Albirex begin player recruitment

Albirex Niigata’s soccer school has now started a new campaign aimed at recruiting prospective new players.

New members will receive several privileges that include discounts and the chance for junior players to be child mascots at DENKA BIG SWAN STADIUM.

Albirex Niigata are constantly involved in their community, and manage affiliate clubs in Singapore, Cambodia and one in the Catalonian 4th division.

In addition to their football college, Albirex also have a basketball team that plays in the Japanese top tier, a baseball team, track and field, ski and snowboard teams.


Utaka and Duke amongst goals in S-Pulse rout

Shimizu S-Pulse’s new signings starred as they trashed Tokai Gakuen University 8-0 in a friendly match played on Monday.

Peter Utaka bagged a hat-trick on the day, while Australian Mitchell Duke joined him on the scoreboard with one of his own.

The strike duo joined S-Pulse late in the transfer market and missed the majority of the club’s pre-season preparations.

Both started on the bench as their new side scalped giants Kashima Antlers 3-1 in the opening round of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League, with Duke featuring from the 66th minute.

Katsumi Oenoki’s troops now go into their next league tie at Albirex Niigata on Saturday in high spirits of bringing back a result.


Special food stall tickets go on sale at Vissel Kobe

Vissel Kobe have announced the sale of 20 special tickets directed at club fans and gourmet lovers for their match against Ventforet Kofu on 12th April.

Aside from granting access to the game, the tickets will allow holders to eat unlimitedly from a spread served by food stalls in the space of four hours, and went on sale at noon on Wednesday.

Japanese clubs pay great attention to the food served at such stalls specifically set up outside home stadiums, which typically serve traditional local food.

Such stalls are one further reason for fans to travel to away games and sample delicacies from other towns.


Montedio fan magazine to feature Alceu interview

Montedio Yamagata announced that the March issue of their official fan magazine, Montedio Yamagata Fan Magazine Rush, will begin going on sale today.

The issue features interviews with club newcomers Alceu, Toshiya Takagi and Hayato Settsu, as well as a feature on the team’s pre-season camp in Chiba Prefecture’s Tateyama.

Nobuhiro Ishizaki’s side kicked off their MEIJI YASUDA J1 League campaign with a 0-2 loss to Vegalta Sendai in the Michinoku Derby on Saturday.


Antlers centre-back Shoji undergoes hand surgery

Kashima Antlers announced that defender Gen Shoji underwent successful surgery for a fracture to his left wrist on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was called up to Japan’s Asian Cup squad in January and suffered the injury in a Valentine’s Day friendly against Mito Hollyhock.

Shoji did manage to feature in the AFC Champions League ties with Western Sydney Wanderers and FC Seoul but duly missed his side’s J.League opener at Shimizu S-Pulse, which they lost 1-3.

His expected return to training this week comes as a boost to Toninho Cerezo, although whether the centre-back will be fit enough to play against Shonan Bellmare this Saturday is unknown.

Naomichi Ueda will reprise his place beside Hwang Seok Ho in the starting XI should Shoji fail to prove his fitness in time.

The Antlers have already shipped seven goals in just three games, losing all this season, and the struggling giants are already under pressure to turn their form around.


Tokyo striker Muto appears on AERA cover

FC Tokyo striker Yoshinori Muto will be featured in the latest edition of Japanese magazine Aera, his club announced on Monday.

The growing Japan icon, who scored two goals in Tokyo’s 2-2 draw at Gamba Osaka on Saturday, has also been photographed for the publication’s cover.

Muto’s league debut came against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in July 2013 and he has now gone on to score 16 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions for his club.

Ex-Samurai Blues coach Javier Aguirre called up Muto for the 2015 Asian Cup, where the promising starlet went on to play in every game as Japan progressed to the quarter-finals.


S-Pulse shock Kashima Antlers as giants record third straight loss

Genki Omae struck twice as Shimizu S-Pulse beat Kashima Antlers 3-1 on Sunday, heaping yet more misery on the struggling J.League giants.

Toninho Cerezo’s men were aiming to put the dampening defeats suffered in the AFC Champions League, as well as last year’s third place league finish, behind them with a result at IAI Stadium.

But the visitors’ third loss in as many games only followed, as Omae’s brace – a goal in each half – plus former Antler Takuya Honda’s strike ensured S-Pulse earned three valuable points in their survival bid this season, with Australia international Mitchell Duke making his J.League debut.

Substitute Yasushi Endo did net Kashima Antlers a temporary equaliser in the 69th minute while the club will rue Takahide Umebachi’s ambitious attempt that came back off the woodwork, but the task ultimately proved too big for a team missing key players in Gen Shoji and Davi.

The collapse puts an early dent on the seven-time league champions’ title hopes and piles more pressure on the injury-depleted side ahead of next Saturday’s game against Shonan Bellmare.


Forlan nets first of new season as MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE gets underway

Tokyo Verdy and Cerezo Osaka kicked off their J2 League campaigns when they played out a 1-1 draw against each other on Sunday.

Both teams are determined to gain promotion this year, with Cerezo relegated at the end of 2014 after several years spent as a regular top flight member.

The match finished a South American affair as Brazilian Alan Pinheiro gave Verdy a 47th minute lead, before Uruguayan Diego Forlan replied for Cerezo in the 79th minute.

Former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid man Forlan moved to Japan last year and scored seven goals in 26 matches, although he was eventually unable to keep his side afloat.

Forlan went down with his side and will now aim to fire them into the top two of the J2 League to gain automatic promotion at the end of this term.

Clubs finishing 3rd to 6th in the 22-team league will play a semi-final [3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5] qualification round, before the winners progress to a final promotion play-off which will determine the third and final team that will be promoted.


F.Marinos cover most ground collectively, reveals J.League

Yokohoma F.Marinos ran the most during their 3-1 home defeat to Kawasaki Frontale, according to data from the J.League.

The top flight’s Live Tracking system has released a set of statistics from the first matchday of the new season.

F.Marinos covered 120.16km as a team at Nissan Stadium on Saturday but it proved all in vain, as they succumbed to rivals Frontale.

Nagoya Grampus ran the least collectively at 102.16km, although Akira Nishino’s team were still able to come back from two goals down in the last 15 minutes to draw 3-3 with Matsumoto Yamaga.

F.Marinos midfielder Shingo Hyodo put in a real shift for his side, running 13.05km, while FC Tokyo’s Ryoichi Maeda and Hyodo’s team-mate Jungo Fujimoto came in second and third respectively.

Gamba Osaka’s 37-year-old midfielder Tomokazu Myojin remarkably was able to cover 11.68km, while the player who sprinted the most at speeds above 24km per hour was Vegalta Sendai’s defender Naoki Sugai, at 36 times.

The J.League’s Live Tracking system can be accessed from its official website.