The Urawa Red Diamonds (浦和レッドダイヤモンズ, Urawa Reddo Daiyamonzu), colloquially Urawa Reds (浦和レッズ, Urawa Rezzu), also known as Mitsubishi Urawa Football Club from April 1992 to January 1996, are a professional football club in the city of Saitama, part of the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. The club plays in the J1 League, the top tier of football in the country. Its name comes from the former city of Urawa, now part of Saitama. It is one of the most successful clubs in the country, having won three AFC Champions League titles (most recently in 2022), and varied domestic titles, including a joint-record eight overall Emperor's Cup titles. It participated three times at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Urawa Reds
Full nameUrawa Red Diamonds
Nickname(s)Reds (レッズ, Rezzu) / Red Devils (赤い悪魔, Akai Akuma)
Founded1950; 74 years ago (1950) as Mitsubishi Motors FC

1992; 32 years ago (1992) as Mitsubishi Urawa FC

1996; 28 years ago (1996) as Urawa Red Diamonds
StadiumSaitama Stadium 2002
Saitama, Japan
Capacity63,700
OwnerMitsubishi Heavy Industries
ChairmanMakoto Taguchi
ManagerPer-Mathias Høgmo
LeagueJ1 League
2023J1 League, 4th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The name 'Red Diamonds' alludes to the club's pre-professional era parent company Mitsubishi. The corporation's logo consists of three red diamonds, one of which remains within the current club badge.

History

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established a football club in 1950[1] in Kobe and moved the club to Tokyo in 1958. In 1965 it formed the Japan Soccer League (JSL) along with today's JEF United Chiba, Kashiwa Reysol, Cerezo Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and three other clubs who have since been relegated to regional leagues ("Original Eight"[a]).

Mitsubishi first won the JSL championship in 1969, as a break in Mazda/Sanfrecce's dominance (and also with the fact that Toyo were in Bangkok, Thailand, competing in the Asian Club Cup); their runs up the first division were sporadic but steady until the 1980s when they fell into the Second Division. In 1990 they were promoted as JSL Division 2 champions, and thus were ready when the J-League implementation began in earnest. Urawa Red Diamonds was an original member ("Original Ten"[b]) of the J.League in 1993.

Domestic treble

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Mitsubishi were the first Japanese club to complete a domestic treble, when in 1978 they won the title, the Emperor's Cup and the Japan Soccer League Cup.

Name changed

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The club name was than changed to ''Mitsubishi Urawa Football Club'' from in April 1992 where their nickname was "Red Diamonds". However, in February 1996, the club name was changed to "Urawa Red Diamonds".

The club has enjoyed mixed fortunes since the J-League advent. The club finished bottom of the league for the first two seasons of the J-League with an average crowd of under 15,000. In 1999 they suffered relegation to the second tier of Japanese football yet again. The club has since improved in form in recent years, starting with a 2003 victory in the Nabisco Cup.

In 2006, Urawa Reds clinched their first professional league title by defeating runners-up Gamba Osaka 3–2 on December 2 in front of 63,000 supporters. This came after two close calls in the previous two years. In 2005, they finished 2nd, one point behind champions Gamba Osaka. In 2004, they finished 3rd in the first stage and won the second stage. Having qualified for the two-match J.League Championship decider, they lost on penalty shootout to Yokohama F. Marinos.

Back to back cup champion

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Urawa Reds were back to back Emperor's Cup winners in 2005 and 2006. Winning the title for the first time since their establishment as a professional club, they defeated Shimizu S-Pulse 2–1 on 1 January 2006, and retained the title in 2007 with a 1–0 win over Gamba Osaka. This win also completed a league-cup double. In the 2007 tournament they were defeated at the first hurdle by J2 League outfit Ehime FC.

In 2007, despite a seemingly unassailable lead of seven points with four games remaining, Urawa Reds picked up only two points from their final four games. This run included losing at home to Kashima Antlers; the club who would leapfrog Urawa on the final day of the season to claim their fifth J.League title. Following their capitulation in the fourth round of the Emperor's Cup to J2 League outfit Ehime FC, Urawa Reds had to be content with their 2007 AFC Champions League fixtures.

