Full Name: Kashima Antlers
Founded: 1947 (as Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd.)
Home Ground: Kashima Soccer Stadium
Manager/Coach: Oswaldo de Oliveira (Brazil)
League Champions: 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009
League Runner-Up: 1993, 1997
League Cup Winners: 1997, 2000, 2002, 2011
League Cup Runner-Up: 1987, 1999, 2003, 2006
League Super Cup Winners: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010
Emperor’s Cup Winners: 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010
Emperor’s Cup Runner-Up: 1993, 2002
- Kashima players celebrate winning the 2009 J. League title
Founded in 1947 as Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd., the Ibaraki-based club originated in Osaka and eventually relocated to the city of Kashima in 1975. The club were one of the original ten members of the first J. League season and, despite finding themselves moving between the first and second divisions during the Japan Soccer League era, Kashima Antlers have found themselves labeled as one of the most successful clubs in the J. League.
The club has based itself around several traditions, including the insistence of playing a 4-4-2 formation and having almost-exclusively signing Brazilians as their foreign quota.
As with most other J. League clubs at the time, their initial season featured several big names amongst their roster. One of those players was the former Brazil National Team attacking midfielder, Zico, who later went onto become the team’s technical adviser and considered by many as the father of the the club’s success. To this day, banners and flags of Zico are still displayed at Kashima games and a statue of Zico can be found outside the Kashima Soccer Stadium in his honour.