Fixtures

Japan J-League Cup 05/18 10:00 6 Shimizu S-Pulse vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima - View
Japan J-League 05/21 05:00 14 Shimizu S-Pulse vs Nagoya Grampus - View
Japan J-League 05/25 10:00 15 Shimizu S-Pulse vs FC Tokyo - View
Japan J-League 05/29 07:00 16 Kashiwa Reysol vs Shimizu S-Pulse - View
Japan J-League 06/18 09:00 17 Shimizu S-Pulse vs Avispa Fukuoka - View
Japan J-League 06/26 09:00 18 Cerezo Osaka vs Shimizu S-Pulse - View

Results

Japan J-League 05/14 05:00 13 [10] Kyoto Sanga FC v Shimizu S-Pulse [13] D 0-0
Japan J-League 05/07 05:00 12 [12] Shimizu S-Pulse v Kawasaki Frontale [2] L 0-2
Japan J-League 05/03 06:00 11 [17] Shonan Bellmare v Shimizu S-Pulse [16] W 1-4
Japan J-League 04/29 05:00 10 [16] Shimizu S-Pulse v Sanfrecce Hiroshima [8] D 2-2
Japan J-League Cup 04/23 05:00 5 [2] Shimizu S-Pulse v Nagoya Grampus [3] L 0-1
Japan J-League 04/17 06:00 9 [9] Sagan Tosu v Shimizu S-Pulse [16] D 0-0
Japan J-League Cup 04/13 10:00 4 [4] Tokushima Vortis v Shimizu S-Pulse [2] L 4-1
Japan J-League 04/10 04:00 8 [15] Shimizu S-Pulse v Gamba Osaka [9] D 1-1
Japan J-League 04/06 10:30 7 [7] Urawa Red Diamonds v Shimizu S-Pulse [16] D 1-1
Japan J-League 04/02 07:00 6 [3] Kashima Antlers v Shimizu S-Pulse [15] L 2-1
Japan J-League Cup 03/26 05:00 3 [1] Sanfrecce Hiroshima v Shimizu S-Pulse [2] W 1-2
Japan J-League 03/19 05:00 5 [14] Shimizu S-Pulse v Vissel Kobe [17] D 0-0

Stats

 TotalHomeAway
Matches played 48 23 25
Wins 13 6 7
Draws 15 7 8
Losses 20 10 10
Goals for 49 21 28
Goals against 69 30 39
Clean sheets 9 5 4
Failed to score 16 9 7

Wikipedia - Shimizu S-Pulse

Shimizu S-Pulse (清水エスパルス, Shimizu Esuparusu) is a professional Japanese football club. Located in Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, S-Pulse currently competes in the J1 League (J1). The club was formed in 1991 as a founding member of the J.League ("Original Ten"), which began the following year. The club originally consisted of players drawn exclusively from Shizuoka Prefecture; a unique distinction at the time.

Given the club's youth when compared to many of their J1 peers, S-Pulse have had a relatively large impact on Japanese football. Since the game turned professional in 1992, they are one of the most prolific and consistent performers in cup competitions, having made no less than ten final appearances: five times in the Emperor's Cup and five times in the League Cup. Only Japan's most successful professional team, Kashima Antlers, have made more final appearances. They have won both of these competitions once, and have also won the Japanese Super Cup twice and the Asian Cup Winners' Cup once. The club's most recent cup final was in the 2012 J.League Cup which ended in defeat to Kashima.

Despite the club's cup competition prowess, the J.League Division 1 title has so far eluded them. The closest S-Pulse came was in 1999 when, after winning the league's second stage, they lost out on the title in a penalty shootout. When scores remained level after both legs of the title deciding match, Júbilo Iwata, S-Pulse's local rivals, prevailed. Former S-Pulse and national team player Kenta Hasegawa, who made a substitute appearance in the second leg of this title decider, became club manager in 2005. He was the longest serving manager in the club's history, in office until 2010. He resigned at the end of the season after failing to win any competitions and was replaced by Afshin Ghotbi.

History

Shizuoka as a football prefecture

Headquarters are established in Shizuoka Prefecture called the football kingdom in Japan. As a prefecture, Shizuoka had historically been a strong footballing area of Japan; in particular being noted for its nationally successful high school teams and the numerous national team players which had emerged from the prefecture over the years. The prefectural police force of Shizuoka actually has an anthropomorphic football as a mascot. The west of the prefecture was already home to the company team of Yamaha Motor Corporation who played in the Japan Soccer League and who would later go on to form Júbilo Iwata, but it was believed there was room for another team for the football-hungry population. An earlier attempt had been made in the 1970s with the local club belonging to Nippon Light Metal Corp., which briefly competed in the JSL Division 2 under the name Hagoromo Club. With the advent of the professional league at the start of the 1990s, the concept of creating a team to both sign and represent the local footballing talent was fomented.

Club formation

Shimizu S-Pulse was formed in early 1991 as Shimizu FC from the backing of local businesses and people. This was a beginning which made them unique among the founding clubs of the J.League, with all others ex-company teams turned professional. Two months after formation, the club name was officially changed to Shimizu S-Pulse. S-Pulse is a combination of the S from Shizuoka, Shimizu, Supporter and Soccer, and Pulse from English to mean the spirit of all those who support the team.

