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JFL Saturday Scores
Yutaka Takahashi's fifth goal of the season thirteen minutes from time in their match at FC Kariya means that Rosso Kumamoto stretched their winning streak to four matches from the start of the new JFL season. But while Rosso have begun the year focused firmly on their goal of promotion to J2, Kariya's own miserable run continued - and the Aichi prefecture-based outfit are now rooted to the foot of the division with no points and only one goal to show for their efforts.

In the one other Saturday fixture, stuttering 2006 champions Honda FC could only manage a 1-1 draw at a Ryutsu Keizai University side who have now obtained good results at home to two of the JFL's strongest teams. Midfielder Katsufumi Masuda gave Honda the lead midway through the first half, only for Kei Ikeda to equalise for the students twelve minutes after the re-start.

31 Mar 07 - Tomohiro Kato hits a free kick for FC Kariya

Tomohiro Kato hits a free kick for FC Kariya

Sat 31 Mar: FC Kariya 0-1 Rosso Kumamoto
Sat 31 Mar: Ryutsu Keizai University 1-1 Honda FC

1. Rosso Kumamoto 12 (+9)
2. FC Gifu 9 (+4)
3=. Yokogawa Musashino 7 (+3)
3=. Honda FC 7 (+3)
5. Tochigi SC 7 (+3)
6. Alo's Hokuriku 7 (+2)
7. Sagawa Kyubin SC 6 (+4)
8. YKK AP 6 (+2)
9. Sony Sendai 4 (+1)
10. JEF Reserves 4 (-)
11. Ryutsu Keizai University 4 (-2)
12. Mitsubishi Mizushima 3 (-3)
13. Arte Takasaki 3 (-3)
14. Gainare Tottori 2 (-1)
15. FC Ryukyu 1 (-7)
16. TDK SC 0 (-4)
17. Sagawa Printing SC 0 (-5)
18. FC Kariya 0 (-6)
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FC Gifu - Associate Members, But...
Putting them alongside Rosso Kumamoto, Tochigi SC and Gainare Tottori, JFL newcomers FC Gifu have been awarded associate member status of the J-League - but with one important proviso. Under normal circumstances, this status amounts to a green light to achieve promotion to J2, with the J-League this year having confirmed that associate member teams finishing in the top four of the JFL will be eligible to go up.

Gifu, however, have another hoop through which they will need to jump if they are to achieve their ambition of reaching the ranks of the professionals. The J-League have in their case ruled that they must make improvements to the management structure and financing of the club - and that if the 2006 Tokai League champions fail to do so, they will not be promoted to J2 even if they win the JFL. Indications are that a further investigation into Gifu's affairs will take place in either June or August, in order to establish whether or not the required improvements have been made.
JFL News In Brief
A couple of friendly games were staged at the beginning of this week, with JFL leaders Rosso Kumamoto getting some more shooting practice by beating Miyazaki Sangyo-Keiei University 5-1 on Monday... the next day, Yokogawa Musashino notched up a 2-0 victory over Waseda University...
JFL News In Brief
High-riding JFL newcomers FC Gifu have boosted their squad yet further with the arrival of Brazilian forward Jorginho from ES Baia. The 21-year-old spent 2006 at J2 outfit Tokushima Vortis... JEF Reserves have signed midfielder Naozumi Kimura and defender Toshikazu Irie from Furukawa Electrics Chiba and Sakushin University respectively... midfield player Katsuhiro Suzuki has retired from playing at Rosso Kumamoto and joined the club's coaching staff...
JFL Sunday Results
After a number of shocks in the midweek fixtures, it was back to business as usual in the JFL on Sunday - which was particularly bad news for coach Hideo Yoshizawa and his FC Ryukyu team. They were crushed 6-0 by local rivals Rosso Kumamoto, who stormed to the top of the table thanks in part to a first-half hat-trick from Yutaka Takahashi. But Rosso are joined on nine points by FC Gifu, narrow 1-0 winners over their fellow promoted side TDK SC.

Honda FC, Sagawa Kyubin SC and YKK AP nevertheless all returned to winning ways to get their early season back on track. Champions Honda were comfortable in beating Mitsubishi Mizushima 2-0, Sagawa put for past Ryutsu Keizai University - with two apiece for Sho Gokuyu and Shogo Shimada - and YKK AP fought back from a goal down against Sagawa Printing to win 4-1.

26 Mar 07 - Early pace-setters Rosso Kumamoto prepare to give Ryukyu a spanking

Early pace-setters Rosso Kumamoto prepare to give Ryukyu a spanking

Both dropping their first points of the season, meanwhile, were Tochigi SC and Alo's Hokuriku. They both will be disappointed to have drawn home fixtures with JEF Reserves and Gainare Tottori respectively, although Tochigi actually trailed for most of their match to a fifth-minute Takeshi Hasunuma opener. In the other match, Arte Takasaki slumped to defeat at Sony Sendai, who jumped up to mid-table with their first win of the year.

