Please note that the Japanese names in these posts are written in Japanese order, i.e. Family Name followed by Given Name

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Nadeshiko League Division 2 First Round

Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara  2 - 0  Japan Soccer College Ladies
(Attendance: 784)

Nojima Stella got their promotion campaign off to a solid start with a two-goal victory over a JSC side which offered little going forward. A first-half goal from Waseda University graduate Gonno Takako was added to in the second half by another Nojima debutante, Tanaka Yoko. Nojima next travel to play Ehime, with the JSC also playing away, this time in distant Fukuoka.

Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara:
Kobayashi Shiori, Ishida Minami, Sakamoto Juri, Hirano Yuka, Kobayashi Miharu, Kawashima Haruna, Yoshimi Natsuki, Tanaka Yoko, Oyama Saki (capt), Gonno Takako, Minamino Arisa
Subs: Kanai Nanae (Gonno Takako, 68 mins), Omiya Reona (Oyama Saki, 76 mins), Kudo Asami (Minamino Arisa, 86 mins)
Unused subs: Yoshida Ayaka, Setoguchi Nana, Goto Maika, Inoue Yurie
Scorers: Gonno Takako (35 mins), Tanaka Yoko (64 mins)

Japan Soccer College Ladies:
Kamimura Aya, Nomura Natsumi, Takahashi Sakura (capt), Kusakari Ayako, Sano Saki, Tsurumi Marina, Sasaki Shiori, Matsumoto Hotaru, Yamazaki Sayuri, Sakaguchi Yuki, Horie Mitsuki
Subs: Konno Hitomi (Matsumoto Hotaru, 68 mins), Saito Mami (Sakaguchi Yuki, 90+2 mins)
Unused subs: Kawashima Kana, Hamada Momoka, Yukita Rui


AS Harima Albion  1 - 1  Ehime FC Ladies
(Attendance: 227)

A goal at the death rescued a point for Ehime on Saturday evening, newcomer Sakurai Yuika scoring having come on as a second-half substitute. Harima had taken the lead through Murakawa Saki, who scored on three occasions last season. Ehime started with new young goalkeeper Miki Yoshimi and also Muramatsu Mafuyu from Kibi. Harima brought in Imai Haruka who had been with INAC Kobe and also used Fushiki Kaho from Belle up front. Harima are at home to Kibi next Sunday, with Ehime at home to Nojima a day earlier.

AS Harima Albion:
Kirihata Kotono, Kawai Honami, Fujimoto Madoka (capt), Nishiyama Emi, Sakai Nozomi, Okajima Eri, Kondo Akane, Imai Haruka, Chiba Sonoko, Fushiki Kaho, Murakawa Saki
Subs: Sato Rina (Okajima Eri, 32 mins)
Unused subs: Sugimoto Aoi, Minami Chiho, Saito Manami, Arihara Aoba
Scorers: Murakawa Saki (55 mins)

Ehime FC Ladies:
Miki Yoshimi, Kamata Ran, Nishimura Nozomi, Muramatsu Mafuyu, Iwamoto Yuka, Kariya Maiko, Yamashiro Miyuki, Akune Mana, Kawamura Akari, Nishigawa Sayumi (capt), Oya Ayumi
Subs: Sakurai Yuika (Kawamura Akari, 57 mins), Watai Shiori (Iwamoto Yuka, 60 mins), Ueno Mami (Kariya Maiko, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Osako Hanako, Ogawa Manami, Nomura Haruka, Nakachi Hinako
Scorers: Sakurai Yuika (90 mins)


Nittaidai SC Yokohama  1 - 0  Fukuoka J. Anclas
(Attendance: 331)

Although the final result was a slender victory for Nittaidai, they were in truth completely in control of this tie against a Fukuoka side which is likely to struggle. The only goal came through a fine shot from Ishii Chiharu. Nittaidai brought just one new player into the starting lineup today, Miura Momo in defence though Shimamura Yukiko later came on as a substitute. Fukuoka brought in debutantes Nariai Hitomi, Yatsugi Akane and Nishida Aira. Nittaidai are away to Ange Violet next week, Fukuoka host the JSC with whom they are likely to battle relegation.