On February 4, 1991 S-Pulse were approved by the J.League to compete in the newly formed professional league to start the following year. The club played its first ever game against Gamba Osaka on July 4, 1992, a date which is celebrated as the club's memorial birthday. The match took place at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka. The club's first competitive game was in the 1992 League Cup against Nagoya Grampus on September 5 at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium, and ended in a 3–2 defeat. Their competitive home début was held at Nihondaira Stadium shortly after on September 9 against Yokohama Marinos, which S-Pulse won 2–1. S-Pulse's first league game was played in May 1993 away to Yokohama Flügels at Mitsuzawa Stadium. Flügels won 3–2. The first home league game was a 2–1 victory against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on May 19 of the same year.

Professional football

After being approved for participation in the J.League S-Pulse competed in the inaugural 1992 J.League Cup and made it to their first final. However, the dream start ended with defeat at the hands of Verdy Kawasaki. In 1993, S-Pulse became one of the ten founder members of the new J.League, and finished third after the 1st and 2nd stages were combined. Their second venture into the J.League Cup was another near miss, again losing in the final to Verdy Kawasaki. Finally, in 1996 the team got their hands on the trophy and also gained revenge on Verdy, beating them 5–4 on penalties in the final.

The year 1999 was marked with S-Pulse's first appearance in the Japanese Super Cup, replacing Yokohama Flügels after their merger with Yokohama Marinos. However, S-Pulse lost the match 2–1. After performing well in both league stages, S-Pulse were up against local rivals Júbilo Iwata in the title decider, and after a 3–3 aggregate draw, lost the tie 4–2 on penalties. The new millennium brought better results for S-Pulse. Victory in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup in 2000 and victory in the final of the Emperor's Cup in 2001 meant that the S-Pulse trophy cabinet was beginning to fill up, and victories in the 2001 and 2002 Japanese Super Cups meant that the club had won four cups in three years.

In 2005, S-Pulse closed the year with a run to the Emperor's Cup final in which they did not concede a single goal. However, this changed in the final against Urawa Red Diamonds, which they lost 2–1. After a near-miss in the league, avoiding a relegation play-off by only goal difference, manager Kenta Hasegawa's work started to pay off the following year. In both 2006 and 2007 S-Pulse performed strongly in the league and finished in 4th place, followed by a fifth place standing in 2008. However, early exits in both cup competitions in 2006 and 2007, means they are currently without a trophy for five years. This is the longest barren spell in their history, although in 2008 they came close, being defeated in the final of the League Cup by Oita Trinita.

In 2011, S-Pulse made the "Signing of the Century" by making a move to complete the signing of Swedish and Arsenal F.C legend Freddie Ljungberg. It is considered by many Japanese to be one of the greatest signings in league history. Many also believed that the signing would boost football in baseball-fanatic Japan, however Ljungberg departed, and subsequently retired, after 5+12 months with the club. Later managements would turn out to be a catalyst for S-Pulse's luck to run out in the next seasons.

S-Pulse would play four more seasons in J1, until their first-tier stay was broken in the 2015 season. The club was in good standing early in the first stage until they collapsed later, falling into the bottom three. Home fans were disappointed at the way their club was playing. S-Pulse failed to improve in the second stage, being at the relegation positions. After 23 seasons in the top flight, they were relegated to J2 (and the second tier) for the first time in their history after a 1–0 home loss to Vegalta Sendai on October 17, 2015.

S-Pulse bounced back to top flight football immediately, securing promotion on the final day of the 2016 season, and have remained in J1 since.

Supporters

In common with other J.League teams, S-Pulse have a colourful and noisy collection of supporters who follow the team around the country. A supporter band is present at games home and away to help galvanise support and raise the decibel levels. The band models itself to a large degree after its Brazilian counterparts, and Latin rhythms and samba sounds predominate. For home games, S-Pulse's more vocal supporters gather in the second tier of The Kop; the stand behind the west goal at Nihondaira Stadium. Also in this area can be found S-Pulse's various organised supporter groups. These groups include fan clubs dedicated to specific players and are often identifiable by unique uniforms. These fan clubs work to organise events which include mass choreographed displays and the supporter band. Also housed in The Kop are S-Pulse's band of ultras, who each game take over a central area behind the goal which has been dubbed The Dragon Zone. Often physical, it is not uncommon for the area to descend into a mosh pit after important goals, and signs posted around the stand inform and caution general supporters of the area's lively nature. The club's official fan club has several branches around the country, and S-Pulse supporters are officially listed as the team's twelfth player.

Ownership

Although suzuyo, Inc. which is a local major company had become a parent company just at the present, since the Shimizu S-Pulse was born as a citizen club from the first, vulnerable time suited it in the past in terms of a fund. As well as originally gathering its playing staff almost exclusively from Shizuoka prefecture, local corporation S-Lap Communications ran and financed the club. This was a company funded in part from Shimuzu citizens, but in main by Shizuoka Television. After the J.League bubble burst in the late 1990s, Shizuoka Television withdrew backing, and in 1998 only a drastic restructuring kept the club afloat. Ownership of S-Pulse was reorganized between local companies under the leadership of Shimizu-based Suzuyo Corporation. It is now run under the company title of S-Pulse, Inc.

In culture

Despite their relatively short history, S-Pulse have had some impact on popular culture beyond football. Current manager and former player of some eight years and over 200 appearances, Kenta Hasegawa, makes occasional appearances in popular manga and anime series Chibi Maruko-chan. In the show a boy with his name and referred to as Kenta-kun is sometimes seen. He loves football and is a classmate of title character Chibi Maruko. The author of the manga, Momoko Sakura, created this character after Hasegawa. Sakura and Hasegawa attended the same primary school during the same period. Unique S-Pulse related Chibi Maruko goods are also produced. In another example, two fictional characters from the popular Captain Tsubasa manga, who, on becoming professional footballers, join S-Pulse.