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Kyushu League
Former Rosso Kumamoto defender Daisuke Ueno's goal four minutes into the second half gave New Wave Kitakyushu victory in their crucial clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Volca Kagoshima in the Kyushu League on Sunday. Aiming for a top two finish and with four matches remaining, New Wave still have Nippon Steel Oita in their sights in spite of the latter's 1-0 win at Kaiho Bank SC - and just as importantly, NW still have a game in hand with which to overhaul the two-point gap between the teams. V Varen Nagasaki look certainties to take the championship itself, following their 3-2 defeat of Okinawa Kariyushi. But there was important action, too, at the bottom of the division, where Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki dealt a hammer blow to Nanakuma Tombies' hopes of staying up with a 5-0 win, which enables Mitsubishi themselves to move above Osumi NIFS United and further towards safety.

16 Jul 06 - New Wave Kitakyushu celebrate their goal against Volca Kagoshima

New Wave Kitakyushu celebrate their goal against Volca Kagoshima

Sun 16 Jul: Kaiho Bank SC 0-1 Nippon Steel Oita
Sun 16 Jul: Nanakuma Tombies 0-5 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki
Sun 16 Jul: New Wave Kitakyushu 1-0 Volca Kagoshima
Sun 16 Jul: Okinawa Kariyushi 2-3 V Varen Nagasaki

1 V Varen Nagasaki 34 (+24)
2 Nippon Steel Oita 31 (+25)
3 New Wave Kitakyushu 29 (+17)
4 Volca Kagoshima 27 (+17)
5 Okinawa Kariyushi 21 (+4)
6 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 9 (-11)
7 Osumi NIFS United 8 (-17)
8 Nanakuma Tombies 5 (-37)
9 Kaiho Bank SC 4 (-22)
Kansai League Division 1 - Round 14
The 2006 Kansai League Division 1 season drew to a close on Sunday, with reigning champions Banditonce Kobe confirming the fact that they have retained their title as without doubt the strongest team outside of the J-League and the JFL in the Kansai area. Their 4-1 win over Kobe FC 1970 meant they finish six points ahead of their nearest challengers, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu, who ended what for them has also been a highly successful year with a 2-2 draw against Ain Food. The big battle to avoid relegation was fought out between Kyoto Shiko Club and AS Laranja Kyoto, an emphatic 4-0 win for Laranja ensuring that the 2004 league winners stay up, whilst condemning their cross-city rivals to return immediately to Division 2. Joining Shiko in the second tier will be Takada FC, who wound up the year on something of a low as they suffered a remarkable 9-3 thrashing from Sanyo Electric Sumoto.

16 Jul 06 - Banditonce Kobe celebrate the Kansai League title with some chic new merchandise

Banditonce Kobe celebrate taking the Kansai League title with some chic new merchandise

Sun 16 Jul: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 2-2 Ain Food
Sun 16 Jul: Kobe FC 1970 1-4 Banditonce Kobe
Sun 16 Jul: Kyoto Shiko Club 0-4 AS Laranja Kyoto
Sun 16 Jul: Sanyo Electric Sumoto 9-3 Takada FC

1 Banditonce Kobe 35 (+26)
2 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 29 (+17)
3 Kobe FC 1970 22 (-5)
4 Sanyo Electric Sumoto 19 (+4)
5 Ain Food 17 (-1)
6 AS Laranja Kyoto 16 (-6)
7 Kyoto Shiko Club 12 (-10)
8 Takada FC 11 (-25)
JFL - Round 19 (Sunday)
A dramatic late goal from Isao Kubota gave Tochigi SC a crucial 3-2 win against SC Tottori in perhaps the most significant of the three JFL fixtures to be played on Sunday, meaning that Tochigi cut the gap between themselves and Yokogawa Musashino in fourth place to a single point and therefore stay in touch with the leading group of teams. It was hard luck on Tottori, who when pulling the game back to 2-2 on the 86th minute must have expected a point - whereas YKK AP must in the end be thrilled with a draw in their game against FC Kariya, for whom Takeshi Kobayashi had made it 2-0 with just four minutes remaining. But the former league leaders YKK fought back and amazingly scored twice in the last couple of minutes to send Kariya back to Aichi no doubt just a touch disappointed. The third game of the day was the company derby match between Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo and Sagawa Kyubin Osaka, with goal machine Tetsuya Okubo's 63rd-minute strike giving the win to Tokyo and preventing their rivals from down country going back above Rosso Kumamoto in second place.

16 Jul 06 - A somewhat misty view of the Sagawa Kyubin derby

A somewhat misty view of the Sagawa Kyubin derby

Sun 16 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 1-0 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka
Sun 16 Jul: Tochigi SC 3-2 SC Tottori
Sun 16 Jul: YKK AP 2-2 FC Kariya

1 Honda FC 44 (+20)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 40 (+16)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+20)
4 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+13)
5 Tochigi SC 38 (+14)
6 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 36 (+28)
7 YKK AP 36 (+21)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 33 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+4)
10 SC Tottori 22 (+3)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-10)
12 JEF Club 16 (-9)
13 FC Kariya 16 (-17)
14 Sagawa Printing 16 (-20)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-33)

16 Jul 06 - The Tottori defence under pressure at Tochigi

The Tottori defence under pressure at Tochigi
JFL - Round 19 (Saturday)
Four more games in the JFL on the Saturday of the holiday weekend - and leaders Honda FC are now four points clear at the top, as goals from Kodai Suzuki, Ryosuke Horiki and Suzuki's strike partner Junya Nitta gave the Hamamatsu-based side a 3-0 win over Sagawa Printing. Moving into second place ahead of Sagawa Kyubin Osaka (who play Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo on Sunday) are Rosso Kumamoto, although they made heavy weather of it against Arte Takasaki. Two goals from top scorer Yutaka Takahashi seemed to have put the J-League hopefuls in total control in the first eight minutes, but the beleaguered Arte fought back and were level before half-time. Rosso eventually claimed all three points thanks to a winner from Hiroshi Fukushima six minutes after the break.

Something of a form team at present are Yokogawa Musashino, who continued their good run with a 2-0 win at Sony Sendai and are now level on points with Sagawa Osaka and four in front of both YKK AP and Tochigi SC. Like YKK, neighbours Alo's Hokuriku are fading from the title race and their latest disappointment came in the form of a 1-1 draw at home to Ryutsu Keizai University which keeps them stuck somewhere down towards mid-table. It was a decent result for RKU, though, for whom every single point is priceless in their battle to avoid a relegation play-off spot - bad news, though, for the likes of Honda Lock, Mitsubishi Mizushima and FC Ryukyu, who all seem destined to stay in the dogfight until the end of the season.