Nittaidai SC Yokohama:
Inoue Nene, Matsunaga Saki, Miura Momo, Abe Rie, Yamakawa Natsuki, Sakurai Mayuka (capt), Kojima Wakiko, Enokidani Misaki, Ishii Chiharu, Hirata Hikari, Uemura Shoko
Subs: Uchida Misuzu (Enokidani Misaki, HT), Shimamura Yukiko (Ishii Chiharu, 69 mins)
Unused subs: Hiraide Haruka, Nagashima Hikari, Nozu Erika, Goto Ami, Maeda Risa
Scorers: Ishii Chiharu (18 mins)

Fukuoka J. Anclas:
Kishi Hoshimi, Ito Chisa, Hanada Aiko, Fujisawa Marin (capt), Yatsugi Akane, Fujimoto Yuki, Nariai Hitomi, Yanagita Shiori, Ukita Kotone, Doshita Misato, Nishida Aira
Subs: Kobayashi Natsumi (Yatsugi Akane, 58 mins), Fukui Shihori (Nishida Aira, 58 mins)
Unused subs: Ueda Erina, Komatsu Misato, Marugata Rie


AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies  4 - 0  Ange Violet Hiroshima
(Attendance: 1,561)

In their new stadium and in front of a record crowd, Nagano showed their promotion credentials with a comprehensive victory over Ange Violet. Last season's top scorer Yokoyama Kumi scored the league's first hat-trick and there was also a goal for Saito Akane, one of three Urawa players who joined Nagano recently and went straight into the starting lineup. Nagano make the trip to Tokyo to face Setagaya on Saturday, Ange Violet will hope to do better against the formidable Nittaidai.

AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies:
Ikegaya Natsumi, Tanaka Nami (capt), Yajima Yuki, Sakamoto Riho, Noguchi Miya, Hamagaki Kana, Tomari Shiho, Saito Akane, Makii Kasane, Kunisawa Shino, Yokoyama Kumi
Subs: Hashiura Satsuki (Hamagaki Kana, 56 mins), Uchiyama Tomoka (Tomari Shiho, 71 mins), Nakamura Megumi (Makii Kasane, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Hayashizaki Mei, Ichikawa Manayuki, Uchiyama Tomoyo, Wada Makoto
Scorers: Yokoyama Kumi (3, 40, 50 mins), Saito Akane (69 mins)

Ange Violet Hiroshima:
Kameda Megumi, Matsuda Ikumi, Saito Hitomi, Takeda Yuki (capt), Ichikawa Sonoka, Akamine Mizuki, Kuramoto Aya, Akagi Fumika, Katsurama Fumina, Saihara Mizuki, Mizuno Yuri
Subs: Miyake Ayumi (Kuramoto Aya, HT)
Unused subs: Shimizu Aki, Kinjo Nanae, Kawano Maaya, Yamaguchi Yurie


FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme  0 - 0  Sfida Setagaya FC
(Attendance: 639)

Despite largely dominating the tie, the home side were unable to breach the Setagaya defence and with young goalkeeper Ishino Himeka in good form, Setagaya went home with a point. A new look Kibi side included first year students Miyaji Asuka, Yoshida Nagisa, Goya Eriko and Ikejiri Mayu who settled in well, though the latter went off slightly injured after seventy minutes. For their part Setagaya started with Nittaidai graduate Ito Yukina, Kanto Gakuen graduate Nakamura Yushika and JEF United's Yamamoto Naomi and Hanagiri Naomias well as Hara Shiho. Kibi will hope for all three points against Harima next week, Setagaya are at home to the impressive Nagano.

FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme:
Fujita Suzuka, Miyaji Asuka, Kadota Rui, Yoshitake Manami, Nagano Momoko, Kanbara Misaki, Yoshida Nagisa, Komatsu Mina, Ikejiri Mayu, Goya Eriko, Noma Fumika (capt)
Subs: Hamamoto Marin (Ikejiri Mayu, 70 mins), Yoshida Mayu (Nagano Momoko, 76 mins), Takatsuka Ayane (Komatsu Mina, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Sakamoto Aoi, Sakai Misuzu, Mukai Satsuki, Sekiguchi Mayu

