- Shimizu S-Pulse
Football club infobox | clubname = Shimizu S-Pulse
fullname = Shimizu S-Pulse
nickname = S-Pa
Nihondaira Sports Stadium
Shimizu, Shizuoka &
capacity = 20,339 [cite web | title = J-League Club Data | work = j-league.or.jp | url = http://www.j-league.or.jp/eng/clubprofile/j1.html#shimizu | accessdate=January 12 | accessyear=2007]
chairman = flagicon|JPN Hayao Iwakawa
manager = flagicon|JPN
season = 2007
position = 4th
nihongo|Shimizu S-Pulse|清水エスパルス|Shimizu Esuparusu is a professional
Japanese football club. Located in Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, S-Pulse currently competes in the J. LeagueDivision 1 (J1). Formed as recently as 1991, S-Pulse are one of the youngest professional teams in Japan, but are among only six to have competed in Japan's top flight of football every year since its inception in 1993. The club was formed at the advent of the J. League in 1991, and originally consisted of players drawn exclusively from Shizuoka Prefecture; a unique distinction at the time.
Given the club's youth when compared to many of their J1 peers, S-Pulse have had a relatively large impact on Japanese football. They have won all three domestic cup competitions at least once and have also won the
Asian Cup Winners Cup. However, the J. League Division 1 title has so far eluded them, coming closest in 1999 when, after winning the league's second stage, they lost out in the title deciding match to local rivals, Júbilo Iwata.
History of Shimizu S-Pulse
Shizuoka as a Football Prefecture
As a prefecture, Shizuoka had historically been a strong footballing area of Japan; in particular being noted for it's nationally successful high school teams [http://www.wldcup.com/Asia/jleague/spulse.html Notes on Shizuoka Prefectures strength at high school level. Retrieved 8th October 2008] and the numerous national team players which had emerged from the prefecture over the years. Indeed, the prefectural police force of Shizuoka has an anthropomorphic football as a mascot. [ [http://www.police.pref.shizuoka.jp/e-html/home.htm Shizuoka Prefectural Police Home Page?Ã‰ªœ§Œxž@ Home Page ] ] The west of the prefecture was already home to the company team of Yamaha Motor Corporation who played in the
Japan Soccer Leagueand who would later go on to form Júbilo Iwata, but it was believed there was room for another team for the football-hungry population. With the advent of the professional league at the start of the 1990's, the wheels were put in motion to create a team to represent the east of the prefecture and to give opportunities to the wealth of footballing talent produced by the local high school teams.
Born on the Fourth of July
Shimizu S-Pulse was formed in February, 1991 as Shimizu FC from the backing of local businesses and people. This was a beginning which made them unique among the founding clubs of the J. League, with all others ex-company teams turned professional. Two months after formation, the club name was officially changed to Shimizu S-Pulse. "S-Pulse" is a combination of the "S" from Shizuoka, Shimizu, Supporter and Soccer, and "Pulse" from English to mean the spirit of all those who support the team. The club played it's first ever game against
Gamba Osakaon July 4th 1992, a date which is celebrated as the clubs memorial birthday. [http://www.s-pulse.co.jp/english/history/ S-Pulse club History. Retrieved October 7th 2008] The match took place at the Nagai Stadiumin Osaka. The club's first competitive game was against Nagoya Grampus September 5th of the same year, with the first competitive home game held at Nihondaira Stadium on September 9th 1992 against Yokohama Marinos. S-Pulse won their debut home game 2-1.
Professional Football Comes to Shimizu
After being approved for participation in the
J. Leagueon February 4th 1991, [http://www.s-pulse.co.jp/english/history/ S-Pulse club History. Retrieved October 7th 2008] S-Pulse competed in the inaugural 1992 J. League Cupand made it to their first final. However, the dream start ended with defeat at the hands of Verdy Kawasaki. In 1993, S-Pulse became one of the ten founder members of the new J. League, and finished third after the 1st and 2nd stages were combined. Their second venture into the J. League Cupwas another near miss, again losing in the final to Verdy Kawasaki. Finally, in 1996 the team got their hands on the trophy and also gained revenge on Verdy, beating them 5-4 on penalties in the final.