15 Jul 06 - Ryosuke Horikiri, on target for Honda FC

Ryosuke Horikiri, on target for Honda FC

Sat 15 Jul: Alo's Hokuriku 1-1 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sat 15 Jul: Honda FC 3-0 Sagawa Printing
Sat 15 Jul: Rosso Kumamoto 3-2 Arte Takasaki
Sat 15 Jul: Sony Sendai 0-2 Yokogawa Musashino

1 Honda FC 44 (+20)
2 Rosso Kumamoto 40 (+16)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+21)
4 Yokogawa Musashino 39 (+13)
5 YKK AP 35 (+21)
6 Tochigi SC 35 (+13)
7 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 33 (+27)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 33 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+4)
10 SC Tottori 22 (+4)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-10)
12 JEF Club 16 (-9)
13 Sagawa Printing 16 (-20)
14 FC Kariya 15 (-17)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 12 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-33)

15 Jul 06 - Rosso Kumamoto’s ex-Avispa Fukuoka forward Hiroshi Fukushima

Rosso Kumamoto’s ex-Avispa Fukuoka forward Hiroshi Fukushima
Kansai League Division 2 - Round 14
This weekend sees the first of the Regional League seasons to come to an end - and the first division to cross the line is Division 2 of the Kansai League. Technonet Osaka take the title and promotion, all confirmed thanks to a 3-0 stroll past Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe; while following Technonet up into Division 1 for 2007 will be second-placed FC Kyoto BAMB 1993, themselves easy winners against Hermano Osaka. At the other end of the table, Kobe FC Senior C finish rock bottom and are likely to be relegated automatically to the prefectural leagues despite beating Kohga School, who will probably need to take part in a play-off in order to stay up, thanks to their defeat combined with a comfortable win for their rivals Kihoku Football Group at Riseisha FC

15 Jul 06 - Could be sayonara to Kansai League strugglers Kohga School

Could be sayonara to Kansai League strugglers Kohga School

Sat 15 Jul: FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 5-1 Hermano Osaka
Sat 15 Jul: Kobe FC Senior C 1-0 Kohga School
Sat 15 Jul: Riseisha FC 2-4 Kihoku Football Group
Sat 15 Jul: Technonet Osaka 3-0 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe

1 Technonet Osaka 35 (+17)
2 FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 34 (+33)
3 Hermano Osaka 22 (+6)
4 Riseisha FC 19 (+4)
5 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 17 (-9)
6 Kihoku Football Group 14 (-23)
7 Kohga School 9 (-13)
8 Kobe FC Senior C 8 (-15)

Technonet Osaka and FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 are therefore promoted to the Kansai League Division 1 for 2007. Kobe FC Senior C are probably relegated direct to the prefectural leagues. Kohga School will probably participate in a play-off in order to remain in the league.
All-Japan Shakaijin 2006 - Kanto Qualification Tournament
第42回全国社会人サッカー選手権大会関東予選

Sun 02 Jul: Luminozo Sayama 0-2 FC Seibudai
Sun 02 Jul: Tamaho SC 0-1 All Kamisu SC
Sun 02 Jul: Saitama SC 1-3 Chiba Teachers SC
Sun 02 Jul: Utsunomiya FC 0-4 FC Machida Zelvia
Sun 02 Jul: MSDF Atsugi Marcus 0-1 Tonan SC Gunma
Sun 02 Jul: Hitachi Building System 2-3 Furukawa Electrics Chiba
Sun 02 Jul: Toho Titanium 1-0 Tostem FC
Sun 02 Jul: Pioneer Kawagoe 3-4 Ome FC
Sun 02 Jul: YSCC 1-0 Tokyo Bay FC
Sun 02 Jul: Tokai FC Wings 2-1 Kanagawa Teachers SC
Sun 02 Jul: Yaita SC 4-4 Ome FC Diego (PK 5-3)
Sun 02 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Saitama 2-3 Nirasaki Astros
Sun 02 Jul: Hanno Bruder 3-0 Hitachi Tochigi Uva
Sun 02 Jul: Aries FC 2-1 Toshiba Fuchu (AET)

Sun 09 Jul: FC Seibudai 2-4 All Kamisu SC
Sun 09 Jul: Chiba Teachers SC 0-3 FC Machida Zelvia
Sun 09 Jul: Tonan SC Gunma 4-1 Furukawa Electrics Chiba
Sun 09 Jul: Toho Titanium 2-0 Ome FC
Sun 09 Jul: YSCC 3-2 Tokai FC Wings
Sun 09 Jul: Yaita SC 0-0 Nirasaki Astros (PK 2-4)
Sun 09 Jul: Hanno Bruder 1-0 Aries FC

All Kamisu SC, FC Machida Zelvia, Tonan SC Gunma, Toho Titanium, YSCC, Nirasaki Astros and Hanno Bruder therefore qualify for the national finals in Akita in October.

09 Jul 06 - It’s the mighty Tonan SC Gunma

It’s the mighty Tonan SC Gunma

For followers of the Japanese regional leagues, six of the names of the qualifiers will probably be recognisable as members of the two divisions of the Kanto League. The exception, perhaps, are Tonan SC Gunma, one of the stronger sides in the area's prefectural leagues. Indeed, the club currently lead the Gunma Prefectural League Division 1 with seven wins and two draws in nine games - but although despite being successful enough now, a reputation for consistently rough play actually saw them relegated to Division 2 at one point in the late 80s. The 2006 squad nevertheless includes a large number of players with experience of regional level football and above, such as strikers Hideki Sekine from Mitsubishi Mizushima and 32-year-old Hiroshi Aso, many moons ago on the books at Nagoya Grampus 8. Having already eliminated two higher-ranked teams from the competition, Tonan may be outsiders for the Shakaijin this year, but cannot be completely dismissed.

10 Jul 06 - All Kamisu SC squad members pray for victory before their game with FC Seibudai

All Kamisu SC squad members pray for victory before their game with FC Seibudai
Arte Announce Mass Exit
Gunma prefecture-based JFL side Arte Takasaki have announced that no fewer than fourteen members of their first team squad will leave the club when their contracts expire at the end of July. As yet there is no news of any transfer deals being in place, or of any new arrivals to take the place of departing key players such as top scorer Yoichi Mori and Brazilian forward Beto. But 2006 generally has turned into something of a disaster for Arte, re-launched with a new coach and a new name at the beginning of the year, with their hopes set on working towards a J-League place and putting behind them a period of underachievement as a competitive side in the JFL.

