Albirex Niigata

Albirex Niigata
Full name Albirex Niigata
Nickname(s) Albi
Founded 1955 (1955)
Ground Denka Big Swan Stadium,
Ground Capacity 42,300
Chairman Mitsugu Tamura
Manager Koichiro Katafuchi
League J1 League
2016 J1 League, 15th
Website Club home page

Albirex Niigata (アルビレックス新潟 Arubirekkusu Nīgata) is a Japanese J. League Division 1 association football club based in Niigata In 2003, while still playing in the second tier of Japanese football (J2), Albirex attracted the best average crowd in the country of over 30,000. Since promotion to J1 in 2004 they have recorded an average crowd of over 38,000, and in 2005 Albirex were the first ever club in Japan to record an average gate of over 40,000.[1]


For many years it had been a local autonomous amateur club, Niigata 11, that could never hope to see the light of day in an old Japan Soccer League dominated almost entirely by company teams. The creation of the J. League spurred the club to rise, and in the 1990s it began climbing fast through the divisions.[2]

In 1998, Albirex Niigata joined the Japan Football League, and was merged into the J2 league after its creation in 1999. The team gradually became competitive and on 2001 and 2002 it came close to getting promoted to J1 and in 2003,[3] it became the champion of J2 and finally joined the top flight.

The team name is made from combining the star Albireo of the constellation Cygnus (the Swan) and the Latin word Rex meaning 'king'.[4] In 1997, due to copyright issues, the team name was changed from Albireo Niigata to the current Albirex Niigata.

In 2007, the uniform color will change. Until 2006, the color was orange – blue – orange, but from 2007 the color will be orange – orange – orange. This coordinate has not been adopted since 1996 when the team professionalized.

The success in Albirex Niigata gave a big impact to the entire Japanese sporting world including the professional baseball. It is because commercial correctness of structure of professional sports, and a regional sticking (effectiveness in Japan) was proven also in the local mainstay city. Moreover, it came for clarifying the possession of energy that it was farther larger than the expectation of the sports market in the local city without the population of the metropolitan area in the past, and local city citizens' localism feelings are very bigger to influence other a lot of sports and municipality.[1]

Team name transition


The Big Swan

Joining the J. League in 1999, its home towns are Niigata and Seiro. Until 2003, it used Niigata Perfectural Sport Ground as the home ground but since 2004, the team began using Niigata Stadium Big Swan as well and now plays most of its games there. In 2003,[5] it set a record for highest attendance in the J. League with the cumulative total of around 660,000.[1] Its practice grounds are Albirex's training facilities in Seiro Albillage and the Ijimino Sports Park (五十公野運動公園 Ijimino Undō Kōen) in Shibata.

The club plays its home games in the Niigata Stadium "Big Swan", which is currently called Denka Big Swan Stadium through a sponsorship deal. The stadium was opened in 2001, and has a capacity of 42,300. Prior to this the club had played its matches in the Niigata City Athletic Stadium constructed in 1938 with a capacity of 18,000.

The stadium was the site of two first round matches and one Round of 16 match in the past 2002 FIFA World Cup. It was also the venue for the 2009 National Sports Festival.


Current squad

As of October 22, 2016.[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 Japan GK Takaya Kurokawa
2 Japan DF Kazunari Ono
3 Japan DF Shigeto Masuda
4 Japan DF Michael Fitzgerald
5 Japan DF Takanori Maeno
6 Japan MF Yuki Kobayashi
7 Brazil DF Cortez (on loan from São Paulo)
8 Brazil MF Léo Silva
9 Japan FW Ryohei Yamazaki
10 Brazil FW Rafael Silva
11 Japan FW Hiroshi Ibusuki
13 Japan MF Masaru Kato
14 Japan FW Tatsuya Tanaka
17 Japan MF Yuta Ito
18 Japan MF Sho Naruoka
No. Position Player
19 Japan FW Musashi Suzuki
21 Japan GK Tatsuya Morita
22 Japan GK Goro Kawanami
24 Japan DF Ryoma Nishimura
25 Japan MF Kei Koizumi
26 Japan MF Go Hayama
27 Japan DF Ken Matsubara
28 Japan DF Fumiya Hayakawa
29 Japan MF Kiwara Miyazaki
30 Japan DF Takumi Hasegawa
31 Japan GK Akihito Ozawa
32 Brazil FW Kalil (on loan from Criciúma)
37 Japan MF Gakuto Notsuda (on loan from Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
41 Japan MF Kazuki Kozuka