26 Mar 07 - Sagawa Kyubin goalscorer Shogo Shimada

Sagawa Kyubin goalscorer Shogo Shimada

Sun 25 Mar: Alo's Hokuriku 0-0 Gainare Tottori
Sun 25 Mar: FC Gifu 1-0 TDK SC
Sun 25 Mar: Honda FC 2-0 Mitsubishi Mizushima
Sun 25 Mar: Rosso Kumamoto 6-0 FC Ryukyu
Sun 25 Mar: Sagawa Kyubin SC 4-0 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sun 25 Mar: Sony Sendai 2-0 Arte Takasaki
Sun 25 Mar: Tochigi SC 1-1 JEF Reserves
Sun 25 Mar: YKK AP 4-1 Sagawa Printing

1. Rosso Kumamoto 9 (+8)
2. FC Gifu 9 (+4)
3. Yokogawa Musashino 7 (+3)
4. Tochigi SC 7 (+3)
5. Alo's Hokuriku 7 (+2)
6. Sagawa Kyubin SC 6 (+4)
7. Honda FC 6 (+3)
8. YKK AP 6 (+2)
9. Sony Sendai 4 (+1)
10. JEF Reserves 4 (-)
11. Ryutsu Keizai University 3 (-2)
12. Mitsubishi Mizushima 3 (-3)
13. Arte Takasaki 3 (-3)
14. Gainare Tottori 2 (-1)
15. FC Ryukyu 1 (-7)
16. TDK SC 0 (-4)
17. Sagawa Printing SC 0 (-5)
18. FC Kariya 0 (-5)

26 Mar 07 - Disappointment - A Study, courtesy Tochigi SC

Disappointment - A Study, courtesy Tochigi SC
JFL Saturday Result
Yokogawa Musashino went to the top of the early-season JFL table following the only fixture on Saturday. They were 3-0 up at home to FC Kariya after little more than half an hour, although former Nagoya Grampus 8 reserve striker Ryota Takahashi pulled a goal back with fifteen minutes remaining. Kariya meanwhile drop to the bottom of the league - Nariyasu Yasuhara's men have yet to pick up a point from three games.

24 Mar 07 - Defender Tatsuhiro Seta, scorer of Yokogawa's opener

Defender Tatsuhiro Seta, scorer of Yokogawa's opener

Sat 24 Mar: Yokogawa Musashino 3-1 FC Kariya
JFL Crowds On The Up As J-League Beckons
One particularly striking aspect of the start to the new JFL season has been the marked increase in the number of supporters attending the first two rounds of fixtures (eighteen matches in total) when compared with 2006. So far, there have been five crowds in excess of 3000 - all of them at clubs who have stated a serious interest in moving up to the J-League. Indeed, this denominator seems to be the main motivation behind the greater levels of support, for the smaller company teams have in contrast recorded no real variation in the number of people attending their games.

But the total crowd figure for 2007 currently stands at 38,120, an average of 2118, with Tochigi SC leading the way by virtue of their having attracted a stunning 12,539 for the match against FC Ryukyu. Newly promoted FC Gifu pulled in more than 5000 to see their 2-0 win over Arte Takasaki, despite ticket prices being among the most expensive in the division - presumably a measure to counteract their reported financial problems.

A year ago, the total attendance for the opening two rounds stood at 22,648, an average of 1258 at each game. Tochigi SC's match with FC Ryukyu again was watched by the biggest crowd - but this was 6153, just under the half the equivalent figure from last weekend. Ryutsu Keizai University also doubled their first gate from 2006 - 502 people saw their fantastic 3-0 defeat of YKK AP - while ambitious Gainare Tottori recorded an even more impressive more-than-five-fold increase: 3811 this season against Sony Sendai, as opposed to 708 against Alo's Hokuriku twelve months ago.

These sorts of statistics tend not to be too representative of the season as a whole, but are indicative of the fact that there is a growing audience for lower league football in Japan - especially in the context of a potential for development. The public is, it would appear, becoming familiar with the idea of a pyramid through which well-supported and well-financed clubs can move up to the J-League. And increasing numbers of them want to be in on the ground floor, watching their local team progress through the ranks.
JFL Wednesday Results
After the second round of JFL 2007 fixtures took place on holiday Wednesday, the top of the early-season table features a fascinating combination of the old and the new. Two goals in the last twenty minutes of their first ever home game at this level of football saw promoted side FC Gifu beat Arte Takasaki to go joint top with the more familiar name of Tochigi SC, who also claimed a 2-0 win at FC Kariya.