Sfida Setagaya FC:
Ishino Himeka, Fukuhara Nao (capt), Tanaka Mariko, Hara Shiho, Ito Yukina, Yamamoto Naomi, Mori Hitomi, Nakamura Yushika, Hanagiri Naomi, Sunoki Yurie, Nagasaki Akane
Subs: Tomiyama Hitomi (Hanagiri Naomi, HT), Tanaka Marina (Nagasaki Akane, 57 mins), Nagata Maya (Yamamoto Naomi, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Machi Tamaki

Nadeshiko League Division 1 First Round

JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies  1 - 1  Vegalta Sendai Ladies
(Attendance: 827)

JEF United, who included Tokiwagi Gakuen graduate Nishikawa Ayaka in their opening day starting lineup, took the lead against their guests from Sendai with a goal from last year's top scorer Sugasawa Yuika. Vegalta Sendai started with three new players, goalkeeper Takenaka Rei from INAC Kobe and from Belle the experienced pairing of Nakano Manami and Arimachi Saori. In a very even game it was former JEF player Kawamura Yuri who equalised for the visitors and both sides will be reasonably satisfied with a point.

Both sides are at home next weekend, JEF United hosting Kanto rivals Urawa and Vegalta play Niigata in the Yurtec Stadium.

JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Chino Shoko, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Nishikawa Ayaka, Wakabayashi Minori, Hosaka Nodoka, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Yanai Rina (Setoguchi Kozue, 70 mins), Anzai Yuka (Ikadai Risa, 80 mins), Ueno Saki (Hosaka Nodoka, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Nemoto Mio, Tsurumi Ayaka, Shimada Ayako, Kamogawa Miho
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (45 mins)

Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Takenaka Rei, Sakai Yuki, Yamamoto Risa, Takahashi Nana, Takara Ryoko, Kakazu Asuka (capt), Kawamura Yuri, Sasaki Mayu, Nakano Manami, Hamada Haruka, Arimachi Saori
Subs: Giovania (Hamada Haruka, 63 mins), Inoue Ayaka (Arimachi Saori, 87 mins), Tahara Nozomi (Nakano Manami, 90+1 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Irie Miki
Scorers: Kawamura Yuri (69 mins)


Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies  2 - 3  INAC Kobe Leonessa
(Attendance: 3,878)

Just as on the opening weekend of last season, late goals resulted in a 3-2 victory for the away side. Last year's MVP Goto Michi gave Urawa the lead after thirty-four minutes. Naomoto took the ball down the left, crossed to the far post for Shibata and her cross back into the middle saw Goto score with a diving header.

INAC Kobe got back into the game with a crucial equaliser just before half-time, when Kyokawa Mai easily beat Wada Naoko for pace and her cross to the far post was put away by Takase Megumi. Kyokawa had a goal for herself with twenty minutes remaining to give the visitors the lead when she half-volleyed home a delightful pass from veteran newcomer Ito Kanako.

Sawa Homare scored the decisive goal just as time ran out, heading in a corner kick, though there was time for another goal at the other end, new defensive recruit Osafune Kana also heading in a corner kick.

INAC Kobe host Belle next Sunday in another real test for both sides. Urawa are in action a day earlier, away to JEF United.

Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Norimatsu Ruka, Osafune Kana, Kohata Shiho, Wada Naoko, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Shiraki Akari, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Seike Kiko (Kato Chika, 70 mins), Kira Chinatsu (Wada Naoko, 79 mins), Usui Rie (Kishikawa Natsuki, 79 mins)
Unused subs: Hirao Chika, Suzuki Rina, Nagano Fuka, Fujita Nozomi
Scorers: Goto Michi (34 mins), Osafune Kana (90+1 mins)
Booked: Goto Michi

INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Kinga Yukari, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Sameshima Aya, Kawasumi Nahomi, Ito Kanako, Sawa Homare, Kyokawa Mai, Takase Megumi, Ohno Shinobu (capt)
Subs: Masuya Rika (Kyokawa Mai, 70 mins), Nakajima Emi (Ohno Shinobu, 80 mins), Minamiyama Chiaki (Takase Megumi, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Shibusawa Anna, Saito Natsumi, Ito Miki
Scorers: Takase Megumi (44 mins), Kyokawa Mai (70 mins), Sawa Homare (90 mins)


Nippon TV Beleza  3 - 0  Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki
(Attendance: 887)

Beleza completely dominated newly-promoted Takatsuki and their three-goal victory saw them go top of the table after the first weekend. Uetsuji Yumi is well known for her expertise at set-pieces and her first goal for her new club came from a direct free kick. Tanaka Mina had a variable season last year but showed good form in the cup final. Today she scored two second-half goals to seal the win and set Beleza up for their visit to Saitama next weekend. Takatsuki are at home to Iga and will be desperate not to fall six points behind potential relegation rivals.

