J League: Why have Kashima Antlers never been relegated to J2? original 10

J League

Kashima Antlers has won the Asian Champions League, the J1 League, the Emperor’s Cup, and even the Levain Cup, so it can be said that they are the team with the most titles in Japan and are a stable team. . But why is Kashima able to achieve such overwhelming results?


Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers is a professional soccer club whose hometowns are Ibaraki Prefecture, Kashima City, Kamisu City, Itako City, Namegata City, and Hokota City in Japan. It’s amazing that a team can win so many games even though their hometown is in a rural town. The team name “Antlers” means deer antlers, and other supporters often refer to Kashima as “deer.”

original 10

The Original 10 refers to the 10 teams at the start of the J League in 1993. The original 10 teams are Kashima, Yokohama Marinos, Yokohama Flugels, Shimizu, Nagoya, Urawa, Gamba Osaka, Ichihara, Verdy Kawasaki, and Hiroshima. Among them, Yokohama Marinos and Kashima Antlers have never been relegated to J2.

sumitomo metals

Kajima and Sumitomo Metals have a very deep relationship. The predecessor of Kashima was the Sumitomo Metal Soccer Club, which was founded in 1947. The club was promoted to the Japan Soccer League in 1973 and the JSL First Division in 1985. The team was then renamed the Kashima Antlers and decided to join the J League.

home stadium

Their home stadium is Ibaraki Prefectural Kashima Soccer Stadium. The stadium is relatively popular because the distance between the stands and the pitch is close and the stands have a large slope, but on the other hand, the Kashima area is very difficult to access, making it a little awkward for supporters. There are stadiums in places where things get heavy.

Why have Kashima Antlers never been relegated to J2?

Kashima Antlers often have seasons where they languish in the middle of J1. However, they have never been relegated to J2. Why is Kashima always stable even though the other original 10 are demoted one after another?

Thoroughly Brazilian route

Although Kashima sometimes acquires Korean players, the core of the team is always Brazilian players and often has a Brazilian manager. There was a time when Brazilian national team players such as Zico and Leonardo belonged to Kashima, but Kashima has always had Brazilians at its core. I have the impression that this thorough approach is paying off. Actually, Brazilian players are very good.

young people grow

Kashima has a tendency for the young players it has trained themselves to develop well and become a force to be reckoned with. Even if the main players move to Europe, players are always trained to replace them, so the strength of the team does not decline easily. As a result, their grades tend to be stable at the top, and they are unlikely to be demoted. This point is very good compared to other J clubs.


Kashima sometimes changes their formation temporarily, but their base formation is probably 4-4-2. This very well-balanced system has no flaws, and as you can see from the fact that it has been used by many teams for a long time, it has a sense of stability. In modern soccer, systems such as 4-5-1 and 3-6-1 that place emphasis on the midfield are increasing, but Kashima still mainly uses 4-4-2.

Many Japanese national team players

The reason Kashima Antlers are so strong is that they have a lot of Japanese national team players. In other words, the quality of Japanese players has been maintained at a high level. The presence of high-quality players such as Soma, Akita, Ogasawara, Yanagisawa, Uchida, and Shibasaki is also a contributing factor to the stable results.

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