AFC Champions League winner

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Urawa Reds players lifting the 2007 AFC Champions League trophy

Urawa Reds recorded their first prestigious cup overcoming Iranian club Sepahan 3–1 on aggregate to clinch the 2007 AFC Champions League trophy. The victory made them the first Japanese side to win the cup since the competition was reorganised from the Asian Champions Cup in 2003. In the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup of the same year, Urawa Reds became the first AFC club to finish in third place, beating Tunisian side Étoile Sportive du Sahel on penalty shootout in the third/fourth place play off.

Throughout the 2008 AFC Champions League edition, Urawa Reds attempted to win their second consecutive AFC Champions League title and progressed to the semi-finals where they were defeated by fellow J-League rivals, and eventual Champions League winners, Gamba Osaka 3–1 on aggregate.

On 8 March 2014, a banner which read "JAPANESE ONLY" was hung at one of the entrances to the stands.[2] As punishment for this racist behavior, the league match on 28 March was played behind closed doors.[3]

In the 2017 AFC Champions League edition, Urawa Reds had a good run throughout the entire tournament which see them face Saudi Arabia club, Al-Hilal in the final which see Urawa Reds winning the 2017 AFC Champions League final 2–1 on aggregate to clinch their 2nd trophy.

Urawa Reds managed to make their way through all the way until the 2019 AFC Champions League final facing off against Al-Hilal once again which however, the club fell to 3–0 aggregate lost to the Saudi Arabia club.

During the 2022 AFC Champions League, Urawa Reds had an easier run en route to the final where they faced three Southeast Asian club along the way, Singapore league champions Lion City Sailors in the group stage while they faced Malaysia league champions Johor Darul Ta'zim 5–0 in the Round of 16 and Thailand league champions BG Pathum United 4–0 in the Quarter-finals. Urawa Reds would than face Korea league champions, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the semi-finals which ended up with Urawa Reds advancing to the final after winning the penalty shootout. The club would than faced their tournament rivals, Al-Hilal for the third time in the 2022 AFC Champions League final in which Urawa Red won 2–1 on aggregate clinching their 3rd trophy.

On 19 September 2023, it was announced by JFA that Urawa Reds will not be participating in 2024 edition of Emperor's Cup following the riot caused by the fans after 0–3 loss against Nagoya Grampus in the 4th round of 2023 edition.[4]

International affiliation

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The club is also notable in that former Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono began his professional career playing for Urawa Reds. Ono returned for the 2006 season for a second stint with the club. Urawa Reds is affiliated with German club Bayern Munich, whose nickname is also "The Reds".[5] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the Bayern Munich, announced that "We have been looking for clubs which have potential ability, management stability and cordial confidence. We could fulfill the desire to affiliate with this great club, Urawa Reds."[6] Some other foreign clubs, such as Arsenal, Club Atlético Independiente, CR Flamengo, VfB Stuttgart, Manchester United, Feyenoord, Hamburger SV and Perth Glory, visited Japan and played friendly games at the Saitama Stadium.

In August 2004, Urawa Reds appeared in a pre-season four-club friendly tournament, the Vodafone Cup, at Old Trafford, the home ground of Manchester United. Urawa Reds missed a few key players, losing their first match 5–2 against the Argentinian side Boca Juniors. The second fixture against the hosts, Manchester United, was called off due to a massive electric storm. Some 800 Urawa Reds fans had travelled to the game and were later compensated.

The club's supporters also have an unofficial relationship with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. The clubs' supporters will support each other in continental competition. For example, Shenhua fans will support Urawa Reds when Urawa Reds plays in Shanghai against Shanghai SIPG.[7]

Home stadium

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Saitama stadium

Since the establishment of J.League in 1992, the club had used the Urawa Komaba Stadium as its home stadium. Due to the increasing popularity of the matches, Saitama City, owner of the stadium, expanded the seat capacity. During the renovation, the club used Ōmiya Park Soccer Stadium. In spite of the poor performance of the club, the stadium was filled with faithful supporters.

New home ground

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In October 2001, Saitama Prefecture built new football-specific Saitama Stadium in Saitama city. This stadium was used as a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. After the World Cup, the club gradually increased home games in Saitama Stadium and in 2003 the stadium was formally designated as the home stadium. In 2008, only two games were held at Komaba Stadium.

Facilities

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Urawa Reds uses Ohara City Field for training. In addition to this facility, the club opened Redsland in 2005, which has three grass fields, one artificial turf field, one baseball field, futsal courts and tennis courts.[8] Redsland is opened to the public and club members can use the facilities at relatively cheap fees.