Coach Kim Guan Ho was nevertheless sacked by the end of April after a disappointing start and goalkeeping coach Kazuyoshi Hamaguchi subsequently took up the reins - to little effect, given that the team were ninth in the table when Kim left and are currently eleventh. Their most recent match ended in a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Ryutsu Keizai University and although there has been until now no question of Arte slipping down into the bottom quarter of the table - they're six points ahead of twelfth placed JEF Club - fans will surely be distinctly nervous about the remainder of the season given the drastic weakening of the playing staff that is about to take place.
JFL - Round 19 (Friday)
This weekend being a holiday weekend in Japan, the JFL round 19 fixtures are spread from Friday right through to Monday. Friday saw just one match, but it was an important relegation clash between Okinawa's FC Ryukyu and Mitsubishi Mizushima from Okayama. While Mitsubishi had been expected to find the going tough this season after finishing bottom in 2005 with just eight points from thirty matches, it was thought that Ryukyu had the experience, the playing squad, the financial backing and the local support to make a success of their first season in the JFL following promotion from the the Kyushu League. Both, however, have spent 2006 in the bottom six or lower, goalscoring being the major difficulty: Ryukyu have managed fourteen (six from Fukutaro Kuroda, formerly of Sun Miyazaki), while Mitsubishi are the lowest scorers in the league with only twelve. A 0-0 draw between the two in Friday's match therefore comes as little surprise, the resulting point edging Ryukyu away from the relegation play-offs at the same time as enabling Mitsubishi to pull level with Ryutsu Keizai University.

14 Jul 06 - JFL strugglers FC Ryukyu before their relegation battle with Mitsubishi Mizushima

JFL strugglers FC Ryukyu before their relegation battle with Mitsubishi Mizushima

Fri 14 Jul: FC Ryukyu 0-0 Mitsubishi Mizushima

...
12 JEF Club 16 (-9)
13 Sagawa Printing 16 (-17)
14 FC Kariya 15 (-17)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 11 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-33)
Chugoku League
By drawing their single game in hand over Chugoku League leaders Fagiano Okayama on Sunday, despite a win in the subsequent penalty shoot-out Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku probably waved goodbye to their hopes of holding on to their title from 2005. Visitors Renofa Yamaguchi took the lead with only ten minutes to go and it was only a desperate push from Sagawa that grabbed an equaliser; Renofa, meanwhile, will be taking great heart from what so far has been a positive season for the former whipping boys. In the other match, postponed from the end of May, Hiroshima Fujita SC scraped a win on penalties over bottom side Iwami SC to earn two potentially vital points in their fight to avoid relegation and so move above Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado.

09 Jul 06 - Yuji Takasugi, scorer for Renofa Yamaguchi against Sagawa Chugoku

Yuji Takasugi, scorer for Renofa Yamaguchi against Sagawa Chugoku

Sun 09 Jul: Hiroshima Fujita SC 1-1 Iwami SC (PK 4-3)
Sun 09 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 1-1 Renofa Yamaguchi (PK 3-1)

1 Fagiano Okayama 24 (+24)
2 Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 18 (+15)
3 FC Central Chugoku 16 (+13)
4 Renofa Yamaguchi 15 (-5)
5 JFE Steel 12 (-2)
6 Hiroshima Fujita SC 9 (-14)
7 Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 7 (-12)
8 Iwami SC 4 (-19)
Tohoku League Division 2 (North)
Continuing their perfect start to the season, FC Akita Cambiare made it eight wins out of eight in the Tohoku League Division 2 (North) on Sunday, as they triumphed 4-2 at Hokuto Bank. Six points behind, Mizusawa United Club are Cambiare's nearest challengers following their defeat of Aster Aomori. Indeed, Aster slip to the bottom of the division as a result of that loss and Fuji Club 2003's draw at TDK Shinwakai.

Sun 09 Jul: Aster Aomori 1-3 Mizusawa United Club
Sun 09 Jul: Hokuto Bank 2-4 FC Akita Cambiare
Sun 09 Jul: TDK Shinwakai 2-2 Fuji Club 2003

1 FC Akita Cambiare 24 (+18)
2 Mizusawa United Club 18 (+12)
3 Tono Club 10 (+6)
4 Vanrarure Hachinohe 7 (-4)
5 TDK Shinwakai 5 (-11)
6 Hokuto Bank 4 (-2)
7 Fuji Club 2003 3 (-8)
8 Aster Aomori 3 (-11)
Tokai League Division 2
Tokai League Division 2 leaders Honda Suzuka bounced back from their shock defeat to Morishin's FC in the last round with a 4-0 thrashing of FC Kawasaki to reassert themselves at the top of the table on Sunday. Kasugai Club are still in the other promotion spot after they beat Nagoya Club 1-0, while Konica Minolta Toyokawa picked up a first win in five against Morishin's FC to move clear of the pack in third.

09 Jul 06 - A Konica Minolta player looks mystified amongst Morishin’s FC

A Konica Minolta player looks mystified amongst Morishin’s FC

Sun 09 Jul: Honda Suzuka 4-0 FC Kawasaki
Sun 09 Jul: Konica Minolta Toyokawa 2-0 Morishin's FC
Sun 09 Jul: Nagoya Club 0-1 Kasugai Club

1 Honda Suzuka 22 (+9)
2 Kasugai Club 19 (+9)
3 Konica Minolta Toyokawa 13 (+1)
4 Mind House TC 10 (+2)
5 Morishin's FC 10 (+1)
6 Fuyo Club 10 (-5)
7 Nagoya Club 9 (-3)
8 FC Kawasaki 3 (-14)
Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off Format Confirmed
The JFA have finalised the format for entry into this season's vital end-of-season Regional League Championship Winners's Play-off tournament, the mechanism by which teams achieve promotion from the nine Regional Leagues to the JFL in the Japanese non-league pyramid system. In 2005, Rosso Kumamoto and FC Ryukyu from the Kyushu League - together with JEF Club from Kanto - made the step up with what has so far proved to be varying levels of success, but the fact that those three sides took part in the final round of the play-off alongside Kansai's Banditonce Kobe impacts upon the format of this season's competition as well.

Essentially, the winners of each of the Regional Leagues take a place in the Play-off, but as a result of Rosso, Ryukyu, JEF and Banditonce's additional progress last year, Kyushu, Kanto and Kansai are allocated an extra spot apiece. Furthermore, the JFA has announced that as per 2005, there will be what amounts to one wildcard entry - which may come in the form of a university club nominated by the separate governing body of University football, from the winner of the October All-Japan Shakaijin, or from another yet-to-be identified source. Last time around, indeed, it was FC Ryukyu who fitted into the latter category as Kyushu late in the day were given an extra place in the tournament on account of the strength of the competition in their league in 2005.