Nippon TV Beleza:
Yamashita Ayaka, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Muramatsu Tomoko, Ariyoshi Saori, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Hara Natsuko, Uetsuji Yumi, Hasegawa Yui, Kiryu Nanase, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Momiki Yuka (Hasegawa Yui, 59 mins), Sumida Rin (Uetsuji Yumi, 76 mins), Nakasato Yu (Kiryu Nanase, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Doko Mayo, Kinoshita Shiori, Shimada Chiaki
Scorers: Uetsuji Yumi (30 mins), Tanaka Mina (48, 59 mins)

Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki:
Ono Maya, Tsuboi Ayako, Sato Kaede, Akiba Yumeko, Takeda Arisa, Takahashi Saki, Enya Mari, Torao Naomi (capt), Narumiya Yui, Maruyama Karina, Hazuki Yuki
Subs: Saito Toshiko (Enya Mari, 64 mins), Yoshimura Midori (Hazuki Yuki, 68 mins), Hirano Satoko (Maruyama Karina, 89 mins)
Unused subs: Yamamoto Maho, Kitagawa Wakana


Albirex Niigata Ladies  0 - 1  Iga FC Kunoichi
(Attendance: 1,426)

Iga struggled unexpectedly last season, so this away win over Niigata, who finished third in 2014, will have been a big boost to their confidence. Hatanaka Miyuka started for Iga for the first time since her move from Takatsuki, while neither of the Kunoichi's American players are yet available. Suzuki Kaoruko, another newcomer from Saitama, scored an early goal which ultimately was enough for Iga who withstood a Niigata onslaught in the second half.

Iga are at home next to Takatsuki and will be confident of another three points; Niigata need to reassert themselves away to Vegalta Sendai.

Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Ichitani Tomoko, Takamura Chisato, Nakamura Kaede, Yamamoto Arina, Obara Yuria, Saito Yuri, Takahashi Haruka, Sakaguchi Moeno, Kamionobe Megumi (capt), Saeki Aya, Yamazaki Marumi
Subs: Watanabe Ayaka (Saeki Aya, 61 mins), Oishi Sayaka (Yamazaki Marumi, 61 mins), Kubota Mayu (Takahashi Haruka, 77 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Sayama Momoko, Kojima Miku, Kodama Keiko

Iga FC Kunoichi:
Kuno Fubuki, Miyasako Tamami, Ohashi Mio, Hatanaka Miyuka, Shimojo Aya, Suzuki Kaoruko, Nasu Maiko (capt), Matsunaga Tomoe, Sugita Ami, Haji Madoka, Ogawa Shiho
Subs: Matsunaga Yoshie (Matsunaga Tomoe, HT), Sonomura Nana (Suzuki Kaoruko, 63 mins)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Noichi Aya, Michikura Hiroko
Scorers: Suzuki Kaoruko (8 mins)


Okayama Yunogo Belle  1 - 0  AS Elfen Saitama
(Attendance: 1,532)

In front of a disapponting number of spectators, one goal for the home side was enough to see them past a poor Saitama side. New recruit Takano Saki was the only Saitama player to register a shot at goal. Matsuoka Miki was once again Belle's goalscorer. A good pass into the box from Nakajima Chihiro found Miyama Aya, and she did well to hold up the ball for Matsuoka to finish smartly. Nakajima was one of three new players to start for Belle today, the other two being Kobayashi Makiko and Kishino Sana.

Belle's title potential will be revealed when they visit Kobe next Sunday, while Saitama hope for much better against another title contender, Nippon TV Beleza.

Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Kado Yuka, Takahashi Sachie, Nakajima Chihiro, Mizushima Kumi, Kuzuma Riyo, Asano Miki, Miyama Aya, Kobayashi Makiko, Matsuoka Miki, Kishino Sana
Unused subs: Mita Isayo, Taniguchi Kikumi, Takahashi Chiho, Kawano Saki, Hashimoto Shoko, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Matsuoka Miki (17 mins)
Booked: Mizushima Kumi

AS Elfen Saitama:
Funada Mayu, Akitaya Misato, Matsuoka Sayuri, Nara Misaki, Sakurabayashi Ayako, Otani Erina, Takano Saki, Takahashi Saori, Azami Rie (capt), Sarah Gregorius, Takahashi Kaho
Subs: Kitano Rie (Takahashi Kaho, 50 mins)
Unused subs: Sakuragi Ayana, Onuma Miho, Segi Aiki, Shimokawa Saori

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Liga Student Results (Tohoku - March 21st)

Final Rankings Play-offs

First Round Matches - Upper Section

Match 1:
Seiwa Gakuen High School  2 - 0  Tomioka High School

Match 2:
Sendai University  1 - 1  Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
Sendai University win 4-3 on penalties


Second Round Matches - Upper Section

Match 3:
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School  1 - 0  Seiwa Gakuen High School

Match 4:
Sendai University  2 - 0  Meisei High School


Third-Place Playoff Match
Match 5:
Seiwa Gakuen High School  1 - 0  Meisei High School


Championship Match
Match 6:
Sendai University  4 - 2  Tokiwagi Gakuen High School



First Round Match - Lower Section 

Match 1:
Yamagata Johoku High School  2 - 2  Haguro High School
Yamagata Johoku High School win 5-4 on penalties


Second Round Matches - Lower Section

Match 2:
Meioh High School - Yamagata Nishi High School
This match was not played and Meioh High School was awarded the win

Match 3:
Tsuruoka Higashi High School  0 - 2  Senshu University Kitakami High School
On the Liga Student website this result is given in favour of  Tsuruoka Higashi High School, but Senshu University Kitakami High School were the team which advanced

Match 4:
Yamagata University / Tohoku University of Community Service and Science  1 - 3  Mizusawa High School

Match 5:
Tohoku High School  10 - 0  Yamagata Johoku High School


Third Round Matches - Lower Section

Match 6:
Meioh High School  2 - 0  Senshu University Kitakami High School

Match 7:
Mizusawa High School - Tohoku High School

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

2014 Spectator Survey

On January 19th the Nadeshiko League's spectator survey for 2014 (なでしこリーグ スタジアム観戦者調査2014サマリーレポート) was published, with a correction made in a later release (March 6th).

The spectators at ten matches, one home match for each team, were approached. The surveys completed by those who were not supporters of the home side were discarded. All respondents were over twelve years of age.

The table below lists the ten matches, noting the home team, away team, the total attendance at the match, the number of those surveyed and the total number of surveys analysed.


Home Away Attendance Interviewees No. Analysed
Vegalta Beleza 2860 291 266
Urawa JEF 1774 145 123
JEF Niigata 978 165 118
Beleza Urawa 2463 278 157
Niigata INAC 1209 194 153
Iga Beleza 580 148 123
Saitama INAC 1887 248 131
INAC JEF 2909 288 255
Belle Urawa 2348 283 262
Kibi Beleza 590 187 118


The total number surveyed was therefore 1,706.
The figures used here for the men's J-League come from the corresponding survey from 2014. However, the Nadeshiko League's survey uses figures from the J-League's 2013 season. In the tables and graphs below the 2014 figures have been used.

The figures for the J-League are as follows:
For the Male/Female ratio question: 15,079
The number of respondents for the "With whom did you watch the match?" question was 14,987.


Ratio of Male to Female Spectators at Nadeshiko League games



The proportion of female spectators is again disappointingly low at 28.3%, slightly down from 2013 and some way below the 2012 figure of 35.7% (1,321 respondents at five games).

In terms of women spectators, Okayama Yunogo Belle led the way as they did in 2013, with a figure of 41.7%, the only percentage higher than the J-League average.


The Male/Female ratios for those clubs which have both
J-League and Nadeshiko League teams



The proportion of female spectators at the home matches of teams associated with J-League teams is once again noticably poor, though Urawa Red Diamonds' figures have shown a slight improvement. The biggest drop by far is that of Albirex Niigata Ladies: from a figure of 28% in 2013, their percentage of female spectators dropped to 17.8%. JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies did best in this regard, jumping from 22.7% in 2013 to 29.9% in 2014. Tokyo Verdy/Nippon TV Beleza were again the only team with a higher percentage of female supporters at their women's games. As was mentioned last year, this is most probably due to Tokyo Verdy having a lower than average number of women supporters.Furthermore, over the years Beleza has largely become less identified with its parent club.


