Trinita-Parceiro set J3 attendance record

Sunday’s opening-round match between Oita Trinita and AC Nagano Parceiro has set a new attendance record for the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League, the J.League has announced.

The announced attendance of 9,189 fans breaks the previous mark of 9,040 achieved by SC Sagamihara and YSCC Yokohama last year.

Trinita, who were relegated following last year’s J2-J3 Promotion/Relegation Playoff, won 1-0.

The overall J.League highest attendance belonged to the game between Yokohama F. Marinos and Urawa Reds on December 5, 2004, when 64,899 supporters gathered at International Stadium Yokohama.

The highest attendance in the J1 League was achieved when F. Marinos hosted Albirex Niigata on November 30, 2013, in which 62,632 turned up.

The J2 League record happened when 42,223 were in attendance when Albirex welcomed Omiya Ardija, with 42,223 watching from the stands.


Kagoshima draw in J3 debut

The 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J3 League kicked off on Sunday with an expanded competition featuring 16 clubs.

Joining 13 clubs vying for promotion tor promotion to the J2 are Under-23 sides fielded by Gamba Osaka, Cerezo Osaka and FC Tokyo.

Newcomers Kagoshima United earned their first J.League point with a scoreless draw against Kataller Toyama in front of 4,452 fans at Kagoshima Kamoike Stadium while Oita Trinita defeated AC Nagano Parceiro 1-0.

FC Ryukyu had better luck at home, winning 1-0 against Fujieda MyFC thanks to Keita Tanaka’s 57th-minute goal.

At Suita Stadium, Gamba Osaka U23 fought to a scoreless draw with YSCC. Cross-town rivals Cerezo Osaka U23 fared better, with Shohei Kiyohara and Rei Yonezawa finding the back of the net in a 2-0 win over Grulla Morioka.

FC Tokyo were the only U23 side to lose on the day, falling 1-0 at SC Sagamihara after Taira Inoue scored shortly after the hour mark.


Malaysian midfielder Tam joins Gainare

20-year-old midfielder Tam Sheang Tsung has joined Gainare Tottori of the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League, the club announced on Friday.

The Tokyo-born Malaysian previously played for Avispa Fukuoka and Kataller Toyama, though he has yet to make his J.League debut.

“I want to work hard in order to play as soon as possible,” Tam commented.


FC Ryukyu announces trio of new signings

FC Ryukyu on Saturday announced the signings of three new players following successful trials.

Brazilian striker Leonardo Pereira, along with defenders Katsuhiro Hamada and Shuhei Takizawa, were offered contracts.

The club had rated their performances in the J.League/SkyPerfecTV New Years Cup Okinawa Round enough to sign them up.

All three have now committed to contribute to the club’s first-ever promotion to the J2 ahead of the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J3 League campaign.


Higuchi takes over at YSCC

YSCC Yokohama on Monday announced former Yokohama F.Marinos boss Yasuhiro Higuchi as the club’s new manager.

The 54-year-old has managed a number of J.League clubs including F. Marinos, with whom he captured the 2013 Emperor’s Cup. 

He began the 2015 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season with Ventforet Kofu, before resigning over poor results a few months into the season in May.

“YSCC celebrates its 30th anniversary this year,” Higuchi said in a statement. “It’s a club with deep roots in Yokohama and a long tradition of activity.

“I was trained as a coach by many people involved in Yokohama’s football scene and I’m incredibly excited to manage a club with such history.”

YSCC will open their 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J3 League campaign away at Gamba Osaka Under-23 on March 13.


Kawaguchi: Mochizuki convinced me to join Sagamihara

Former Japan international goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi teamed up with SC Sagamihara on Friday after chairman Shigeyoshi Mochizuki pushed for his signing from FC Gifu.

Kawaguchi, who played for Portsmouth, Nordsjaelland and Jubilo Iwata in the past, made over 100 appearances for the Samurai Blue since making his national debut in 1997.

And the 40-year-old has revealed he joined Sagamihara at the behest of Mochizuki, who convinced him to accept the new challenge of playing in the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League.

“Mochizuki, who was my high school senior, called me to persuade me,” Kawaguchi said in a club statement.