11 Jul 06 - Kanto League hopefuls Luminozo Sayama

Kanto League hopefuls Luminozo Sayama

But to clarify, then; the number of teams from each Regional League will initially be as follows:

Chugoku 1
Hokkaido 1
Hokushinetsu 1
Kansai 2
Kanto 2
Kyushu 2
Shikoku 1
Tohoku 1
Tokai 1

+ 1 wildcard

All of which means that there will be thirteen teams divided into four groups for the First Round matches, which are being staged from 24 - 26 November as follows:

Group A

3 teams, to be played in Nagasaki


Group B

3 teams, to be played in Nagasaki


Group C

4 teams, to be played in Kochi


Group D

3 teams, to be played in Saitama

11 Jul 06 - No prizes for guessing that this is Kansai outfit FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu

No prizes for guessing that this is Kansai outfit FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu

The winner of each group will then proceed to the Final Round in Oita over the weekend of 01 - 03 December. It seems probable that there will then be some sort of further play-off involving the bottom two teams in the JFL to decide promotion and indeed relegation, but precisely how this works is likely to be dependent on whether any teams this year achieve promotion from the JFL into J2.

So how are things shaping up for the teams currently contesting the Regional Leagues? Who is heading for the Play-off in November and for a possible JFL place in 2007? Regular readers will be familiar with the league competitions which are in progress at the moment, but a quick overview is in order now that the way ahead has been made clear for those sides eager to gain promotion to the national stage...

The season in Chugoku is now just into the second half and it looks as if last year's runners up Fagiano Okayama have done enough to see off Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku and newcomers FC Central Chugoku to take the title, while in Hokkaido - where the campaign is also just over half way through - it's hard to see beyond reigning champions Norbritz Hokkaido, as none of the other clubs seem capable of mounting a consistent challenge to their longstanding superiority.
In Hokushinetsu, however, things are altogether more competitive, for although there are only two rounds of fixtures remaining it's hard to pick a single winner from 2005 champions Nagano Elsa, Japan Soccer College and newly-promoted Matsumoto Yamaga Club. Matsumoto are at present in third, but have eminently winnable games against lowly Ueda Gentian and Niigata University of Management remaining; JSC and frontrunners Nagano should be able to win their next matches, but then face each other in the last fixture of the season in September.

Things have already been decided in Kansai, where with only one match to go Banditonce Kobe have retained their title and will this year be joined in the Play-off by runners up FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu, who last year were playing Division 2 football under the name of Sagawa Kyubin Kyoto. The Kanto League has four rounds remaining and 2005 winners Luminozo Sayama now seem to be finding enough form to qualify again, although surprise package Yaita SC look probable champions - in which case they will be taking their first ever shot at JFL membership.

11 Jul 06 - Still aiming to hold on to the Tokai League title, Shizuoka FC

Still aiming to hold on to the Tokai League title, Shizuoka FC

Down in Kyushu, V Varen Nagasaki have taken over the mantle of Rosso Kumamoto as the top side and are odds-on to take the title, but with around five matches to go for most teams it's anyone's guess who will be able to fill the second spot open to them this year. Nippon Steel Oita, Volca Kagoshima and New Wave Kitakyushu have chopped and changed throughout the year as V Varen's closest challengers, with New Wave perhaps just likely to have enough to pip the other two. Four rounds to play in Shikoku and it's the relaunched Takamatsu-based club Kamatamare Sanuki who are the probable winners at the expense of champions Nangoku Kochi, although a late push from the latter is still a possibility.

The final two leagues are chiefly being contested between two teams. TDK Akita and Grulla Morioka actually shared the title in Tohoku last year but Grulla are not as strong this time around and even with half the season still remaining, TDK appear certain to take the crown on their own. The Tokai League, meanwhile, is between newly-promoted FC Gifu and traditional powerhouses Shizuoka FC and with five games to go, Gifu's recent win over Shizuoka would seem to indicate that, assuming they don't make any silly mistakes, the title is theirs for 2006.
All-Japan Shakaijin 2006 - Tokai Qualification Tournament
第42回全国社会人サッカー選手権東海予選

Sat 01 Jul: Shizuoka FC 6-1 FC Goal
Sat 01 Jul: Shizuoka University 1-2 FC Ogaki Kogans
Sat 01 Jul: Mind House TC 0-2 Hamamatsu University
Sat 01 Jul: Fujieda City Hall 2-2 Nagoya Club (PK 4-5)
Sat 01 Jul: FC Gifu 4-0 Toshiba Machine
Sat 01 Jul: Maruyasu Industry 1-3 Yazaki Valente
Sat 01 Jul: Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 0-3 Fuyo Club
Sat 01 Jul: ACM Central 1-0 Honda Suzuka

Sun 02 Jul: Shizuoka FC 3-2 FC Ogaki Kogans
Sun 02 Jul: Hamamatsu University 0-3 Nagoya Club
Sun 02 Jul: FC Gifu 2-1 Yazaki Valente
Sun 02 Jul: Fuyo Club 3-0 ACM Central

Shizuoka FC, Nagoya Club, FC Gifu and Fuyo Club therefore qualify for the national finals in Akita in October.

18 Jul 06 - FC Ogaki Kogans launch themselves upon the world via the name Alma. Lovely

FC Ogaki Kogans launch themselves upon the world via the name Alma. Lovely
Tokai League Division 1 - Round 9
FC Gifu and Shizuoka FC continue to race ahead at the top of the Tokai League Division 1, with comfortable wins over Fujieda City Hall and Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo helping them both to stay ahead of third-placed Yazaki Valente. Fujieda's single consolation goal - a header just before half-time that pulled the score back to 1-3 - was incidentally only the second that title hopefuls Gifu have conceded all season. But Yazaki have now won five of their last six matches following their 3-0 defeat of Maruyasu Industry and are evidently a cut above the rest of the competition. At the bottom of the table, Chukyo University jumped out of the drop zone with their first win since the opening day of the season, as they thumped relegation favourites ACM Central 7-2.

