Full Name: Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Nickname: Sanfrecce, Sanfre
Founded: 1938 (as Toyo Kogyo Syukyu Club)
Home Ground: Hiroshima Big Arch
Manager/Coach: Mihailo Petrović (Serbia)
J. League 1st Stage Champions: 1994
J. League Champions: 2006
J. League Runner-Up: 2004, 2005, 2007
J. League Cup Winners: 2003
J. League Cup Runner-Up: 2002, 2004
J. League Super Cup Winners: 2008
Emperor’s Cup Winners: 1965, 1967, 1969
Emperor’s Cup Runner-Up: 1954, 1957, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1987, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2007
Founded in 1938 as Toyo Kogyo Syukyu (Football) Club, Sanfrecce Hiroshima were one of the ten original clubs in the inaugural J. League season.
The club – owned originally by Toyo Kogyo (now known as Mazda) – were one of the dominant sides in the beginning of the now-defunct Japan Soccer League, winning the first title undefeated in 1965, along with the Emperor’s Cup in the same year. They won several more league and cup titles – albeit not as “Invincibles” – for the next five years, but have since rarely pushed for anymore accolades.
The current team name, Sanfrecce, is derived from the Japanese word ‘San’ (meaning three) and the Italian ‘Frecce’ (arrows). It comes from the tale of Mori Motonari, a Japanese lord in the 16th century who, when explaining the importance of teamwork to his three sons, showed that while one arrow can be easily snapped, three arrows together are unbreakable.
Their success in the J. League has been varied. Despite being the 1st Stage Champions in 1994, they have been relegated twice to play in Division 2 for a season each in 2003 and 2008. They also competed in and were champions of the 2008 Super Cup by right of finishing runners-up in the Emperor’s Cup to 2007 J. League Champions, Kashima Antlers.