Vissel Kobe

  (Redirected from Kawasaki Steel SC)

Vissel Kobe (ヴィッセル神戸, Visseru Kōbe) is a Japanese professional football club based in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture. The club plays in the J1 League, which is the top tier of football in the country. The team's home stadium is Kobe Wing Stadium, in Hyōgo-ku, though some home matches are played at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Suma-ku.

Vissel Kobe
Vissel Kobe.svg
Full nameVissel Kobe
Nickname(s)Ushi (cows)
Founded1966; 55 years ago (1966)[1]
GroundNoevir Stadium Kobe
Hyōgo-ku, Kōbe, Hyōgo
ChairmanKatsuya Ishiyama
ManagerAtsuhiro Miura
LeagueJ1 League
2020J1 League, 14th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season
1995–2004 crest
First home colours (1995–2004)
Noevir Stadium, the home of Vissel Kobe


The club was founded in 1966 as the semi-professional Kawasaki Steel Soccer Club in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.[2] It was first promoted to the Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1986, and stayed there until the JSL folded in 1992.[2]

In 1995, the city of Kobe reached an agreement with Kawasaki Steel, the parent company, to move the club to Kobe and compete for a spot in the professional J.League as Vissel Kobe. Vissel is a combination of the words "victory" and "vessel", in recognition of Kobe's history as a port city.[2] (Owing to its importance to the city of Kobe, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, parent company of former team patron Kawasaki Steel, remains a Vissel Kobe sponsor. Kawasaki Steel was eventually sold off to become part of JFE Holdings.)

Vissel Kobe began play in 1995 in the Japan Football League, a league below J.League, and the supermarket chain Daiei was slated as the club's primary investor. However, the economic downturn following the Great Hanshin earthquake forced Daiei to pull out and the city of Kobe became responsible for operating the club.

Despite finishing 2nd in the JFL in 1996, Vissel was promoted to the J.League (the champions, Honda FC, refused to abandon their corporate ownership and become a professional club) and began play in the top division of Japanese football in 1997. However, due to mismanagement, including the inability to secure investors and sponsors, Vissel has never been a contender for the league title. In December, 2003, mounting financial losses forced the club to file for bankruptcy protection.

In January 2004, Vissel was sold to Crimson Group, parent company of online merchant Rakuten, whose president is Kobe native Hiroshi Mikitani. Vissel's first signing under the Mikitani regime, İlhan Mansız, who was acquired partly to capitalize on his popularity during the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted in Korea and Japan, was a massive failure – the Turkish forward played just three matches before leaving the team because of a knee injury. Mikitani also alienated supporters by changing the team uniform colours from black and white stripes to crimson, after his Crimson Group and the colour of his alma mater, Harvard Business School. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a baseball team also owned by Rakuten but based in Sendai, wear the same colours.

Vissel finished 11th in the league in 2004, the same position as the previous year, and finished 18th and last place in 2005, resulting in automatic relegation from J.League Division 1, or J1, to J2. During the two-year span, Vissel had five different head coaches. 2006 was Vissel's first season in J2 after nine years in the top division of soccer in Japan. They finished 3rd in the 2006 season and were promoted to J1 after beating Avispa Fukuoka in the promotion/relegation play-offs.

During the period of 2007 to 2011 Vissel finished in the bottom half of the table each year. In 2012 they finished 16th, third from last, and were again relegated to J2. In 2013, Vissel finished in second place, 4 points behind Gamba Osaka, which secured their return to J1 for the 2014 season.

On 6 December 2014, Rakuten Inc. bought the team from the Crimson Group.[3] In May 2018, Vissel signed 2010 FIFA World Cup winner Andrés Iniesta from FC Barcelona.[4] In December 2018 Vissel Kobe managed to sign David Villa from New York City FC the Spanish striker scored 13 goals in 28 games. Alongside Sergi Samper and Andrés Iniesta Villa was the third Spaniard in the team in that season in which the Emperor's Cup was won.

First titlesEdit

On 1 January 2020, first time finalist Vissel beat Kashima Antlers in the 2019 Emperor's Cup final at the recently opened New National Stadium to win the first title in the club history. The furthest Kobe had been in the Cup was the semifinals of 2000 and 2017.[5] This was Spanish striker David Villa's last professional match.[6] Vissel also qualified for the 2020 AFC Champions League for the first time. On 8 February 2020, Vissel beat Yokohama F. Marinos to win their first Japanese Super Cup title and respectively their second national title ever.[7]

Record as J.League memberEdit

Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G J.League Cup Emperor's Cup
1997 J1 17 16th 6,567 Group stage Fourth round
1998 18 17th 7,686 Group stage Third round
1999 16 10th 7,691 First round Third round
2000 16 13th 7,512 Second round Semi-finals
2001 16 12th 13,872 Second round Fourth round
2002 16 14th 10,467 Group stage Third round
2003 16 13th 11,195 Group stage Quarter-finals
2004 16 11th 15,735 Group stage Fourth round
2005 18 18th 14,913 Group stage Fourth round
2006 J2 13 3rd 6,910 Third round
2007 J1 18 10th 12,460 Group stage Fifth round
2008 18 10th 12,981 Group stage Fifth round
2009 18 14th 13,068 Group stage Fourth round
2010 18 15th 12,824 Group stage Third round
2011 18 9th 13,233 First round Third round
2012 18 16th 14,638 Group stage Second round
2013 J2 22 2nd 11,516 Third round
2014 J1 18 11th 15,010 Quarter-finals Second round
2015 18 12th 16,265 Semi-finals Quarter-finals
2016 18 7th 17,018 Quarter-finals Round of 16
2017 18 9th 18,272 Quarter-finals Semi-finals
2018 18 10th 21,450 Play-offs Fourth round
2019 18 8th 21,4911st Group stage Winners
2020 18 14th 6,041 Quarter-finals Did not qualify
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average home league attendance