08 Jul 06 - Fujieda City Hall grab an unlikely goal against FC Gifu

Fujieda City Hall grab an unlikely goal against FC Gifu

Sat 08 Jun: Fujieda City Hall 1-5 FC Gifu
Sat 08 Jun: Shizuoka FC 6-1 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo
Sat 08 Jun: Yazaki Valente 3-0 Maruyasu Industry

Sun 09 Jul: Chukyo University 7-2 ACM Central

1 FC Gifu 25 (+22)
2 Shizuoka FC 22 (+23)
3 Yazaki Valente 18 (+4)
4 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 12 (-5)
5 Maruyasu Industry 10 (-4)
6 Chukyo University 8 (-3)
7 Fujieda City Hall 6 (-16)
8 ACM Central 1 (-21)
Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
It's not often that a team scores four times away from home, wins the game and ends up dropping down a place, but that's exactly what happened to Furukawa Battery in the Tohoku League Division 2 (South) on Sunday. Their rivals for the title, Marisol Matsushima, beat Kureha Chemicals 8-1 to reclaim top spot on goal difference, although Furukawa still have a game in hand as the season enters its second half. Confirmed in third place are Northern Peaks Koriyama, 6-0 winners over Shichigahama SC.

09 Jul 06 - FC Perada Fukushima attack the Furukawa Battery goal

FC Perada Fukushima attack the Furukawa Battery goal

Sun 09 Jul: FC Perada Fukushima 2-4 Furukawa Battery
Sun 09 Jul: Kureha Chemicals 1-8 Marisol Matsushima
Sun 09 Jul: Shichigahama SC 0-6 Northern Peaks Koriyama

1 Marisol Matsushima 18 (+21)
2 Furukawa Battery 18 (+17)
3 Northern Peaks Koriyama 12 (+9)
4 Kanai Club 6 (+1)
5 FC Perada Fukushima 4 (-11)
6 Shichigahama SC 4 (-15)
7 Kureha Chemicals 0 (-22)
Tohoku League Division 1
2006 is turning into a real disaster for Grulla Morioka, who now lie three points behind TDK Akita having played a game more. Their second defeat of the year came at the hands of NEC Tokin on Sunday, while TDK were hammering Morioka Zebra 8-1. Lower down the table, NEC jumped up to third after their win, while FC Primeiro were slipping to something of a surprise defeat at home to underachieving Wiese Shiogama. Sendai Nakata Club's defeat of Nippon Steel Kamaishi was their first win of the year and given that they have three games in hand over Nippon Steel and four over Zebra, they must be in with a good chance of avoiding being relegated straight back to Division 2.

09 Jul 06 - TDK in blue give Morioka Zebra a footballing lesson

TDK in blue give Morioka Zebra a footballing lesson

Sun 09 Jul: FC Primeiro 0-2 Wiese Shiogama
Sun 09 Jul: Morioka Zebra 1-8 TDK Akita
Sun 09 Jul: NEC Tokin 1-0 Grulla Morioka
Sun 09 Jul: Sendai Nakata Club 3-0 Nippon Steel Kamaishi

1 TDK Akita 24 (+35)
2 Grulla Morioka 21 (+10)
3 NEC Tokin 16 (+6)
4 FC Primeiro 16 (-6)
5 Wiese Shiogama 9 (-4)
6 Morioka Zebra 5 (-15)
7 Sendai Nakata Club 3 (-5)
8 Nippon Steel Kamaishi 1 (-21)
Kyushu League
It was New Wave Kitakyushu's turn for a week off in the Kyushu League this Sunday - and they slipped down two vital places as a result, as Nippon Steel Oita beat Okinawa Kariyushi and Volca Kagoshima overwhelmed Kaiho Bank SC to leave New Wave in fourth, but with a game in hand over their rivals. V Varen Nagasaki still continue to rule the roost after their comfortable derby win over Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki in which they were three goals up after only five minutes. Potentially significant action, too, at the bottom of the division, where Nanakuma Tombies moved up a place thanks to a 1-0 win at Osumi NIFS United to increase their chances of avoiding the drop and to heap the pressure on Kaiho Bank and Mitsubishi Nagasaki.

09 Jul 06 - Seima Nagata of Volca Kagoshima celebrates his birthday by being pelted with flour and egggs following the team’s win over Kaiho Bank

Seima Nagata of Volca Kagoshima celebrates his birthday by being pelted with flour and eggs following the team’s win over Kaiho Bank. Nice

Sun 09 Jul: Nippon Steel Oita 4-0 Okinawa Kariyushi
Sun 09 Jul: Osumi NIFS United 0-1 Nanakuma Tombies
Sun 09 Jul: V Varen Nagasaki 5-0 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki
Sun 09 Jul: Volca Kagoshima 7-1 Kaiho Bank SC

1 V Varen Nagasaki 31 (+23)
2 Nippon Steel Oita 28 (+24)
3 Volca Kagoshima 27 (+18)
4 New Wave Kitakyushu 26 (+16)
5 Okinawa Kariyushi 21 (+5)
6 Osumi NIFS United 8 (-17)
7 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 6 (-16)
8 Nanakuma Tombies 5 (-32)
9 Kaiho Bank SC 4 (-21)
Hokkaido League - Round 8
Norbritz Hokkaido continue to dominate the Hokkaido League this season, an 8-0 crushing of ACSC Asahikawa maintaining the 2005 champions' three-point advantage at the top of the table. Still in second place behind them are Sapporo Football Group, 3-1 winners at Blackpecker Hakodate, while Barefoot Hokkaido beat Tokachi Fairsky to stay third. mManwhile putting an end to a run of three straight defeats were Thank FC, who defeated Toyota Motors Hokkaido.

09 Jul 06 - Blackpecker Hakodate defend against Sapporo Football Group

Blackpecker Hakodate defend against Sapporo Football Group

Sun 09 Jul: ACSC Asahikawa 0-8 Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 09 Jul: Barefoot Hokkaido 1-0 Tokachi Fairsky
Sun 09 Jul: Blackpecker Hakodate 1-3 Sapporo Football Group
Sun 09 Jul: Toyota Motors Hokkaido 0-3 Thank FC

1 Norbritz Hokkaido 19 (+23)
2 Sapporo Football Group 16 (+11)
3 Barefoot Hokkaido 14 (+2)
4 Blackpecker Hakodate 12 (-)
5 Toyota Motors Hokkaido 11 (-7)
6 Thank FC 10 (+4)
7 Tokachi Fairsky 5 (-13)
8 ACSC Asahikawa 4 (-20)

09 Jul 06 - A veeeeeeery far view of Toyota Motors against Thank FC

A veeeeeeery far view of Toyota Motors against Thank FC
Kansai League Division 2 - Round 13
There are new leaders in the Kansai League Division 2 following FC Kyoto BAMB 1993's failure to hold on to a 3-1 half-time lead against Riseisha FC. Technonet Osaka take over from BAMB in top spot with one game remaining, as they put five past bottom place Kobe FC Senior C. While Kobe FC are odds-on to fill the automatic relegation place, Kihoku Football Group boosted their chances of having to play off to stay in the Regional League with a 5-1 win at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe, while rivals Kohga School were losing by the same margin at Hermano Osaka.

