Kashima Antlers

Founded In
Kashima (Ibaraki), Japan

About Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers FC was founded in 1947 as Sumitomo Metals FC. The team took on its current name after the establishment of the J-League in 1993. 'Antlers' is a reference to the city of Kashima, the name of which translates to 'deer island'. The club are one of only four sides to be ever-present since the J-League's formation.

During Japan's amateur era, the team enjoyed only modest levels of success, winning the the JSL Division 2 title in 1984 and 1987 and lifting the Shakaijin Cup back in 1973. However, since the implementation of a fully professional league, Kashima Antlers have become the country's most successful club.

The team enjoyed their first major success by winning the J-League title in 1996, finishing three points ahead of their closest rivals, Nagoya Grampus Eight. Further league titles followed in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In addition, the club have achieved success in domestic cup competitions, winning the Emporer's Cup four times and the J-League Cup five times. The 2000 campaign brought about the side's greatest individual season, as they won the league and both cups in the same year, completing the treble. In the 2007 season, they won the league and Emporer's Cup, completing a domestic double. Kashima Antlers have also enjoyed success on the international stage, winning the 2003 edition of the A3 Champions Cup. In 2012, they beat Universidad de Chile to claim the Suruga Bank Championship. 

Brazilian legend Zico is widely regarded as the club's most notable former player. He would earn the nickname 'God of Soccer' while playing in Japan. Other former talents include Atsushi Yanagisawa, Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, Mazinho and Marquinhos.

Since 1993, the team have played their home matches at Kashima Soccer Stadium. The venue was expanded in 2001, hosted three matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is able to hold a maximum of 40,728 supporters.

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