Mascots

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The Red Diamonds have four mascots; Redia, Friendia, Schale, and Diarra. However, Redia doesn't make much appearances at Saitama Stadium, due to the club's policy of the stadium being a "place for serious competition". When he does occasionally appear at the stadium, he does not participate in any fan activities. Because of this, Reds fans dubbed him as a NEET mascot (which is an acronym for "No education, employment, or training").[9] According to the club profile, Redia and Friendia were married during a Reds fan festival in 1997. The younger twin mascots, Schale and Diarra, were born on the day the Red Diamonds won their first J. League Championship in 2006.[10]

Rivalries

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Saitama derby

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Urawa Red Diamonds has a local derby with Omiya Ardija, from Ōmiya-ku, Saitama city. They first met in the 1987 Emperor's Cup, with Mitsubishi defeating NTT Kanto by 5 to 0 at Nishigaoka National Stadium. The derby first took place in the JSL Second Division in the 1989–90 season, and it wouldn't take place until the 2000 season when Urawa was relegated to the second tier again. In 2003 the formerly separate Omiya and Urawa cities merged to become Saitama city, and since 2005 the derby became a top flight fixture after Omiya was promoted.

Marunouchi Gosanke

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During the JSL years and into the 1990s, Urawa's main top flight rivals were JEF United Chiba and Kashiwa Reysol, both now based in Chiba Prefecture. 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, "Marunouchi Big Three") and fixtures among them were known as the Marunouchi derbies, although the term is falling out of use as they are now based in different prefectures and rarely play home games in Tokyo stadiums.

Others

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Rivals further afield include Kashima Antlers, FC Tokyo, Yokohama Marinos, Kawasaki Frontale, and, even farther away, Gamba Osaka. Old JSL championship rivalries with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Cerezo Osaka and Shonan Bellmare have ebbed down as those clubs had nadirs in the second tier.

Women's team

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The club also has a women's football team, currently playing in the WE League as Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies.[11]

Kit and colours

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Colours

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The main colours of the Urawa Red Diamonds are red, black and white.

Kit evolution

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Players

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Current squad

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As of 24 June 2024.[12]

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 Shusaku Nishikawa
3 MF   JPN Atsuki Ito
4 DF   JPN Hirokazu Ishihara
5 DF   NOR Marius Høibråten
6 MF   JPN Ken Iwao
7 FW   JPN Hiroki Abe
8 MF   JPN Yoshio Koizumi
9 FW   NED Bryan Linssen
10 MF   JPN Shoya Nakajima
11 MF   SWE Samuel Gustafson
12 FW   BRA Thiago Santana
13 MF   JPN Ryoma Watanabe
14 MF   JPN Takahiro Sekine
16 GK   JPN Ayumi Niekawa
17 FW   NOR Ola Solbakken (on loan from Roma)
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 DF   JPN Yota Sato
21 MF   JPN Tomoaki Okubo
23 DF   JPN Rikito Inoue
24 MF   JPN Yusuke Matsuo
25 MF   JPN Kaito Yasui
27 MF   THA Ekanit Panya (on loan from Muangthong United)
28 DF   DEN Alexander Scholz
29 MF   JPN Yota Horiuchi
30 FW   JPN Shinzo Koroki
31 GK   JPN Shun Yoshida
35 MF   JPN Tomoya Ugajin
38 FW   JPN Naoki Maeda
47 MF   JPN Hidetoshi Takeda
66 DF   JPN Ayumu Ohata

Out on loan

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
18 FW   JPN Toshiki Takahashi (at Yokohama FC)
39 MF   JPN Jumpei Hayakawa (at Fagiano Okayama)
DF   JPN Kota Kudo (at Giravanz Kitakyushu)
DF   JPN Takuya Ogiwara (at Dinamo Zagreb)
DF   JPN Yudai Fujiwara (at Oita Trinita)
No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   JPN Yuta Miyamoto (at Kyoto Sanga)
MF   JPN Kai Shibato (at Machida Zelvia)
FW   SWE David Moberg Karlsson (at Aris Thessaloniki)
FW   JPN Rei Kihara (at Nagano Parceiro)

Club officials

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For the 2024 J1 League season.