“I am very grateful for this new opportunity that has been presented to me by Sagamihara, and I want to put my body and soul into becoming a part of the club’s history.”


Gamba Osaka to field U-23 team in J3 League

The J.League this week announced that Gamba Osaka, FC Tokyo and Cerezo Osaka will be allowed to field their Under-23 teams in the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J3 League.

The decision by the league’s board of directors is intended to promote the development of younger players and provide them with more playing opportunities.

The youth sides will not be eligible for promotion to the MEIJI YASUDA J2 League, however.

A J.League U-22 selection had already been permitted to play in Japan’s third tier this season, in which they finished second from bottom.

With the announcement, 16 clubs will contest the J3 League in a home-and-away round-robin format over 30 rounds.

2016 MEIJI YASUDA J3 League Participating Clubs:

Grulla Morioka

Blaublitz Akita

Fukushima United

Tochigi SC

YSCC Yokohama

SC Sagamihara

AC Nagano Parceiro

Kataller Toyama

Fujieda MYFC

Gainare Tottori

Oita Trinita

Kagoshima United

FC Ryukyu

FC Tokyo U-23

Gamba Osaka U-23

Cerezo Osaka U-23


Takahara to leave Sagamihara

SC Sagamihara on Monday announced that veteran Naohiro Takahara's contract will not be renewed for next season.

The 36-year-old former Japan international renowned for several stints abroad in Brazil, Germany and South Korea.

In addition to his experiences overseas, Takahara has turned out for Jubilo Iwata, Urawa Reds, Shimizu S-Pulse and Tokyo Verdy within Japanese shores.

"It's only been two years but I would like to thank the club, our sponsors, our fans, our volunteers and the people of Sagamihara for their support," Takahara commented.

The forward has spent the last two seasons plying his trade in the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League, where he netted six goals in 33 appearances this year.



J1/J2 U-23 sides to join J3 League

The J.League this week announced its decision to allow the Under-23 teams of MEIJI YASUDA J1 and J2 League clubs to participate in the J3 League beginning in 2016.

The move is intended to contribute to the stable development of the J3 as well as create more playing opportunities for young players and develop their skills. 

U23 sides are to be allowed to field three overage players in each game, and will not be eligible for promotion to the J2.

Up to four U23 sides from J1 or J2 clubs will be allowed to participate in the 2016 J3 campaign. 

The finalised list of participants will be determined by the league’s board of directors in December.


Kagoshima United to join J3

The J.League on Tuesday approved the admission of Kagoshima United to the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League for the 2016 season.

Founded in 2014 with the merger of Volca Kagoshima and FC Kagoshima, the club are based in Kagoshima City and finished fourth in 2015’s Japan Football League.

They will become the first team from Kagoshima Prefecture, located on the southern tip of the island of Kyushu, to feature in the J.League.


Ryukyu retain J3 License

The J.League on Tuesday announced that FC Ryukyu will retain their J3 License for the 2016 season.

The club’s application had been subject to continuing deliberation as a result of their current financial situation.

The Okinawan side, who are currently in ninth place in the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League, will conclude their season against Kataller Toyama next Monday.


Machida Zelvia announce new kits

Machida Zelvia on Sunday unveiled their new kits for the upcoming season.

The new line of jerseys is scheduled to go on sale beginning in January.

Zelvia, currently second in the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League where they are neck-and-neck with leaders Renofa Yamaguchi, take on Blaublitz Akita next.

The Tokyo side will finish their campaign on November 23 at AC Nagano Parceiro.


Grulla’s Hayashi scores 1,000th J3 goal

Grulla Morioka striker Yusuke Hayashi scored the 1,000th goal in the history of the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League on Saturday.

The landmark strike came in the 56th minute of Grulla’s 1-2 loss to Gainare Tottori in the 36th round of the season.

Twenty-five-year-old Hayashi, who has five goals for Grulla this season, has previously played for Urawa Reds and Thespa Kusatsu Gunma.

Now in their second season in Japan’s third tier, the side from Iwate currently sit 11th in the table.


J3 Club License results announced

The J.League’s board of directors met on Tuesday to discuss the status of J3 Club License applications for the 2016 season from present J3 clubs.

