Shimizu S-Pulse and Jubilo Iwata. These two clubs, which used to have a regular place in the top ranks of the J1 League, are now finding it increasingly difficult to stay in J1, and there are now more opportunities for them to compete in J2. Shizuoka Prefecture was once said to have the highest level of soccer in Japan, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Soccer Kingdom Shizuoka
Shizuoka is the first prefecture that comes up as a prefecture where soccer is popular. The reason for this is not only the high level of high school soccer, but also the fact that all the famous soccer players were produced from Shizuoka Prefecture. From the 1998 France Games to 2018, 90 players represented the World Cup, of which 16 were from Shizuoka Prefecture, the largest number. The fact that it has produced so many legends of the Japanese national team is also a big reason why it is called the soccer kingdom. It used to be said that Shizuoka was the place to go to watch sports battles, but now that’s a thing of the past. The results have been poor, the Shizuoka club’s popularity ranking has fallen, and the number of supporters has decreased.
Soccer for kids and adults
Since Shizuoka Prefecture does not have a baseball team, soccer culture has been strongly prevalent in Shizuoka Prefecture for a long time. In 1991, Shimizu S-Pulse was born, and teams such as Shimizu Higashi High School and Shimizu Commercial have been dominant in the high school championships, and the Shizuoka Prefecture representative won the National High School Soccer Championship 10 times from 1960 to 1995. Soccer has become the number one pastime for everyone from children to seniors. There is a lot of media exposure, and soccer news such as the Shizuoka Derby is frequently reported in the news information.
2 J teams
In addition to Shimizu S-Pulse, Jubilo Iwata joined the J.League, creating two teams in Shizuoka Prefecture. In 1999, a championship was held between Iwata and Shimizu, and as a citizen of Shizuoka Prefecture, I was able to watch the high-level professional soccer teams compete up close. During this period, there were also fierce battles between Iwata and Kashima. At this time, Kashima and Iwata could truly be called the top clubs in Japan. It was a time when winning was a given when you stepped on the pitch, and even if you were losing in the first half, you were sure to come back in the second half.
The decline of Shizuoka prefecture
However, in the 2010s, signs of decline can be seen in this history. At the 2022 FIFA World Cup, only two of the players on the Japanese national team will be from Shizuoka Prefecture. In the high school soccer championship, teams from Chiba Prefecture were dominant, and teams from Shizuoka Prefecture gradually became unable to win. In the 2020s, it has become difficult for the two J club teams to even be in J1. We may be living in a time where we can feel a change in the times. It’s painful for fans to have to watch S-Pulse and Jubilo compete for automatic promotion.
History of Shimizu S-Pulse
Now, let’s look back on the history of Shimizu S-Pulse. Shimizu S-Pulse is a professional soccer club based in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Shimizu is one of the original 10 and joined the J League in 1993. The home ground is IAI Stadium Nihondaira. In the 1990s, they were a very strong and top-level team, but since the 2010s, they have gradually started to show signs of fighting that hint at the possibility of being relegated to J2, and have experienced relegation many times. .
Shimizu joined the J-League in 1993 and won the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup runner-up.After that, they were in a slump, unable to win the league, but finally won the second stage in 1999. However, during the same period, Jubilo Iwata was a strong team. They lost to a strong club from the same Shizuoka prefecture, and were unable to win the league championship, which was their long-awaited goal. However, in 2000, they won the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup and won the coveted international title.
In 2002, they also won the Emperor’s Cup. They also won the Xerox Super Cup and selected four players, Ichikawa, Alex, Toda, and Morioka, to represent them at the World Cup, giving the impression that they were a strong team. However, in subsequent seasons, although they finished runner-up in the Emperor’s Cup in 2005, they gradually fell down in the league rankings, finishing in 4th place in 2006 and 2007.
Shimizu began to show signs of decline around the 2010s, and finally suffered relegation to J2 in 2015. They finished last in the 1st stage, did poorly in the 2nd stage, and were demoted. However, the following year, in 2016, the team rallied and took second place and decided to return to J1 after one year. However, although he decided to return to J1, Shimizu did not have the power he had before, and more and more seasons he languished in the bottom half.
2022 was another tough season for Shimizu, who had reserved seats in the lower ranks, finishing in 17th place and being demoted to J2 for the first time in seven years. Especially in the past few years, the number of goals conceded has been remarkable, often being the worst among J1 clubs, and the total number of points scored has not been that high, so demotion was inevitable. The 2023 season will be a battle in J2.
History of Jubilo Iwata
Jubilo Iwata is a professional soccer club based in Shizuoka Prefecture, Omaezaki City, and Kikugawa, Japan. Its predecessor was the Yamaha Motor Soccer Club in 1972. This club has very strong ties with Yamaha. It became a J. League associate member in 1993 and a full member in 1994. Speaking of Jubilo Iwata, there was a fierce battle for the top spot with Kashima Antlers at the end of the 1990s, and it was said to be the era of the top two teams. However, from around the 2010s, the club began to show signs of decline, and eventually became a club that was demoted to J2 many times.
In 1997, Iwata won the stage and was able to achieve their first league victory after a fierce championship battle with Kashima. This battle continued the following year in 1998, with Kashima becoming the champion this time. In 1999, the championship was held between the same Shizuoka teams, and Iwata returned as champion. As you can see, Iwata at this time was truly one of Japan’s top clubs, and its players included players who represented Japan, such as Nanami, Takahara, Nakayama, Hattori, Fukunishi, Oiwa, and Fujita. In 2002, Iwata won both the first and second seasons, achieving a complete victory. Iwata alone had seven players selected as the best eleven. It is safe to say that this is Iwata’s peak.
In 2003, Xerox also won the Emperor’s Cup, but from around this time onwards, with the rise of Urawa and Yokohama, it became increasingly difficult to win the title. Around 2005, Gamba Osaka started to emerge, and it became difficult for Iwata to win the championship. As the years passed, my ranking continued to decline, and in 2008, I was unexpectedly forced to participate in the J1J2 replacement competition. Although they managed to remain in the company, the trend of decline was clearly visible.
By the 2010s, Iwata had been showing signs of decline and had fallen to the bottom of the rankings, unable to maintain sufficient military strength. Then, in 2013, they were finally humiliated and demoted. In 2014, he was unable to return to J1 for one year, and finally decided to return to J1 in 2015. However, they could not see Iwata like before, and with the reinforcement costs not satisfactory, they were unable to advance to the top.
In 2020, the team finished 17th or lower in the annual standings, and was demoted to J2 again. However, after that, he could not be re-promoted within a year, proving that he no longer had the strength he had before. They placed 6th in 2020 and were finally re-promoted in 2021. However, in 2022, they no longer have the strength to compete in J1, and after just one year, they have been relegated to J2.
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