Position Name
Sporting director   Hisashi Tsuchida
Manager   Per-Mathias Høgmo
Assistant manager   Morten Kalvenes
First-team coach   Masato Maesako
  Nobuyasu Ikeda
Coach and analyst   Mario Eduardo Chavez
  Maiki Hayashi
Physical coach   Tatsuru Ishiguri
  Wojciech Ignatiuk
Goalkeeper coach   Juan Miret
Assistant goalkeeper coach   Tomoyasu Ando

Honours

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As both Mitsubishi Motors (amateur era) and Urawa Red Diamonds (professional era)

Urawa Red Diamonds honours
Honour No. Years
Japan Soccer League Division 1 4 1969, 1973, 1978, 1982
Emperor's Cup 8 1971, 1973, 1978, 1980, 2005, 2006, 2018, 2021
JSL Cup 2 1978, 1981
Japanese Super Cup 5 1979, 1980, 1983, 2006, 2022
Japan Soccer League Division 2 1 1989–90
J.League Cup 2 2003, 2016
J1 League 1 2006
AFC Champions League 3 2007, 2017, 2022
J.League Cup / Copa Sudamericana Championship 1 2017

Individual awards

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World Cup players

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The following players have represented their country at the World Cup whilst playing for Urawa Red Diamonds:

World Cup 1998

World Cup 2006

World Cup 2010

World Cup 2014

World Cup 2018

World Cup 2022

Club captains

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Former players

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International capped players

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JFA.
AFC/ CAF/ OFC.
UEFA.
CONMEBOL.

Manager history

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Manager Nationality Tenure
Start Finish
Hiroshi Ninomiya   Japan 1 February 1967 31 January 1975
Kenzo Yokoyama   Japan 1 February 1975 31 January 1984
Kuniya Daini   Japan 1 February 1984 30 June 1989
Kazuo Saito   Japan 1 July 1989 30 June 1992
Takaji Mori   Japan 1 July 1993 31 January 1994
Kenzo Yokoyama (2)   Japan 1 February 1994 31 January 1995
Holger Osieck   Germany 1 February 1995 31 December 1996
Horst Köppel   Germany 1 February 1997 31 December 1998
Hiromi Hara   Japan 1 February 1998 30 June 1999
Aad de Mos   Netherlands 1 July 1999 3 December 1999
Yasushi Yoshida   Japan 4 December 1999 31 January 2000
Kazuo Saito (2)   Japan 2 February 2000 2 October 2000
Kenzo Yokoyama (3)   Japan 3 October 2000 31 January 2001
Tita   Brazil 1 February 2001 27 August 2001
Pita   Brazil 28 August 2001 31 January 2001
Hans Ooft   Netherlands 1 February 2002 31 January 2004
Guido Buchwald   Germany 1 February 2004 31 January 2007
Holger Osieck (2)   Germany 1 February 2007 16 March 2008
Gert Engels   Germany 16 March 2008 27 November 2008
Volker Finke   Germany 1 February 2009 31 January 2011
Željko Petrović   Montenegro 1 February 2011 20 October 2011
Takafumi Hori (caretaker)   Japan 20 October 2011 31 January 2012
Mihailo Petrović   Serbia 1 February 2012 30 July 2017
Takafumi Hori   Japan 31 July 2017 2 April 2018
Tsuyoshi Otsuki   Japan 3 April 2018 24 April 2018
Oswaldo de Oliveira   Brazil 25 April 2018 28 May 2019
Tsuyoshi Otsuki (2)   Japan 29 May 2019 22 December 2020
Ricardo Rodríguez   Spain 22 December 2020 30 October 2022
Maciej Skorża   Poland 10 November 2022 30 December 2023
Per-Mathias Høgmo   Norway 1 January 2024

