Yokohama FC (横浜FC, Yokohama Efushī) is a Japanese football club based in the city of Yokohama. The club was formed by fans of Yokohama Flügels as a protest against Flügels' merger with Yokohama Marinos in 1999, becoming the first supporter-owned professional sports team in Japan.[1]

Yokohama FC
Full nameYokohama FC
Founded1999; 21 years ago (1999)
GroundMitsuzawa Stadium
Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama
ChairmanYuji Onodera
ManagerTakahiro Shimotaira
LeagueJ1 League
2019J2 League, 2nd Increase (promoted)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Since gaining J.League membership in 2001, Yokohama FC has spent all but one season in the second tier of the Japanese football league system; the club gained promotion to J.League Division 1 as champions of J.League Division 2 in 2006, but were immediately relegated the following season.


Graphical timeline of Yokohama football clubs

Yokohama FC was formed in 1999 following the merger of Yokohama's two J.League clubs, the Flügels and the Marinos. Flügels supporters felt that their club had essentially been dissolved rather than merged with, so rejected the suggestion that they should start supporting Marinos - who had been their crosstown rivals. Instead, with money raised through donations from the general public and an affiliation with talent management company IMG, the former Flügels supporters founded the Yokohama Fulie Sports Club.[2] Following the socio model used by FC Barcelona, the Fulie Sports Club created Yokohama FC, the first professional sports team in Japan owned and operated by its supporters.[1]

For its first season in 1999, Yokohama FC hired former German national team and World Cup star Pierre Littbarski to be the manager and Yasuhiko Okudera, the first Japanese footballer to play professionally in Europe, to be the chairman.[3] The club attempted to gain entry directly into the professional J.League, but the Japan Football Association only permitted entry to the amateur Japan Football League (JFL), at the time the third level of the Japanese football league system, and ruled that the club would not be eligible for promotion into J.League Division 2 at the end of its first season. So, despite finishing as JFL champion in 1999, Yokohama FC finished as JFL champion again in 2000 before being promoted to J.League Division 2.[4]

The club spent the next 6 seasons in J.League Division 2 before finishing as champions in 2006 and gaining promotion to J. League Division 1. In 2007, just the ninth year of its existence, Yokohama FC played its first season in the top flight of Japanese football. After a poor season, the team were consigned to relegation with five games of the season still remaining. Despite their early relegation, Yokohama FC nevertheless decided the final outcome at the opposite end of the table; by defeating title contenders Urawa Red Diamonds on the last day of the season, Kashima Antlers secured the J.League Division 1 title.[5]

In 2018, Yokohama FC narrowly missed out on automatic promotion by goal difference. The team made it to the J2 promotion final, losing to Tokyo Verdy on an stoppage time winner. In 2019, Yokohama finished second in J2 and gained automatic promotion to J1.

Fight for promotionEdit

Although they had a dire season in 2005, they ended 11th out of 12, they were in the top half of table throughout the 2006 season. On 26 November they finished on the top spot of the J2 league, and hence were finally promoted to division 1.

This success story was so dramatic as to make people somewhat excited in Japan. Yokohama FC's financial situation is so poor that they don't even possess their own football ground or a club house. Players did everything themselves including the carrying the goal posts and washing jerseys.

Some of the main players are veteran stars, such as Kazuyoshi Miura (53), Atsuhiro Miura (58). These players once played for the National Team.

They lost all pre-season matches, even against college students, then also the first official match of the year. After this, they suddenly changed the player-manager to a freshman with little experience named Takuya Takagi 38. At the beginning of the season few expected them to become champions.

Football tacticsEdit

First, Takagi concentrated on getting the basics right and focused on defense. The team then kept clean sheets in 15 consecutive games. This success gave the young players confidence to be more aggressive on the field. As a result, they didn't lose more than one game in succession and won the title.


As they could not adopt directly Flugels' white and blue strip given its similarity to that of Marinos, Yokohama FC decided to adopt an all-cyan kit, after NKK SC, a former company club which had closed in 1994. NKK SC was based in Kawasaki and played most matches at Todoroki Athletics Stadium, but used Mitsuzawa Stadium on days when the other Kawasaki clubs at the time (Verdy Kawasaki, Toshiba and Fujitsu) used it.

Current playersEdit

As of 11 July 2019.[6]

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

No. Position Player
1   GK Akihiro Takeshige
2   DF Yuta Fujii
3   DF Maguinho
4   DF Yuki Kobayashi
5   DF Masakazu Tashiro
6   MF Tatsuki Seko
7   MF Takuya Matsuura
8   MF Kensuke Sato
9   FW Kazunari Ichimi
10   FW Ibba Laajab
11   FW Kazuyoshi Miura
13   FW Yuji Senuma
14   DF Takaaki Shichi
15   FW Kosuke Saito
16   FW Yusuke Minagawa
17   MF Eijiro Takeda
18   GK Yuta Minami
19   DF Masahiko Inoha
20   DF Calvin Jong-a-Pin
No. Position Player
21   GK Akinori Ichikawa
22   MF Daisuke Matsui
23   FW Koki Saito
25   FW Yuki Kusano
26   DF Yutaro Hakamata
27   MF Katsuhiro Nakayama
28   MF Reo Yasunaga
29   DF Kyowaan Hoshi
30   MF Kohei Tezuka
32   MF Riku Furuyado
33   DF Yasumasa Kawasaki
34   DF Kakeru Kumagaya
37   MF Yusuke Matsuo
40   MF Leandro Domingues
44   GK Yuji Rokutan
46   MF Shunsuke Nakamura

Out on loanEdit

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

No. Position Player
  MF Yota Maejima (at Kataller Toyama)

Record as J. League memberEdit

Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G J. League Cup Emperor's Cup
2001 J2 12 9 3,007 2nd Round 4th Round
2002 J2 12 12 3,477 3rd Round
2003 J2 12 11 3,743 3rd Round
2004 J2 12 8 4,219 5th Round
2005 J2 18 11 5,938 4th Round
2006 J2 13 1 5,119 3rd Round
2007 J1 18 18 14,039 Group Stage 5th Round
2008 J2 15 10 6,793 4th Round
2009 J2 18 16 3,535 3rd Round
2010 J2 19 6 5,791 3rd Round
2011 J2 20 18 5,770 2nd Round
2012 J2 22 4 6,039 3rd Round
2013 J2 22 11 6,064 2nd Round
2014 J2 22 11 5,146 2nd Round
2015 J2 22 15 5,113 2nd Round
2016 J2 22 8 4,892 Round of 16
2017 J2 22 10 5,967 2nd Round
2018 J2 22 3 6,141 3rd Round
2019 J2 22 2 7,061 3rd Round
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance
  • Source: J. League Data Site


As of 26 February 2016.


Affiliated clubsEdit

  •   YFCMD – a professional football club based in Hong Kong who were once owned by Yokohama FC. Their new club name stands for Yokohama FC Modic.


  1. ^ a b Ichiro Hirose (2014). スポーツ・マネジメント入門 [Introduction to Sport Management] (in Japanese). Toyo Keizai. p. 123. ISBN 4492502602.
  2. ^ John Horne, Wolfram Manzenreiter (2013). Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup. Routledge. p. 101. ISBN 0415275636.
  3. ^ Kumi Kinohara (27 July 2000). "Yokohama FC struggling to survive despite JFL success". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Interview with Tomio Tsujino" (PDF) (in Japanese). Yokohama City. 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. ^ Andrew Mckirdy (2 December 2007). "Inspired Antlers squad captures J. League title". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. ^ "【2019横浜FC 選手】". Yokohama FC. Retrieved 11 January 2019.

External linksEdit