Full Name: Ventforet Kofu
Founded: 1965 (as Kofu Club)
Home Ground: Kose Sports Stadium
Manager/Coach: Toshiya Miura (Japan)
League Champions: -
League Cup Winners: -
Emperor’s Cup Winners: -
Super Cup Winners: -
AFC Champions League Winners: -
Founded in 1965 as a club for graduates of Kofu 1 High School and other surrounding schools, Kofu Club joined the Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1972 as an amateur club consisting of volunteers mostly employed by the team’s sponsors.
They continued to play in the Second Division until 1992, at which point the team joined the newly-formed (and now defunct) Japan Football League, a league designed as a gateway to Japan’s professional tier, the J. League. They took their first steps towards gaining J. League membership in 1995, rebranding itself as Ventforet Kofu, combining the french words Vent (wind) and Forêt (forest) and adapted from the motto of Takeda Shingen, a 16th Century warlord of feudal Japan. As a professional club, they were finally admitted to the J. League in 1999 as one of the founding members of the newly-created J. League Division 2 (J2).
Their beginnings in J2 were difficult, placing last in each of their first three seasons and amassing a total of just 18 wins out of 120 games in those years. However, the team removed the “punching bag” status by achieving promotion to J1 in 2005, finishing third and beating Kashiwa Reysol in the Promotion/Relegation Series, with an 8-3 aggregate scorline that included a league-record double hat-trick from Brazilian striker Bare.
Surviving 2006 in the top flight was relatively simple as, despite winning less than half of their games in the season, they were gifted a 15-point cushion from relegation due to the abysmal performances of the bottom three teams. Their fortunes weren’t as bright in the following year, as they finished 17th in the 18-team division and received automatic relegation.
Personnel changes ensued, both managerial and players alike, with the aim of returning to the top division and avoiding yet another relegation. Signs were positive, finishing in J2′s mid-table in 2008 and 4th in 2009, their use of loans and young players paid off in 2010, finding themselves promoted in second place and having the divisions top goalscorer, Mike Havenaar, who had only signed with the club that season.