08 Jul 06 - Mitsubishi Kobe prior to their shock home defeat by Kihoku

Mitsubishi Kobe prior to their shock home defeat by Kihoku

Sat 08 Jul: Hermano Osaka 5-1 Kohga School
Sat 08 Jul: Kobe FC Senior C 3-5 Technonet Osaka
Sat 08 Jul: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 1-5 Kihoku Football Group

Sun 09 Jul: FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 3-3 Riseisha FC

1 Technonet Osaka 32 (+14)
2 FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 31 (+29)
3 Hermano Osaka 22 (+10)
4 Riseisha FC 19 (+6)
5 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 17 (-6)
6 Kihoku Football Group 11 (-25)
7 Kohga School 9 (-12)
8 Kobe FC Senior C 5 (-16)
Kansai League Division 1 - Round 13
With only a game now to go in the Kansai League Division 1 season, Banditonce Kobe made sure of retaining their title on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Ain Food, which put them out of sight despite their nearest challengers FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu's Sunday success against Sanyo Electric Sumoto. At the bottom, AS Laranja Kyoto gave themselves a great chance of avoiding finishing in one of the two relegation places as they beat Takada FC 4-1; the other side involved in the battle to avoid the drop, Kyoto Shiko Club, suffered disaster as they lost out to Kobe FC 1970 by the odd goal in nine.

08 Jul 06 - 2006 Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe before their game with Ain Food

2006 Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe before their game with Ain Food

Sat 08 Jul: Banditonce Kobe 3-1 Ain Food
Sat 08 Jul: Kobe FC 1970 5-4 Kyoto Shiko Club
Sat 08 Jul: Takada FC 1-4 AS Laranja Kyoto

Sun 09 Jul: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 2-1 Sanyo Electric Sumoto

1 Banditonce Kobe 32 (+23)
2 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 28 (+17)
3 Kobe FC 1970 22 (-2)
4 Ain Food 16 (-1)
5 Sanyo Electric Sumoto 16 (-2)
6 AS Laranja Kyoto 13 (-10)
7 Kyoto Shiko Club 12 (-6)
8 Takada FC 11 (-19)
Hokushinetsu League Division 2 - Round 12
All to play for at the top and bottom of the Hokushinetsu League Division 2, with just two rounds to go in the 2006 season. One team will be automatically promoted and relegated, while the teams in second and seventh places will participate in play-offs. It still looks like Valiente Toyama to take the title, but they're making heavy weather of it thanks to a home draw with their neighbours from Toyama Shinjo Club. Just two points behind Valiente are FC Kanazu, TOP Niigata and Maruoka Phoenix, the latter being this round's big losers in the battle to go up thanks to their potentially vital defeat by FC Kanazu. TOP beat FC Antelope 2-1 to maintain their hopes of a quick return to Division 1. The bottom two were in action against each other and Nissei Resin threw themselves a lifeline in the fight to survive the drop with an astonishing 8-0 thrashing of LionPower Komatsu - all the more remarkable as it is their first win of the season.

09 Jul 06 - Part of the crowd of 830 at the Valiente - Shinjo derby match

Part of the crowd of 830 at the Valiente - Shinjo derby match

Sun 09 Jul: Maruoka Phoenix 0-1 FC Kanazu
Sun 09 Jul: Nissei Resin 8-0 LionPower Komatsu
Sun 09 Jul: TOP Niigata 2-1 FC Antelope
Sun 09 Jul: Valiente Toyama 1-1 Toyama Shinjo Club

1 Valiente Toyama 21 (+8)
2 FC Kanazu 19 (+6)
3 TOP Niigata 19 (+5)
4 Maruoka Phoenix 19 (+3)
5 FC Antelope 15 (-3)
6 Toyama Shinjo Club 15 (-7)
7 LionPower Komatsu 13 (-14)
8 Nissei Resin 9 (+2)
Hokushinetsu League Division 1 - Round 12
Just two rounds to go in the Hokushinetsu League Division 1 and the title race shows no sings of slowing down. Leaders Japan Soccer College were under a huge amount of pressure going into Sunday's match at Zweigen Kanazawa, knowing it was one their trickiest matches of the season - and also that their closest challengers, Nagano Elsa and Matsumoto Yamaga Club had comparatively easy fixtures. And although JSC came away from Zweigen with a 3-3 draw, Nagano crushed Fervorosa 6-0 to jump back up to the top of the table, while Matsumoto easily saw off Teihens FC. With Niigata University of Management and Ueda Gentian drawing their relegation battle 1-1 in the other match, there are therefore now just two points separating the top three sides. A nailbiting climax to the year seems unavoidable.

09 Jul 06 - Fervorosa in attack mode for once against Nagano Elsa

Fervorosa in attack mode for once against Nagano Elsa

Sun 09 Jul: Fervorosa 0-6 Nagano Elsa
Sun 09 Jul: Niigata University of Management 1-1 Ueda Gentian
Sun 09 Jul: Teihens FC 0-4 Matsumoto Yamaga Club
Sun 09 Jul: Zweigen Kanazawa 3-3 Japan Soccer College

1 Nagano Elsa 30 (+43)
2 Japan Soccer College 29 (+30)
3 Matsumoto Yamaga Club 28 (+22)
4 Zweigen Kanazawa 21 (+23)
5 Fervorosa 11 (-8)
6 Niigata University of Management 8 (-33)
7 Ueda Gentian 7 (-28)
8 Teihens FC 2 (-49)

09 Jul 06 - Niigata University of Management do battle with Ueda Gentian

Niigata University of Management do battle with Ueda Gentian
JFL - Round 18 (Sunday)
The game of the day in the JFL on Sunday saw Rosso Kumamoto come from behind to beat erstwhile leaders YKK AP, with a late winner from former Cerezo Osaka striker Daisuke Yoneyama giving the victory to the Kyushu-based outfit. This puts Rosso up to third, the highest-placed non-corporate club in the league, at just the time when they have applied for associate membership of the J-League itself. Tochigi SC are of course hoping to make the same step but could only manage a 0-0 draw at FC Ryukyu to remain in sixth place, while Ryukyu - despite having the best average home crowd of any Japanese non-league side - are now just a point above the relegation play-off places after what has been so far a highly disappointing season. Fighting to avoid the possibility of dropping back to the Regional Leagues are also Mitsubishi Mizushima, who picked up a creditable point at home to leaders Honda FC; Honda Lock, who went down to a single Tetsuya Okubo goal against Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo to slip back down to the foot of the table; and Ryutsu Keizai University, whose 3-0 win over Arte Takasaki not only pushes them out of the bottom two but is without a doubt their result of the season.

