antlers. The Brazilian midfielders Luciano Leo (himself loosely based on Leonardo) and Pepe were colleagues of Flamengo's Carlos Santana and São Paulo FC's Tsubasa Ozora.



  1. ^ "Kashima Soccer Stadium". so-net.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Kashima beats Nacional to become first Asian team to reach Club World Cup final". 14 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Real Madrid win Club World Cup". BBC. 18 December 2016.
  4. ^ 2020シーズンスローガン (2020 Season Slogan) – Kashima Antlers (January 23, 2020).
  5. ^ "Sponsor". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  6. ^ https://www.antlers.co.jp/clubs/top_players

External linksEdit