League historyEdit

  • Chugoku Soccer League: 1978–85 (as Kawasaki Steel Mizushima)
  • Division 2 (Japan Soccer League Div. 2): 1986–91 (Kawasaki Steel Mizushima until 1987; Kawasaki Steel afterwards)
  • Division 3 (Old JFL Div. 2): 1992–93 (as Kawasaki Steel)
  • Division 2 (Old JFL): 1994–96 (Kawasaki Steel 1994; Vissel Kobe since 1995)
  • Division 1 (J.League): 1997–2005
  • Division 2 (J.League Division 2): 2006
  • Division 1 (J.League Division 1): 2007–12
  • Division 2 (J.League Division 2): 2013
  • Division 1 (J1 League): 2014–present

Total (as of 2014): 16 seasons in the top tier, 11 seasons in the second tier, 2 seasons in the third tier and 8 seasons in the Regional Leagues.

Continental recordEdit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2020 AFC Champions League Group G   Johor Darul Ta'zim
  Suwon Samsung Bluewings
  Guangzhou Evergrande
Round of 16   Shanghai SIPG
Quarter-finals   Suwon Samsung Bluewings
1–1 (a.e.t.)
(7–6 p)
Semi-finals   Ulsan Hyundai
1–2 (a.e.t.)


Current squadEdit

As of March 8 2021.[8]

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 Daiya Maekawa
3 DF   JPN Yuki Kobayashi
4 DF   BEL Thomas Vermaelen
5 MF   JPN Hotaru Yamaguchi (vice-captain)
6 MF   ESP Sergi Samper
8 MF   ESP Andrés Iniesta (captain)
9 FW   JPN Noriaki Fujimoto
14 MF   JPN Takuya Yasui
17 DF   JPN Ryuho Kikuchi
18 GK   JPN Hiroki Iikura
19 DF   JPN Ryo Hatsuse
20 MF   JPN Shion Inoue
21 FW   JPN Junya Tanaka
No. Pos. Nation Player
22 MF   JPN Daiju Sasaki
23 DF   JPN Tetsushi Yamakawa
24 DF   JPN Gōtoku Sakai
25 DF   JPN Leo Osaki
26 DF   JPN Nagisa Sakurauchi
27 MF   JPN Tatsunori Sakurai
29 FW   BRA Lincoln
30 GK   JPN Genta Ito
31 MF   JPN Yuya Nakasaka
32 GK   JPN Ryotaro Hironaga
37 MF   JPN Asahi Masuyama
40 FW   KEN Ayub Masika
41 FW   JPN Yutaro Oda
49 FW   BRA Douglas


Manager Nat. Tenure
Stuart Baxter   Scotland 1997
Hiroshi Kato   Japan 1997
Benito Floro   Spain 1998
Harumi Kori   Japan 1998
Ryoichi Kawakatsu   Japan 1999–2002
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan January 2002 – December 2002
Hiroshi Soejima   Japan 2003
Ivan Hašek   Czech Republic January 2003 – December 2004
Hiroshi Kato   Japan 2004
Hideki Matsunaga   Japan January 2005 – April 2005
Émerson Leão   Brazil May 2005 – June 2005
Pavel Řehák   Czech Republic 2005
Stuart Baxter   Scotland January 2006 – December 2006
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan January 2007 – December 2008
Caio Júnior   Brazil December 2008 – June 2009
Masahiro Wada (interim)   Japan July 2009 – August 2009
Toshiya Miura   Japan August 2009 – September 2010
Masahiro Wada   Japan September 2010 – April 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan April 2012 – May 2012
Akira Nishino   Japan May 22, 2012 – November 8, 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan November 9, 2012 – December 31, 2012
Ryo Adachi   Japan January 1, 2013 – December 11, 2014
Nelsinho Baptista   Brazil December 12, 2014 – August 16, 2017
Takayuki Yoshida   Japan August 16, 2017 – September 16, 2018
Kentaro Hayashi (interim)   Japan September 17, 2017 – October 4, 2018
Juan Manuel Lillo   Spain October 5, 2018 – April 17, 2019
Takayuki Yoshida    Japan April 17, 2019 – June 8, 2019
Thorsten Fink   Germany June 8, 2019 – September 22, 2020
Atsuhiro Miura[9]   Japan September 24, 2020 – present

Affiliated clubsEdit


  1. ^ "CLUBS & PLAYERS : J.LEAGUE.JP". Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Jリーグ – ヴィッセル神戸 [J.League – Vissel Kobe] (in Japanese). J.League. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Rakuten Acquires Football Club Vissel Kobe and Joins the J-League". Rakuten Official Website.
  4. ^ "Iniesta signs with Japan's Vissel Kobe". 24 May 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. ^ "「天皇杯 JFA 第99回全日本サッカー選手権大会」優勝のお知らせ" (in Japanese). Vissel Kobe. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Andres Iniesta leads Vissel Kobe to Emperor's Cup glory as David Villa ends career". Daily Mirror. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Vissel Kobe win Japanese Super Cup after farcical shootout". Eurosport. 2020-02-08. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  8. ^ "VISSEL KOBE OFFICIAL WEB SITE : Squad details". Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "Football: Former Japan midfielder Atsuhiro Miura named Vissel Kobe boss". Kyodo News. 24 September 2020.
  10. ^ "J-League's Vissel Kobe announces business partnership with Thailand's Chonburi FC". Mar 30, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2013.

External linksEdit