Licenses were approved for Grulla Morioka, Blaublitz Akita, Fukushima United, YSCC Yokohama, SC Sagamihara, Fujieda MYFC and Gainare Tottori.

Due to FC Ryukyu’s current financial situation however, deliberation over the status of the club’s license has been extended to the board of directors’ meeting in November.


Sagamihara’s Mori suspended for remainder of J3 season

SC Sagamihara’s Yusuke Mori will be suspended for six weeks for elbowing an opponent in the team’s 5-0 loss at Renofa Yamaguchi, the J.League announced on Thursday.

The 35-year-old’s will now miss the rest of the season after he was immediately sent off for aiming a deliberate elbow at an opponent in last Sunday’s MEIJI YASUDA J3 League fixture.

Mori’s punishment was made more severe given the defender’s actions were a repeat incident, after he had already received a two-match ban for similarly violent conduct in June.

The ban is a blow to the veteran given he had just made his way back into Sagamihara’s starting XI, after being injured for the whole of August and almost all of September.


Grulla Morioka confirm Honda part of Iwate “Dream Match”

Kashima Antlers legend Yasuto Honda will take part in a match commemorating the 60th anniversary of the nearby town of Kuzumaki, organisers Grulla Morioka have announced.

The “IWATE Evolution MATCH” has been set up by the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League side to take place on October 25 in an effort to promote grassroots sports and the growth of football in the prefecture.

Grulla - a squad composed of J.Leaguers past and present from Iwate Prefecture - and the winners of this year’s prefectural football tournament will take part in a round-robin competition.

Amongst the players whose participation has been confirmed is former Antlers icon and Japan international, Honda.

The now-46-year-old made over 300 appearances for Japan’s most successful club between 1992 and 2006, winning four J.League titles as well as two Emperor’s Cups.


Numazu, Nara, Kagoshima receive J3 licenses

The J.League announced that three Japan Football League (JFL) clubs have been licensed to participate in the 2016 edition of the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League.

Azul Claro Numazu, Nara Club and Kagoshima United FC were all awarded J3 Hundred Year Vision licences on Thursday.

These side will be eligible for promotion to the J.League’s third division should they finish in the JFL’s top four, and in the top two amongst Hundred Year Vision clubs, this season. 

As part of the licensing process, the clubs are required to maintain an average attendance of over 2,000, and earn at least 150,000,000 yen per year in terms of revenue.

Vanraure Hachinohe, whose new home ground will not be completed until October 2016, were denied a licence as they do not yet possess an alternate ground which aligns with J3 standards.


Sagamihara seek submissions for club mascot

SC Sagamihara on Tuesday announced they have opened name and design submissions for the club’s new mascot.

The north-eastern Kanagawa side have stated that they are looking to create a mascot who can appeal to all fans regardless of age or gender.

Submissions must be sent in to the club by October 15, with the owner of the winning design due to receive a 100,000 yen (USD$830) prize.

The outfit currently sit fourth in the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League, the J.League’s third tier.


FC Machida Zelvia to open restaurant in September

MEIJI YASUDA J3 League club FC Machida Zelvia on Tuesday announced plans to open a restaurant named “Zelvia x Kitchen” in late September.

Located five minutes away by car from Machida Athletic Stadium as well as the team’s training facilities, the restaurant is to be opened to the local community.

The aim will be to bring fans together over the same healthy meals enjoyed by Zelvia’s players, staff, with the menu featuring over 80 meals prepared with locally-grown ingredients.

The side are presently second in the third tier of the J.League.


Nagano manager Minobe resigns

AC Nagano Parceiro manager Naohiko Minobe resigned from his post on Wednesday citing health concerns.

The 50-year-old was in his third season in charge after leading them to a Japan Football League title in 2013 and then a runners-up finish in last year’s inaugural MEIJI YASUDA J3 League season.

The Minami Nagano Stadium side presently sit third in the third tier but Minobe revealed he no longer feels up to the rigours of leading the team as they battle for promotion.

“We have a tough fight ahead of us in order to earn promotion to the J2, and due to health problems it will be difficult for me to continue with the players,” he said.

“It was a difficult decision to make but I have informed the club of my decision to step down.”

Minobe will be replaced by Parceiro head coach Hajime Eto, who, at 42 years old, will be making his J.League managerial debut.