Albirex Niigata

Founded In
1955 / 1996
Niigata, Japan

About Albirex Niigata

Albirex Niigata was initially founded as Niigata Eleven Soccer Club back in 1955 and the club adopted its current identity ahead of the 1996 season. As a result, the club's foundation date is sometimes given as 1996. The football team operates as part of a wider sports club, which competes in basketball, baseball and athletics. Albirex Niigata Singapore FC serve as the club's overseas satelite team, while a seperate affiliation also exists with Japan Soccer College.

Despite not joining the J-League until 1999, Albirex Niigata have quickly emerged as one of the country's most popular clubs, attracting huge crowds. In 2003, they set the highest average attendance in the country, despite the fact that they were still playing in the second tier at the time. By 2005, after reaching the top division, they became the first Japanese club to average over 40,000 supporters for their home games.

The team made its debut in the top flight of the J-League in 2004. Major success has largely been out of reach for the club thus far. In terms of minor achievements, Albirex Niigata were J-League Division 2 champions in 2003 and finished as runners up in the Shakaijin Cup in 1995. Their best performance in the top flight came in 2007, when they finished in 6th place.

A number of full Japanese international players have represented the club, with examples including Motohiro Yamaguchi, Gōtoku Sakai, Hisashi Kurosaki and Naoya Kikuchi. Notable foreign imports include Cho Young-Cheol, An Yong-Hak and Marcio Richardes.

Since 2001, the team have played the vast majority of their home games at Tohoku Electric Power Big Swan Stadium. The venue, which was formerly known as Niigata Stadium, hosted three matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. At present, it is able to hold a maximum of 42,300 spectators.

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