Full Name: Albirex Niigata
Nickname: The Swans, Albi, Swan Kings
Founded: 1955 (as Niigata 11 SC)
Home Ground: Niigata “Big Swan” Stadium
Manager/Coach: Hisashi Kurosaki (Japan)
League Champions: -
League Runner-Up: -
League Cup Winners: -
League Cup Runner-Up: -
League Super Cup Winners: -
Emperor’s Cup Winners: -
Emperor’s Cup Runner-Up: -
Unlike most teams of its time, Niigata Eleven Soccer Club was formed in 1955 as an amateur football club in the city of Niigata on Japan’s Western coast. Despite being some distance from other major cities and therefore garnering large local support as the city’s main sports team (Niigata did not have a baseball team at the time), its amateur status and small financial imprint prevented the club from seeing any form of success in forays into the Emperor’s Cup and other national and regional competitions.
- Albirex’s home ground – Big Swan Stadium
In the mid-90s, Niigata 11 reformed as Albireo Niigata, Albireo being the “head” star of the swan constellation, Cygnus. The team, now with backing from a consortium of various investors and companies, had gained considerable momentum and won the Hokushinetsu Regional League in its last two seasons before joining the now-defunct Japan Football League in 1998 and then the J. League’s Division Two (J2) in its inaugural 1999 season.
In 1997, Albireo Niigata went through its most recent name change, replacing reo with the Latin word Rex, meaning King, effectively being renamed as the “Swan Kings”.
Albirex became a very well-supported team during its time in J2, with its attendances after the first couple of seasons even rivaling those of the more established and successful teams in the top division.
The Albirex Niigata brand has evolved into a sports club rather than one solely for football and now contains departments for basketball, baseball, cheerleading and formula racing, to name a few. They also have an affiliate “Satellite” team (a form of reserve team) in Singapore’s S-League, called Abirex Niigata (S).