is a football (soccer) club from Japan.
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About JEF United
is a Japanese professional association football club that plays in J. League Division 2. On February 1, 2005, the club changed its name from JEF United Ichihara
to the current name after Chiba, Chiba had joined Ichihara, Chiba as its hometown in 2003. The club name, JEF
-taken from East Japan Railway Company and Furukawa Electric- and United
, represents the unity of the team and its home town. The club is also known as or .
The team began as the company team, in 1946. As the company team, it won the Japan Soccer League twice, the Emperor's Cup four times and the JSL League Cup three times. Furukawa also won the 1986-87 Asian Club Championship AFC Champions League, the top club honor in Asian Football Confederation; they were the first Japanese club to do so.
Since the league's inception in 1965 in Japanese football, the team had always played in the top flight in Japan and was the only Japanese team to never be relegated from the JSL1, a record they kept into the J1 years. They did finish the Japan Soccer League 1978 season in a relegation position (last of 10) but stayed up after beating Honda F.C 1-0 on aggregate in a two-legged playoff. The last place was not automatically relegated until the Japan Soccer League 1980 season.
In 1991, it merged with the JR East's company team to become and rebranded itself as JEF United Ichihara upon the J. League's founding in 1993. The team initially built itself around the former Germany national football team player Pierre Littbarski.
From 1998 to 2000, the team struggled to stay in the J1 league and it began a series of efforts to be a competitive team. Since the hiring of Ivica Osim in 2003, JEF United has contended for the league title each year despite limited resources and struggling attendance.
On July 16, 2006, Osim left the team to take over the coach of the Japan national football team and was succeeded by Amar Osim, his son and assistant coach.
After 13 games in the 2008 season Josip Kuže was sacked as team manager. On 8 May 2008 it was announced that the new manager was Alex Miller. Miller was First Team Coach at Liverpool FC alongside Rafael Benítez prior to joining JEF United.
On May 13, 2008, JEF United Chiba were linked with a move for Michael Owen whose contract renewal talks at Newcastle United FC have broken down because of a pay cut.
Furukawa Electric is no longer the main sponsor of the club, a job these days taken over by Fuji Electric.
On November 8, 2009, JEF United Chiba was relegated to J2 after 44 seasons in the Japanese top division; 2010 will be their first season in the second tier.
It had played its home matches at Ichihara Seaside Stadium, but has since moved to the larger, football-specific and more conveniently located Fukuda Denshi Arena, which opened in Chiba during the 2005 season. The club had initially practiced at Urayasu, Chiba planning to base itself in Narashino, Chiba before opposition by those living around Akitsu Stadium forced it to be based in Ichihara. Since 2000, training has been held at Footpark Anesaki in Ichihara.
JEF United Ichihara's mascot characters are Akita Inu brothers named Jeffy and Unity. The squad number of Jeffy is 2 and that of Unity is 9.
Furukawa Electric Chiba
This was JEF's reserve team during the JSL years. They were formed in 1967 and were first promoted to the JSL Second Division in 1975. They still exist, although they are no longer affiliated on paper, and play in the Kanto Regional League. In 2008 they renamed themselves S.A.I. Ichihara
JEF United Ichihara Chiba B
JEF United Ichihara Chiba B plays in the Japan Football League, the current third tier of Japanese football.
Record as J. League member
- Tms. = Number of teams
- Pos. = Position in league
- Attendance/G = Average league attendance
Furukawa Electric FC
- Japan Soccer League: (2) Japan Soccer League 1976, Japan Soccer League 1985
- JSL Cup: (3) 1977 JSL Cup, 1982 JSL Cup, 1986–87
- Emperor's Cup: (4) 1960, 1961, 1964 (shared), 1976
- Japanese Super Cup: (1) 1977
- Asian Club Championship: (1) 1987
- All Japan Works Football Championship: (3) 1959, 1961, 1962 (shared)
- All Japan Inter-City Football Championship: (4) 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964
JEF United Ichihara / JEF United Ichihara Chiba
- J. League Cup: (2) 2005, 2006
As of February 5, 2012.
2012 season transfers
- Tadahiro Akiba
- Takayuki Chano
- Atsuhiko Ejiri
- Shoji Jo
- Seiichiro Maki
- Yoshika Matsubara
- Michel Miyazawa
- Koki Mizuno
- Shigeyoshi Mochizuki
- Shinji Murai
- Eisuke Nakanishi
- Tomoyuki Sakai
- Yuji Sakakura
- Takayuki Suzuki
- Nobuhiro Takeda
- Eddy Bosnar
- Mark Milligan
- Choi Yong-Soo
- Marcelo Baron Polanczyk
- Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira
- Marcos Gomes de Araujo
- Sandro Cardoso dos Santos
- Edin Mujčin
- Ilian Stoyanov
- Ivan Hašek
- Pavel Řehák
- Pierre Littbarski
- Frank Ordenewitz
- Gabriel Popescu
- Nenad Maslovar
- Peter Bosz
- Rade Bogdanovic
- Ľubomír Moravčík
- Željko Milinovič
- Owusu Benson
- Wynton Rufer