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Vissel Kobe

Vissel Kobe is a football (soccer) club from Japan.

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About Vissel Kobe

is a Japanese professional football (soccer) club, currently playing in the J. League Division 1. The team is located in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture. The home stadium is Home's Stadium Kobe, in Hyōgo-ku, Kōbe, though some home matches are played at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Suma-ku, Kōbe.

History

The club was founded in 1966 as the semi-professional Kawasaki Steel Soccer Club in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. It was first promoted to the Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1986, and stayed there until the JSL's folding in 1992.

In 1994, the city of Kobe reached an agreement with Kawasaki Steel, the parent company, to move the club to Kobe and compete for a spot in the professional J. League as Vissel Kobe. Vissel is a combination of the words "victory" and "vessel", a nod to Kobe's history as a port city. (Owing to its importance to the city of Kobe, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, parent company of former team patron Kawasaki Steel, remains a Vissel Kobe sponsor.)

Vissel Kobe began play in 1995 in the Japan Football League, a league below J. League and the supermarket chain Daiei was slated to the club's primary investor. However, the economic downturn following Great Hanshin earthquake forced Daiei to pull out and the city of Kobe would be responsible for operating the club.

After finishing 2nd in JFL in 1996, Vissel was promoted to the J. League and began play in the top division of soccer in 1997. However, due to mismanagement, including the inability to secure investors and sponsors, Vissel has never been a contender for the league title. In December, 2003, mounting financial losses forced the club to file for bankruptcy protection.

In January, 2004, Vissel was sold to Crimson Group, parent company of online merchant Rakuten, whose president is Kobe native Hiroshi Mikitani. So far, Mikitani's attempts to strengthen the team have met little success. Vissel's first signing under the Mikitani regime, İlhan Mansız, who was acquired partly to capitalize on his popularity during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, was a massive failure - the Turkey Striker played just three matches before leaving the team because of a knee injury. Mikitani also alienated supporters by changing the team uniform colors from black and white stripes to crimson, after his Crimson Group and the color of his alma mater, Harvard Business School. (The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a Nippon Professional Baseball team also owned by Rakuten but based in Sendai, Miyagi, wear the same colors.)

Vissel finished 13th in the league in 2004, the same position as the previous year, and finished 18th and last place, resulting in automatic relegation from J. League Division 1, or J1, to J2. During the two-year span, Vissel has had five different head coaches. 2006 will be Vissel's first season in J2 after nine years in the top division of soccer in Japan. They finished 3rd in the 2006 season and are promoted to J1 after beating Avispa Fukuoka in the J. League Promotion/Relegation Series.

Record as J. League member

Key
- Tms. = Number of teams
- Pos. = Position in league
- Attendance/G = Average league attendance

Players





Out on loan



2012 Season Transfers


Notable Players


- Akihiro Endo
- Takashi Hirano
- Takuya Jinno
- Shoji Jo
- Keiji Kaimoto
- Ryuji Michiki
- Atsuhiro Miura
- Kazuyoshi Miura
- Tsuneyasu Miyamoto
- Shigeyoshi Mochizuki
- Masayuki Okano

- Choi Sung-Yong
- Ha Seok-Ju
- Kim Do-Hoon
- Kim Nam-Il

- Ziad Tlemcani

- Raphael Botti
- Emerson Thome
- Oséas Reis dos Santos
- Adilson Ferreira de Souza
- Roger Machado Marques
- Carlos Alberto Souza dos Santos

- Ivo Ulich
- Michael Laudrup
- Budimir Vujačić
- Lee Baxter
- Jan Jönsson
- Thomas Bickel
- İlhan Mansız
Div. 2): 1986-1991 (Kawasaki Steel Mizushima until 1987; Kawasaki Steel afterwards)
- Division 3 (Japan Football League (1992–1998) Div. 2): 1992-1993 (as Kawasaki Steel)
- Division 2 (Japan Football League (1992–1998)): 1994-1996 (Kawasaki Steel 1994; Vissel Kobe since 1995)
- Division 1 (J. League Division 1): 1997-2005
- Division 2 (J. League Division 2): 2006
- Division 1 (J. League Division 1): 2007-present

Total (as of 2011): 14 seasons in the top tier, 10 seasons in the second tier, 2 seasons in the third tier and 8 seasons in the Regional Leagues.

In popular culture

A fictional character named Kazuki Sorimachi in the popular Captain Tsubasa manga, becomes a professional soccer player and joins Vissel Kobe.




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