"With whom are you watching the match?"
- multiple responses were possible


The data for the table above is presented below:

FamilyFriendsBy OneselfOther
Iga FC Kunoichi44.5%14.3%37.8%7.6%
Okayama Yunogo Belle53.9%20.5%26%1.2%
FC Kibikokusaidaigaku Charme50%25%24.1%2.6%
INAC Kobe Leonessa36.1%21.2%42.7%2.7%
AS Elfen Saitama39.5%19.4%38.7%2.4%
Albirex Niigata Ladies36.2%18.8%44.3%1.3%
Nippon TV Beleza30.5%33.1%35.1%3.2%
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies33.1%20.3%47.5%3.4%
Vegalta Sendai Ladies40.5%19.8%39.7%1.2%
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies21.3%34.3%42.6%3.3%
J-League average52.9%34.1%16.4%3%
Nadeshiko League average39.5%22.3%37.5%2.6%


As can be readily seen above, the proportion of people who watch Nadeshiko League games by themselves is more than twice that of J-League games.

At Iga, the number of people who watched the games in family groups dropped from 60% to 44.5%, with a corresponding increase from 30% to 37.8% of those who watch alone.

Kibi's figures for groups of friends and families both saw a good increase, while for INAC Kobe the numbers were reversed: they saw an increase in the number of spectators who went alone, from 29.5% to 42.7%. Their Family percentage dropped from 45.2% to 36.1%. Urawa saw the biggest increase in groups of friends, with a corresponding drop in the number attending by themselves (an increase of 10.3% in the former, a drop of 8.8% in the latter).


Factors in the composition of the support base

The location of each team naturally has a large influence on their supporters' demographic. For instance, in largely rural Okayama, Belle have the oldest supporters, with an average age of fifty-three. Belle's supporters are also the most likely to be unemployed (20.7%, league average 10.3%) and Kibi's supporters are also among the oldest (49.5 years of age, league average 47.6) and are the most likely to be married (74.3%, league average 60.7%). Belle (21.7%) and Kibi (24.3%) supporters are also those who have the least money for leisure activities.

These figures are largely reversed in Kanto. Urawa have the youngest supporters (43.8 years of age), followed by JEF United (45.4). Beleza and JEF United have the fewest unemployed supporters, and Beleza also have the most single supporters (52.7%) with Urawa second (50.4%). Urawa supporters have the most disposable income followed by those of Beleza.

Some teams have a far greater level of involvement with their local community than others, especially those in less developed areas.

62.5% of Belle's respondents said that they feel that the team makes a large contribution to Mimasaka City, with a further 32% feeling that they make some contribution. Kibi's figures are 50% and 40.2% respectively. Furthermore, 80.7% of Kibi's supporters said that they one reason were attending the game was because of this contribution to society. Vegalta Sendai were second with 78.3% and Belle were third with 74.6%. At the opposite end were Beleza with 35.1% and Urawa with 44.2%. The average was 63.2%.

In terms of the media and how supporters are informed about their team, local newspapers are still important for the smaller cities' teams - Vegalta Sendai (47.1%), Belle (46.3%), Niigata (44.2%) and Kibi (32.2%). The figures for the Kanto teams are much lower - 4.3% for JEF United, 4.7% for Saitama, 5% for Urawa and 8.3% for Beleza. Figures for local television coverage are similar to those for newspapers: 46% of Sendai supporters get information from local television, with figures of 32.8% for Belle, 25.2% for Niigata and 16.5% for Kibi. In Kanto, the percentages are 15% for Urawa, 12.2% for Beleza, 3.4% for JEF United and 2.3% for Saitama.

Sendai and Niigata are not particularly big cities, but they are the biggest in their geographic areas and have a more defined hometown feel to their teams; Urawa, Beleza, JEF United and Saitama are concentrated in a much smaller area in by far the most populous region of Japan. 94.2% of Niigata's supporters live in Niigata Prefecture, 90.7% of Sendai's supporters live within Miyagi. The Kanto teams have lower numbers: Saitama (78.1%). Urawa (62.4%), JEF United (73.2%), Beleza (57.6%). Iga have the lowest number with 55.9%.

