Full name: Kashiwa Reysol
Nicknames: Reysol, Sun Kings
Founded: 1940 (as Hitachi Ltd. Soccer Club)
Home Ground: Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium
Manager/Coach: Nelsinho Baptista (Brazil)
League Champions: 1972, 2011
League Cup Winners: 1976, 1999
Emperor’s Cup Winners: 1972, 1975
Originally founded by Hitachi as a Western Tokyo-based club in 1940, the club eventually called the city of Kashiwa its home in 1986. Hitachi Ltd. SC had relative success in the mid ’70s of the JSL-era, which included a league and Emperor’s Cup double in 1972.
Adapting to the changes of the professional era in 1992 by removing the company branding and renaming themselves as Kashiwa Reysol, they had hoped to join the J. League at its inception, however their attempt was unsuccessful, eventually achieving promotion to the professional league via the now-dissolved Japan Football League in 1994.
The word Reysol is a combination of the Portuguese words Rei (meaning Sun) and Sol (King). Combined as Sun King, it refers to the club’s origins as Hitachi and has been considered a crude attempt at continuing to promote the company throughout the professional era. This has not, however, prevented fans from quickly warming to the name and the team’s mascot.
The club’s early J. League success came through smart signings of undeniable quality, such as Brazilian national team striker Careca, who arrived in Kashiwa straight from Napoli to guide them from the JFL to their professional beginnings, along with signing Akira Nihino as manager a few years later, who had guided the Japanese Olympic team to narrowly miss out on progressing from the group stage the year before, which included a famous 1-0 win over Brazil. The decisions they made in player recruitment saw early success, lifting an Emperor’s Cup in 1999 and being considered one of the serious forces moving into the 2000′s.
However, further managerial decisions were not as successful, as a shock sacking of Nishino, along with other brash decisions, saw Reysol spiral to struggle against relegation and eventually succumb to its draw in 2005. Kashiwa have yet to find their earlier success, however recent changes by current manager Nelsinho Baptista have helped to reshape the club, with many fans expecting a happier future.