09 Jul 06 - Just before a good 0-0 draw with Honda FC, it’s Mitsubishi Mizushima

Just before a good 0-0 draw with Honda FC, it’s Mitsubishi Mizushima

Sun 09 Jul: FC Ryukyu 0-0 Tochigi SC
Sun 09 Jul: Honda Lock 0-1 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo
Sun 09 Jul: JEF Club 1-2 Alo's Hokuriku
Sun 09 Jul: Mitsubishi Mizushima 0-0 Honda FC
Sun 09 Jul: Rosso Kumamoto 2-1 YKK AP
Sun 09 Jul: Ryutsu Keizai University 3-0 Arte Takasaki

1 Honda FC 41 (+17)
2 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+21)
3 Rosso Kumamoto 37 (+15)
4 Yokogawa Musashino 36 (+11)
5 YKK AP 35 (+21)
6 Tochigi SC 35 (+13)
7 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 33 (+27)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 32 (+15)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+6)
10 SC Tottori 22 (+4)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-9)
12 JEF Club 16 (-9)
13 Sagawa Printing 16 (-17)
14 FC Kariya 15 (-17)
15 FC Ryukyu 11 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 11 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 10 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-33)

09 Jul 06 - Honda Lock and Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo in action

Honda Lock and Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo in action
A New Challenge From Morioka?
Regular readers of JNFN may perhaps recall the name Shinichi Muto being mentioned here before. The diminutive former JEF United and Oita Trinita midfielder had quite the J-League and returned to Iwate, his home prefecture, to coach and play for a new team with high ambitions. Grulla Morioka subsequently scraped into the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off Tournament at the end of 2005, but failed to make it to the JFL and in the midst of all the fall-out, Muto quit. But he has recently emerged once more, right under the noses of a Grulla club trying to concentrate on a renewed attempt at seeing off the considerable challenge of the Tohoku region's top side, TDK Akita. For Muto has found employment with a new team whose aim has to be considered to be at least in part to undermine Grulla's ambitions - for FC Ganju Iwate are based not just in the same prefecture as Muto's former club, but the same city.

28 May 06 - FC Ganju Iwate at the end of their first competitive match - against Morioka Central High School in the qualifying stages of the Emperor’s Cup

FC Ganju Iwate at the end of their first competitive match - against Morioka Central High School in the qualifying stages of the Emperor’s Cup

FC Ganju were formed as recently as March and thus far have concentrated on playing friendlies and in the qualifying rounds of the All-Japan Shakaijin and the Emperor's Cup. Their four competitive matches to date - against smaller Iwate teams such as Pit Bull and Morioka Central High School - have all resulted in easy victories, which although they did end up on the wrong end of a 9-0 pasting by local J2 giants Vegalta Sendai is not surprising when one considers that, as well as Muto himself as player-coach, FC Ganju include in their squad players with experience of top-level regional football. Brazilian keeper Alex, for example, has moved from Shizuoka FC in the Tokai League - along with his compatriot, striker Enrique - and elsewhere they feature players previously with Fagiano Okayama and FC Central Chugoku, not to mention Grulla. Another goalkeeper, Kenji Tanaka, has spent his career to date in the J-League itself, most recently with Sagan Tosu but previously at J1 club Omiya Ardija.

The formation of FC Ganju is another example of the cut-throat ambition that can be found in pockets across Japan, as new franchises try their luck at becoming the next team to burst onto the scene and make a play for a J-League place. In places such as Yamaguchi in the south, Chugoku Leaguers Renofa Yamaguchi have the blessing of the local FA effectively to represent the prefecture in seeking to bring professional football to their area, and as such it is unlikely that another club will be established there with the same aim. But in Iwate - as in Nagano, where as has been closely documented on these pages, Nagano Elsa and local rivals Matsumoto Yamaga are locked in a battle to achieve prefecural and regional supremacy before they can assume a position on the national stage - the picture is far more confused. For as Grulla Morioka seem destined to finish runners-up to TDK in the Tohoku League this season, FC Ganju Iwate are now waiting in the wings to take over as local challengers.
JFL - Round 18 (Saturday)
Three matches in the JFL fixture list on Saturday, all of them remarkable in their own way. FC Kariya must have thought when Keisuke Haraga put them 2-1 up at home to Sony Sendai that they were three points closer to a very acceptable mid-table position. But two goals in stoppage time from Sony's Junpei Murata condemned Kariya to defeat and made it four wins on the trot for the northern side, who have scored fifteen goals during that time into the bargain. Moving steadily towards the top of the table, however, are two teams who could be turning into the surprise packages of the JFL season: Sagawa Kyubin Osaka have made themselves tough to beat and put four past Sagawa Printing to go second behind Honda FC, while hot on their heels are Yokogawa Musashino, comfortable 3-1 winners at SC Tottori.

08 Jul 06 - Yokogawa Musashino fans at the team’s win over Tottori

Yokogawa Musashino fans at the team’s win over Tottori

Sat 08 Jul: FC Kariya 2-3 Sony Sendai
Sat 08 Jul: Sagawa Printing 0-4 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka
Sat 08 Jul: SC Tottori 1-3 Yokogawa Musashino

1 Honda FC 40 (+17)
2 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 39 (+21)
3 Yokogawa Musashino 36 (+11)
4 YKK AP 35 (+22)
5 Rosso Kumamoto 34 (+14)
6 Tochigi SC 34 (+13)
7 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 30 (+26)
8 Alo's Hokuriku 29 (+14)
9 Sony Sendai 29 (+6)
10 SC Tottori 22 (+4)
11 Arte Takasaki 22 (-6)
12 JEF Club 16 (-8)
13 Sagawa Printing 16 (-17)
14 FC Kariya 15 (-17)
15 FC Ryukyu 10 (-13)
16 Honda Lock 9 (-32)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 9 (-32)
18 Ryutsu Keizai University 8 (-23)

08 Jul 06 - Two-goal Sony Sendai hero, Junpei Murata

Two-goal Sony Sendai hero, Junpei Murata
All-Japan Shakaijin 2006 Format
第42回全国社会人サッカー選手権大会

The JFA have confirmed the format of this year's All-Japan Shakaijin tournament, to be held in Akita prefecture in mid-October. Shakaijin, which is open to clubs below the JFL in the Japanese pyramid structure and which last year was won jointly by Rosso Kumamoto and Nippon Steel Oita , is particularly notable for the fact that its matches are staged over an eighty-minute period only. Exactly how qualification for the tournament is achieved varies across the country, but it begins at a local level - within each of Japan's prefectures - and ends in an allocation by the JFA of a number of teams from each region, as listed below. This entry will be edited as the nine Regional qualification tournaments reach their conclusions, to include the names of the finalists when they become known.