League & cup record

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Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Teams Pos. Avg. Attd. J.League Cup Emperor's Cup Super Cup AFC CL Others
1992 Group stage Semi-finals
1993 J1 10 10th 11,459 Group stage 2nd round
1994 12 12th 18,475 Quarter-finals 3rd round
1995 14 4th 19,560 Quarter-finals
1996 16 6th 24,329 Group stage Semi-finals
1997 17 10th 20,504 Quarter-finals Round of 16
1998 18 6th 22,706 Group stage Quarter-finals
1999 16 15th 21,206 Quarter-finals Round of 16
2000 J2 11 2nd 16,923 1st round Round of 16
2001 J1 16 10th 26,720 Quarter-finals Semi-finals
2002 16 11th 26,296 Runners-up 3rd round
2003 16 6th 28,855 Winners 3rd round
2004 16 2nd 36,660 Runners-up Semi-finals
2005 18 2nd 39,357 Semi-finals Winners
2006 18 1st 45,573 Quarter-finals Winners Winners
2007 18 2nd 46,667 Quarter-finals Round of 16 Runners-up Winners A3 3rd place
FIFA 3rd place
2008 18 7th 47,609 Group stage 5th round Semi-finals
2009 18 6th 44,210 Quarter-finals 2nd round
2010 18 10th 39,941 Group stage Quarter-finals
2011 18 15th 33,910 Runners-up Quarter-finals
2012 18 3rd 36,634 Group stage Round of 16
2013 18 6th 37,100 Runners-up 3rd round Group stage
2014 18 2nd 35,516 Quarter-finals 3rd round
2015 18 3rd 38,745 Quarter-finals Runners-up Runners-up Group stage
2016 18 2nd 36,935 Winners Round of 16 Round of 16
2017 18 7th 33,542 Quarter-finals Round of 16 Runners-up Winners Suruga Winners
FIFA 5th place
2018 18 5th 34,798 Play-off stage Winners
2019 18 14th 34,184 Quarter-finals Round of 16 Runners-up Runners-up
2020 18 10th 7,869 Group stage Did not qualify
2021 20 6th 8,244 Semi-finals Winners
2022 18 9th 23,617 Semi-finals 3rd round Winners Winners
2023 18 4th 30,509 Runners-up Round of 16 Group stage FIFA 4th Place
2024 20 TBD
Key
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average home league attendance
  • 2020, 2021 seasons attendance reduced by COVID-19 worldwide pandemic

League history

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Excepting two seasons in which they were in the second tier, Mitsubishi/Urawa has always competed in the top flight, thereby being the club with the most top flight seasons total.

  • Mitsubishi (Amateur era)
    • Division 1 (JSL and JSL Div.1): 1965–66, 1988–89
    • Division 2 (JSL Div.2): 1989–90
    • Division 1 (JSL Div.1): 1990–91, 1991–92
  • Urawa Red Diamonds (Professional era)
  • Top scorer: Masahiro Fukuda with 152 goals

Notes

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  1. ^ The original clubs of the Japan Soccer League in 1965 were Mitsubishi Motors, Furukawa Electric, Hitachi, Yanmar Diesel, Toyo Kogyo, Yawata Steel, Toyota Industries and Nagoya Mutual Bank.
  2. ^ The original clubs of the J.League in 1993 were Kashima Antlers, Urawa, JEF United Ichihara, Verdy Kawasaki, Yokohama Marinos, Yokohama Flügels, Shimizu S-Pulse, Nagoya Grampus Eight, Gamba Osaka and Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

References

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  1. ^ 浦和レッズ年表 Archived 2008-10-25 at the Wayback Machine, Urawa Red Diamonds
  2. ^ ARUDOU, DEBITO (12 March 2014). "J.League and media must show red card to racism". Japan Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Urawa Reds play to empty stadium after fans banned for racist banner". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  4. ^ "【規律委員会】 2023年9月19日付 公表". www.jfa.jp (in Japanese). JFA. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  5. ^ J-League partner Urawa seal domestic double Archived 2007-05-19 at the Wayback Machine, FC Bayern
  6. ^ 06.01.18 FCバイエルン・ミュンヘン(ドイツ)とのパートナーシップ締結について Archived 2008-12-08 at the Wayback Machine, Urawa Red Diamonds
  7. ^ "Wild East Football". Archived from the original on 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  8. ^ レッズランド | 浦和レッズ Archived 2008-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Urawa Red Diamonds
  9. ^ A brief history of J.League mascots | Mascot madness in Japanese football, 30 January 2022, archived from the original on 2022-04-07, retrieved 2022-04-08
  10. ^ "CLUB-PROFILE | URAWA RED DIAMONDS OFFICIAL WEBSITE". www.urawa-reds.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2022-05-09. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  11. ^ URAWA REDS LADIES Archived 2008-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Urawa Red Diamonds
  12. ^ "TOP TEAM". Retrieved 20 January 2024.
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Sporting positions
Preceded by Champions of Asia
2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by Champions of Asia
2017
Succeeded by