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
Japan GK Yasuhiro Watanabe (at Tokushima Vortis)
Japan DF Naoki Kawaguchi (at Shimizu S-Pulse)
Japan DF Goson Sakai (at Fukushima United)
South Korea DF Song Ju-hun (at Mito HollyHock)
Peru MF Romero Frank (at Mito HollyHock)
Japan MF Noriyoshi Sakai (at Fagiano Okayama)
Japan FW Shu Hiramatsu (at Mito HollyHock)

Notable players


Statistics correct as of the end of the 2015 season

Name Nationality From To Pld W D L % Honours/Notes Ref
Frans van Balkom  Netherlands 1994 1997 36 28 3 5 77.78 Promotion to Japan Football League [7]
Yoshikazu Nagai  Japan 1998 2000 108 49 7 52 45.37 Promotion to J. League Division 2 [7]
Yasuharu Sorimachi  Japan 2001 2005 196 97 40 59 49.49 Promotion to J. League Division 1 [7]
Jun Suzuki  Japan 2006 2009 136 51 32 53 37.50 [7][8][9][10]
Hisashi Kurosaki  Japan 2010 May 21, 2012 80 24 25 31 30.00 [11][12][13][14]
Nobuhiro Ueno*  Japan May 22, 2012 June 10, 2012 1 0 0 1 00.00 [15][14]
Masaaki Yanagishita  Japan June 11, 2012 Nov 22, 2015 89 37 25 27 41.57 [13][14][16]
Tatsuma Yoshida  Japan Dec 1, 2015 Present 0 0 0 0 !

* Served as caretaker manager.


Affiliated clubs

Since 2004, Albirex Niigata has selected a number of players for its satellite team in the S.League in Singapore. Albirex also has a women's team and joined L2 league (an equivalent of J2) in 2004. Albirex Ladies won the L2 title in 2006,[17] and went on to join L1 in 2007.

The following clubs are affiliated with Albirex Niigata:

In addition to the J-1 Albirex Niigata football team, there is an Niigata Albirex basketball club in the bj league, as well as a ski, snowboard, baseball, and track and field team. Though the teams share the same name, management and finances are completely separate for each team.


  1. 1 2 3 "Venture spirits, Hiroshi Ikeda interview" (in Japanese). Biz STYLE. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. Niigata-Nippo. 11 years-History of Albirex Niigata (2007), pp. 2–10.
  3. "Albirex won the promotion slot" Niigata-Nippo: p. 1. 24 November 2003.
  4. 1 2 "Club guide : Albirex Niigata" (in Japanese). J.League. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. "History of Niigata stadium" (in Japanese). Albirex Niigata. and Niigata Urban Flowering and Greenery Foundation Group. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. "2016J1 LEAGUE Albirex Niigata". J. League. March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 The 11-year History of Albirex Niigata (in Japanese). Albirex Niigata. 2007. ISBN 4861322219.
  8. "League Table 2007 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  9. "League Table 2008 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  10. "League Table 2009 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  11. "League Table 2010 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  12. "League Table 2011 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  13. 1 2 "League Table 2012 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  14. 1 2 3 "Yanagishita named Albirex manager". Japan Times. Kyodo News. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  15. "SCORESHEET 2012 J.LEAGUE Division 1 2nd Day 13th Sec". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  16. "League Table 2013 J.LEAGUE Division 1". J. League. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  17. "2006 Nadeshiko League" (PDF) (in Japanese). Nadeshiko League. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  18. "Albirex Niigata Barcelona website" (in Japanese). Retrieved 27 January 2014.

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