07 Jul 06 - Kanto Leaguers Hanno Bruder dash enthusiastically out onto the pitch before their Shakaijin qualification match with Hitachi Tochigi Uva. They did actually win in the end

Kanto Leaguers Hanno Bruder dash enthusiastically out onto the pitch before their recent Shakaijin qualification match with Hitachi Tochigi Uva. They did actually win in the end

Akita prefecture: TDK Akita

Chugoku: Fagiano Okayama and Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku

Hokkaido: Norbritz Hokkaido and Toyota Motors Hokkaido

Hokushinetsu: Fervorosa and Japan Soccer College

Kansai: FC Nishiomiya A, Kobe FC 1970, Sanyo Electric Sumoto, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu, Ain Food and AS Laranja Kyoto

Kanto: All Kamisu SC, FC Machida Zelvia, Tonan SC Gunma, Toho Titanium, YSCC, Nirasaki Astros and Hanno Bruder

Kyushu: New Wave Kitskyushu, Nippon Steel Oita, Okinawa Kariyushi and V Varen Nagasaki

Shikoku: Nangoku Kochi and Kamatamare Sanuki

Tohoku: FC Primeiro and NEC Tokin

Tokai: Shizuoka FC, Nagoya Club, FC Gifu and Fuyo Club

07 Jul 06 - Soma SC celebrate winning the Fukushima prefecture qualifying competition

Soma SC celebrate winning the Fukushima prefecture qualifying competition
Tochigi Follow In Rosso's Footsteps
Currently lying in fifth place in the JFL table, Tochigi SC have become the second club to apply for associate membership of the J-League, a matter of days after rivals Rosso Kumamoto submitted their own application. Now aiming to achieve J2 status in 2008, Tochigi will hear the result of their submission when the J-League's Board of Directors meet on 15 August.
Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
There were only two games played in the Tohoku League Division 2 (South) over the weekend, but nevertheless Furukawa Battery made it to the top of the table for the first time this season in some considerable style, putting eight goals past a Kureha Chemicals defence that has so far conceded 26 in just five matches. Furukawa now have a game in hand over previous leaders Marisol Matsushima and look as if they may be able to go on and take the title. Six points behind them in third place are Northern Peaks Koriyama, 4-1 winners over FC Perada Fukushima in the other fixture of the day.

02 Jul 06 - Furukawa’s Akihiro Sanpei about to release a no doubt venomous shot against Kureha

Furukawa’s Akihiro Sanpei about to release a venomous shot against Kureha

Sun 02 Jul: FC Perada Fukushima 1-4 Northern Peaks Koriyama
Sun 02 Jul: Furukawa Battery 8-1 Kureha Chemicals

1 Furukawa Battery 15 (+15)
2 Marisol Matsushima 15 (+14)
3 Northern Peaks Koriyama 9 (+3)
4 Kanai Club 6 (+1)
5 FC Perada Fukushima 4 (-9)
6 Shichigahama SC 4 (-9)
7 Kureha Chemicals 0 (-15)
Tohoku League Division 2 (North)
Continuing their coast towards the Tohoku League Division 2 (North) title, FC Akita Cambiare made it seven wins out of seven on Sunday by beating Vanrarure Hachinohe 4-2. Their nearest challengers - six points off the pace - are Mizusawa United Club, 3-1 winners at a Fuji Club 2003 side struggling to make an impact at Regional level following promotion at the end of last year. Tono Club lie third after a 6-0 crushing of TDK Shinwakai, although they do have two games in hand over both Cambiare and Mizusawa. But undergoing a terrible 2006 are Aster Aomori, keen to fight for a JFL place but unable to make the step up in quality, with Hokuto Bank inflicting a fourth defeat in five league matches so far this year.

02 Jul 06 - The 2006 Fuji Club 2003 squad, losers against Mizusawa

The 2006 Fuji Club 2003 squad, losers against Mizusawa

Sun 02 Jul: FC Akita Cambiare 4-2 Vanrarure Hachinohe
Sun 02 Jul: Fuji Club 2003 1-3 Mizusawa United Club
Sun 02 Jul: Hokuto Bank 2-0 Aster Aomori
Sun 02 Jul: TDK Shinwakai 0-6 Tono Club

1 FC Akita Cambiare 21 (+16)
2 Mizusawa United Club 15 (+10)
3 Tono Club 10 (+6)
4 Vanrarure Hachinohe 7 (-4)
5 Hokuto Bank 4 (-)
6 TDK Shinwakai 4 (-11)
7 Aster Aomori 3 (-9)
8 Fuji Club 2003 2 (-8)
Tohoku League Division 1
TDK Akita remain atop the Tohoku League Division 1 despite not having played a game over the weekend. The now have a game in hand over their deadly rivals Grulla Morioka, who squeezed past neighbours Morioka Zebra 1-0 to move level on points with TDK, but with a far inferior goal difference. FC Primeiro are third with four wins in their last five games, the latest being by 2-1 against struggling Nippon Steel Kamaishi. Putting together a solid season in the middle of the division are NEC Tokin, who unsurprisingly overcame the woefully off-form Wiese Shiogama.

02 Jul 06 - FC Primeiro give Nippon Steel in green the runaround

FC Primeiro give Nippon Steel in green the runaround

Sun 02 Jul: FC Primeiro 2-1 Nippon Steel Kamaishi
Sun 02 Jul: Morioka Zebra 0-1 Grulla Morioka
Sun 02 Jul: NEC Tokin 4-2 Wiese Shiogama

1 TDK Akita 21 (+28)
2 Grulla Morioka 21 (+11)
3 FC Primeiro 16 (-4)
4 NEC Tokin 13 (+5)
5 Wiese Shiogama 6 (-6)
6 Morioka Zebra 5 (-8)
7 Nippon Steel Kamaishi 1 (-18)
8 Sendai Nakata Club 0 (-8)

02 Jul 06 - Daisuke Horiuchi of Grulla seeks to evade the clutches of the Zebra defence

Daisuke Horiuchi of Grulla seeks to evade the clutches of the Zebra defence
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