Of the five J.League clubs, JEF United is the most active in trying to attract children to their games and to make them feel welcome. The players give the children presents, play janken with them, organise meet and greet sessions exclusively for the children and so on. This is reflected in the survey. The family groups surveyed at all ten matches were asked to indicate who among them wanted to attend the game most. The supporters of JEF United had the highest figure for children, at 31.4% (INAC Kobe were second with 23%, Saitama third with 19.6%). The four remaining J.League clubs were well behind - Vegalta 13.7%, Niigata 13.7%, Beleza 15.2% and Urawa 15.4%. Kibi were the lowest of all teams, with 5.4%. JEF United also had the highest percentage of supporters with children playing football themselves, at 52.8%, though there is no additional data to suggest whether the this is a factor in their attending.


At a typhoon-delayed game, all of the children in attendance were invited
to join the JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies team on the field

Of the five J.League clubs, it is only the fans of Beleza who have little interest in their men's team (24.1%), and indeed more of them support other J.League teams (36.2%). Interest in men's football is lower for the non-J.League clubs.

For how many years have you supported this club?



Vegalta Sendai took over from TEPCO Mareeze before the start of the 2012 season, hence the large proportion of supporters in their third year. The other J.League teams have the most long-term supporters, especially Urawa. The figures for Kibi also reflect their recent entry into the league and promotion in 2012, and Saitama saw a large number of newcomers last year, which was likely also prompted by their promotion back to the top division in 2013.

Belle and INAC saw an large increase in 2011 and 2012 with international success the likely driver, though the number of new supporters has dwindled and INAC's home attendances in particular have dropped each season since 2012.

The league organisers announced in November 2014 that they expect attendance figures of at least 1,000 at every game in the top division in 2015, with an overall average of at least 2,000. It is hoped that this figure is at least 3,000 after 2016. The higest average attendance in the league was 2,796 in 2011, with very high attendances after the World Cup in Germany, though they fell dramatically towards the end of the season.

An average of 2,000 in 2015 is therefore possible, with the World Cup in Canada to come this summer, though it will likely depend on some very high attendances to pull the average up. An average of 3,000 in any season seems ambitious.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Women's Football in Tohoku since 2011

The Past

In early March of 2011, Japan's national women's team travelled to Portugal for the Algarve Cup as part of their preparation for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, while an U-19 selection travelled to Russia for an international tournament. Both of these national teams featured players from the two teams affected by the tsunami on March 11th - TEPCO Mareeze and the JFA Academy Fukushima.

Due to the destruction of the Academy's facilities in the J-Village, the JFA's national training centre, they were forced to move to Gotenba in Shizuoka Prefecture. TEPCO were naturally in no position to continue to run a women's football team and Mareeze were disbanded, with the players who had worked in the nuclear power plant moving to other clubs around Japan and abroad.
The six prefectures of Tohoku and some of the locations relevant to this piece
Kesennuma City, March 12th, 2011
Kesennuma City, March 12th, 2011
The author's former home, March 12th, 2011
Kesennuma's Okawa River, April 14th, 2011
The start of the league season in Japan was delayed and attendances were down, but the unexpected victory for the Nadeshiko Japan side in July led to an enormous growth of interest in women's football, with a record crowd of 24,546 at Albirex Niigata Ladies' home game against INAC Kobe Leonessa on August 6th.

Later in the year J.League club Vegalta Sendai announced that they would take control of TEPCO Mareeze's operations, beginning a new life in the Challenge League, the Japan Women's Football League's second tier. The response from the public was overwhelming, with 6,532 attending their first home game in the Yurtec Stadium. Their opponents fittingly were the girls of local Tokiwagi Gakuen High School. In an unbeaten season, Vegalta Sendai Ladies won the Challenge League and were promoted into the Nadeshiko League. Meanwhile, the national team won silver at the Olympic Games in London.

