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Shonan Bellmare

Shonan Bellmare is a football (soccer) club from Japan.

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About Shonan Bellmare

are a Japanese professional football (soccer) club, currently playing in the J. League Division 2. The team is located in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, in the west of Kanagawa Prefecture; their home stadium is Hiratsuka Athletics Stadium in Hiratsuka. The name Bellmare is derived from the Latin language "bellum" for "war" and "mare" for "sea". Shonan refers to a coastal area that includes Hiratsuka.


Early years as corporate team

The club was founded in 1968 as Towa Estate Development S.C. in Tochigi, Tochigi. They were promoted to the Japan Soccer League (JSL) Division 1 in 1972. They changed their name to Fujita Kogyo S.C. when Towa Estate Development gave up the ownership to their parent company Fujita Kogyo, which moved the club to Hiratsuka.

They won the JSL three times (including two Double (association football)s with the Emperor's Cup) between 1977 and 1981. They were nevertheless relegated to the JSL's Division 2 in 1990. Although they won the last JSL Division 2 season in 1991-92, the professionalization and formation of the J. League meant they did not meet the new top flight league's criteria and the runner-ups, Kashima Antlers (formerly Sumitomo), were promoted instead.

1993 (JFL)

In 1993, they adopted new name Shonan Bellmare. Their application to the J. League Associate membership was accepted. They played in the Japan Football League (former) Division 1 and won the league championship. After Hiratsuka City Council committed to finance the refurbishment of the Hiratsuka Stadium to meet the J. League requirements, J. League accepted the club.

1994 - 1997 (Golden era)

The club was forced to change their name to Bellmare Hiratsuka because J. League required the participants to designate only one city or town as their hometown and include its name in the club names at that time. The club initially struggled to cope with the J. League opponents and finished 11th out of 12 in the first stage of the 1994 season. However, they came back in the second stage and finished 2nd. With this momentum, the club won the 1994-1995 Emperor's Cup. This title qualified Bellmare for the 1996 Asian Cup Winners Cup, which they won by beating Iraq's Al Talaba in the final. Hidetoshi Nakata joined the team in 1995 and they also successfully recruited Brazilian-born Wagner Lopes and influential Korean international Hong Myung-Bo. This is arguably the most successful period of the club.

1998 - 1999 (Difficult period)

Four Bellmare players were selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. They were Nakata, Lopes, Hong and a goalkeeper Nobuyuki Kojima. However, as Nakata left for Italian club Perugia Calcio just after the World Cup, the club's fortune started to decline. The main sponsor Fujita decided to discontinue the financial support in 1999 due to their own financial difficulties. It forced the club to release some highly paid players including Lopes, Hong and Kojima. They finished bottom of J1 in 1999 and were relegated to J2.

2000 - 2009 (J2)

The club made a new start. The ownership was transferred to a community-owned organisation. They also changed their name to Shonan Bellmare as J. League allowed them to enlarge their designated hometowns to include several cities and towns surrounding Hiratsuka. The club's performance on the pitch has not been strong and they have not been serious contenders for the promotion to J1 so far.

A J1 comeback in 2010, if they are able to achieve promotion, will be the first without Fujita as their sponsor. Although for a time they refused to consider their history as the championship-winning Fujita corporate team in their current history, this year they celebrated the club's 40-year anniversary in 2009 as deduced from the badge in their Web site.

On December 5, 2009, Shonan returned to J1 as third place finishers in 2009 J. League.

2010 (Return to J1)

Shonan's return to J1 was a brief one as they struggled at the bottom of the table all season long. Their relegation back to J2 was confirmed with four games to go.

2011 (Once again relegation to J2)

Currently is playing in the J2.


Historically the Shonan area was part of a pre-modern province, Sagami Province, whereas Yokohama and Kawasaki were part of Musashi Province, hence Bellmare's intraprefectural rivalries with Yokohama F. Marinos, Yokohama F.C and Kawasaki Frontale are based on the hard-working port cities of South Musashi vs. the more laid-back attitude of Sagami.

Other historical rivals have been Cerezo Osaka, Urawa Red Diamonds and Júbilo Iwata.

Record as J. League member

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


Towa / Fujita

- All Japan Senior Football Championship: (1) 1971
- Japan Soccer League: (3) 1977, 1979, 1981
- JSL Cup: (1) 1973
- Emperor's Cup: (2) 1977, 1979

Bellmare Hiratsuka / Shonan Bellmare

- Emperor's Cup: (1) 1994
- Asian Cup Winners Cup: (1) Asian Cup Winners Cup 1996

League history

- Kanto Football League: 1970-71
- Division 1 (Japan Soccer League Div. 1): 1972-89 (1972-74 as Towa Real Estate Development; 1975-89 as Fujita Industries)
- Division 2 (Japan Soccer League Div. 2): 1990-91 (as Fujita Industries)
- Division 2 (Japan Football League (former) Div. 1): 1992-93 (as Fujita Industries)
- Division 1 (J. League Div. 1): 1994-99 (as Bellmare Hiratsuka)
- Division 2 (J. League Div. 2): 2000-09 (as Shonan Bellmare)
- Division 1 (J. League Div. 1): 2010
- Division 2 (J. League Div. 2): 2011-

Total (as of 2011): 25 seasons in the top tier, 15 seasons in the second tier and 2 seasons in the Regional Leagues.


Current players

As of July 17, 2010

Out on loan

Former players

- Stephen Laybutt
- Víctor Hugo Antelo
- Adiel de Oliveira Amorim
- Wagner Pereira Cardozo
- Reinaldo Vicente Simão
- Arley Dinas
- Hermán Gaviria
- Everth Palacios
- Hamilton Ricard
- Goran Rubil

- Abdul Naza Alhassan
- Michiaki Kakimoto
- Nobuyuki Kojima
- Wagner Lopes
- Yoshika Matsubara
- Teruyuki Moniwa
- Hidetoshi Nakata
- Akira Narahashi
- Hiroyuki Shirai
- Yasunori Takada

- Kazuaki Tasaka
- Satoshi Tsunami
- Hong Myung-Bo
- Kim Geun-Cheol
- Kim Yong-Gwi
- Daniel Sanabria
- Jorge Hirano
- Pavel Badea
- Vitaliy Parakhnevych

Worldcup players

1998 FIFA World Cup
- Hidetoshi Nakata
- Nobuyuki Kojima
- Wagner Lopes
- Hong Myung-Bo

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