1999 began with S-Pulse's first appearance in the
Japanese Super Cup, replacing Yokohama Flügels after their merger with Yokohama Marinos. However, S-Pulse lost the match 2-1. After performing well in both league stages, S-Pulse were up against local rivals Júbilo Iwata in the title decider, and after a 3-3 aggregate draw, lost the tie 4-2 on penalties. The new millennium brought better results for S-Pulse. Victory in the Asian Cup Winners Cupin 2000 and victory in the final of the Emperor's Cupin 2001 meant that the S-Pulse trophy cabinet was beginning to fill up, and victories in the 2001 and 2002 Japanese Super Cups meant that the club had won four cups in three years.
In 2005, S-Pulse closed the year with a run to the
Emperor's Cupfinal in which they did not concede a single goal. However, this changed in the final against Urawa Red Diamonds, which they lost 2-1. After a near-miss in the league, avoiding a relegation play-off by only goal difference, manager Kenta Hasegawa's work started to pay off the following year. In both 2006 and 2007 S-Pulse performed strongly in the league and finished in 4th place. However, early exits in both cup competitions in 2006, and again in 2007, means they are currently without a trophy for five years; the longest barren spell in their history.
In common with other J. League teams, S-Pulse have a colourful and noisy collection of supporters who follow the team around the country. A supporter band is present at games home and away to help galvanise support and raise the decibel levels. The band models itself to a large degree after its Brazilian counterparts, and Latin rhythms and samba sounds predominate. For home games, S-Pulse's more vocal supporters gather in the second tier of The Kop; the stand behind the west goal at Nihondaira Stadium. Also in this area can be found S-Pulse's band of ultras, who each game take over a central area behind the goal which has been dubbed The Dragon Zone. Often physical, it's not uncommon for the area to descend into a moshpit after important goals, and signs posted around the stand inform and caution general supporters of the area's lively nature. The club's official fan club has several branches around the country, and S-Pulse supporters are officially listed as the team's twelfth player.
Unlike all other professional teams at the time of the J. League's formation, S-Pulse was not the company team of a major corporation. As such, it wasn't able to enjoy the financial backing and security of other clubs. As well as originally gathering its playing staff almost exclusively from Shizuoka prefecture, local corporation S-Lap Communications ran and financed the club. This was a company funded in part from Shimuzu citizens, but in main by Shizuoka Television. After the J. League bubble burst in the late 1990's, Shizuoka Television withdrew backing, and in 1998 only a drastic restructuring kept the club afloat. Ownership of S-Pulse was reorganized between local companies under the leadership of Shimizu based Suzuyo Corporation. It is now run under the company title of S-Pulse, Inc.
S-Pulse in Culture
Despite their relatively short history, S-Pulse have had some impact on popular culture beyond football. Current manager and former player of some eight years and over 200 appearances,
Kenta Hasegawa, makes occasional appearances in popular mangaand animeseries " Chibi Maruko-chan". In the show a boy called with his name kun who loves football and is a classmate of title character Chibi Maruko is sometimes seen. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0882758/ Chibi Maruko-chan (2006) (TV) ] ] The author of the manga, Momoko Sakura, created this character after Hasegawa. Sakura and Hasegawa attended the same primary school during the same period.In another example, two fictional characters from the popular Captain Tsubasa manga, who, on becoming professional footballers, join S-Pulse.
"Main articles: Nihondaira Sports Stadium, Shizuoka "Ecopa" Stadium"
"Note: Players with bold names have been named Player of the Year or Young Player of the Year in the
World Cup Players
"'World Cup 1994
*flagicon|Brazil Ronaldão"'World Cup 1998
Toshihide Saito"'World Cup 2002
Alessandro dos Santos
Kazuyuki Toda"'World Cup 2006
* [http://www.s-pulse.co.jp/english/ Shimizu S-Pulse official site]
* [http://www.s-pulse.co.jp/ Shimizu S-Pulse official site]
* [http://www.dream-ferry.co.jp/ S-Pulse Dream Ferry official site]
* [http://www.dream-plaza.co.jp/ S-Pulse Plaza official site]
Original J. League clubs
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