Part of the display in the Japan Football Museum commemorating the national team's win
in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
Vegalta Sendai Ladies' Yamamoto Risa and Yasumoto Sawako
celebrate a goal against Ehime FC Ladies
July 22nd, 2012 in Matsushima
Sameshima Aya addresses the crowd before her first match for Vegalta Sendai Ladies
on September 16th, 2012


A crowd of 8,658 attended the match between Vegalta Sendai Ladies and AC Parceiro Nagano Ladies - a record attendance for a league game outside the top division
The Vegalta Sendai Ladies starting XI for their final match of the 2012 Challenge League season
Back, L-R: Osafune Kana, Kakazu Asuka, Ono Hitomi, Ideue Asako,
Sameshima Aya, Amano Misaki
Front, L-R: Takahashi Nana, Uetsuji Yumi, Nakamura Mami, Ito Minako, Shimokozuru Aya

All of these players had been members of TEPCO Mareeze prior to the disaster



The Present


Vegalta Sendai Ladies has established themselves in the Nadeshiko League and in 2014 created a new youth side. Both men's and women's teams organise and run football events for children throughout Miyagi. The JFA Academy Fukushima remains in Shizuoka, where it has been based since the destruction of the J-Village training centre in Fukushima. It is hoped that the centre can reopen in 2018. Outside of league football, there has been an increase in the number of youth teams, collegiate teams and also more schools have created clubs for girls.

The JFA Academy Fukushima starting XI for their match against Tokiwagi Gakuen High School
May 3rd, 2014 in Matsushima
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School (in green) host the Japan Soccer College Ladies on the new artificial pitch in Matsushima (October 5th, 2014)
Tohoku's leading collegiate side, Sendai University (in red) take on Seiwa Gakuen High School, three-time national schools' champions in the regional championship final (October 11th, 2014)


Support for the region has come from around Japan and indeed the world, as detailed below. Construction and recovery in the area continues daily.

In a boys' U-15 tournament in Tohoku, Miyagi (in green) take on Iwate. FC Bayern München and Adidas invited several teams from the affected region to Germany in 2014. FC Barcelona also invited local children to visit, and support has come from teams around the world

One of the most severely damaged cities was Rikuzentakata City in southeastern Iwate
The land in this city and in others is being raised quite significantly
Construction facilities in Rikuzentakata City, February 2015. This facility significantly reduces the amount of time needed to move earth and sand from one place to another
This lone pine tree was the only survivor among thousands of trees along the coastline.
Due to the nearby seawater it had to be uprooted, preserved and restored
A youth tournament is held in Rikuzentakata's redeveloped pitch
while construction continues around it
Sawa Homare was heavily involved in organising charity events such as the
Sawa and Friends X'mas Night 2012 match in Tokyo.
Sawa was also instrumental in the redevelopment of this pitch in Rikuzentakata
A signed jersey and letter of support from Cristiano Ronaldo in the Takata FC clubhouse
The World Cup trophy visited Rikuzentakata on April 12th, 2014, along with a selection of former players pictured here playing the local boys of Takata FC. Their coach died in the tsunami and they were one of the teams invited to Germany by FC Bayern München. There is no girls' team, and so two local girls have now joined Mizusawa United FC Princess further west


The Future
 
The recovery will take many years, and sport will be part of that recovery. It was announced on March 2nd that Kamaishi City will be one of the venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and a new stadium will be built. The Olympic Games will be hosted by Tokyo in 2020, and it is planned that Miyagi Stadium, will host some of the football games. Japan intends bidding for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, and again Miyagi Stadium would be expected to host some games.

The national team is now back in Portugal for the Algarve Cup, with the World Cup to come in a few months. Schools and universities will welcome a new intake in April and the football season will begin once again.
 
The number of women's teams (left y-axis, blue) and players (right y-axis, pink) registered with the JFA since 1979. After a few years with no growth the numbers have begun to increase since the World Cup win in 2011
Miyagi Stadium in Rifu, north of Sendai. Nadeshiko League and Challenge League matches are held here, as were matches in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. It is planned that this stadium will also host Olympic matches in 2020

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tokai League Promotion Play-Offs Second Round

Division Two Playoffs Second Round

Having finished second in the Tokai League promotion playoffs, Veertien Kuwana Ladies progressed to compete in a final playoff game against Kariya FC Project Sonia who were second-from-bottom in Tokai League Division Two.

Kariya FC Project Sonia  2 - 1  Veertien Kuwana Ladies

Kariya FC Project Sonia retain their place in Division Two for the 2015 season.