Also retaining their 100% start to the season are Alo's Hokuriku, for whom new forward Yuuya Nagatomi was twice on target in their 3-2 defeat of JEF Reserves, and Rosso Kumamoto. As was the case at the weekend, the Kyushu side again required a very late goal to claim all three points, this time from Daishiro Miyazaki at Sagawa Printing.

21 Mar 07 - Driving ’em wild at JEF Reserves

Driving ’em wild at JEF Reserves

There were two major surprises amongst the other fixtures. Daisuke Matsuoka of Mitsubishi Mizushima continued his explosive start to the year, notching up two goals for the second game in succession and so helping his side to claim a tremendous win over potential title challengers Sagawa Kyubin SC. But in Ibaraki, local students Ryutsu Keizai University roared out of the starting blocks with a Yuta Mikado goal against YKK AP and later scored two more for a 3-0 triumph.

Left pointless at the bottom alongside Sagawa Printing and Kariya are TDK SC, defeated 2-0 by a Honda FC side keen to bounce back from their loss on Sunday to Gifu. Elsewhere, the other two matches ended in draws between FC Ryukyu and Yokogawa Musashino and between Gainare Tottori and Sony Sendai.

22 Mar 07 - TDK SC and Honda FC line up before their match

TDK SC and Honda FC line up before their match

Wed 21 Mar: FC Gifu 2-0 Arte Takasaki
Wed 21 Mar: FC Kariya 0-2 Tochigi SC
Wed 21 Mar: FC Ryukyu 0-0 Yokogawa Musashino
Wed 21 Mar: JEF Reserves 2-3 Alo's Hokuriku
Wed 21 Mar: Mitsubishi Mizushima 2-1 Sagawa Kyubin SC
Wed 21 Mar: Ryutsu Keizai University 3-0 YKK AP
Wed 21 Mar: Sagawa Printing 0-1 Rosso Kumamoto
Wed 21 Mar: Gainare Tottori 1-1 Sony Sendai
Wed 21 Mar: TDK SC 0-2 Honda FC

1. = FC Gifu 6 (+3)
1. = Tochigi SC 6 (+3)
3. Alo's Hokuriku 6 (+2)
4. Rosso Kumamoto 6 (+2)
5. Yokogawa Musashino 4 (+1)
6. Ryutsu Keizai University 3 (+2)
7. Honda FC 3 (+1)
8. JEF Reserves 3 (-)
9. Sagawa Kyubin SC 3 (-)
10. = YKK AP 3 (-1)
10. = Mitsubishi Mizushima 3 (-1)
12. Arte Takasaki 3 (-1)
13. = Sony Sendai 1 (-1)
13. = Gainare Tottori 1 (-1)
15. FC Ryukyu 1 (-1)
16. Sagawa Printing SC 0 (-2)
17. = FC Kariya 0 (-3)
17. = TDK SC 0 (-3)

22 Mar 07 - Daisuke Matsuoka scores against Sagawa Kyubin

Daisuke Matsuoka scores against Sagawa Kyubin
Regional League News In Brief
... Hokushinetsu League hopefuls Matsumoto Yamaga Club claimed a good 4-3 win over a Ventforet Kofu XI on Saturday, including two goals from new striker Masato Katayama... on the same day, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu beat Vissel Kobe 2-0, which they followed a day later with a 2-2 draw against Gamba Osaka youth team in a 4 x 35mins game...

... Fagiano Okayama of the Chugoku League defeated Fukuyama University 4-0 in their latest pre-season game on Sunday... on the same day in Kanto, FC Machida Zelvia went down 4-1 in a 3 x 45mins encounter with Kokushikan University... New Wave Kitakyushu took part in a local cup competition against Avispa Fukuoka reserves, losing 3-2 after being two up at half time...
JFL Sunday Results
It was a nailbiting kick-off to the 2007 JFL campaign on Sunday, with a large number of close matches. There can be no doubt whatsoever as to the result of the day, however, as Satoshi Sato's 86th-minute strike gave league newcomers FC Gifu a sensational 1-0 win away at champions Honda FC to set the season off to a fascinating start.

18 Mar 07 - FC Gifu fans and players celebrate their defeat of Honda FC

FC Gifu fans and players celebrate their defeat of Honda FC

Potential title challengers Rosso Kumamoto and Sagawa Kyubin SC both achieved narrow wins, although Rosso needed a late Yutaka Takahashi goal to avoid the embarrassment of a draw against Ryutsu Keizai University before a healthy crowd in excess of 3000 people. Sho Gokyu's effort for Sagawa was enough to overcome promoted TDK SC.

New signing from Kashiwa Reysol Yoshiteru Yamashita scored the only goal of the game for Tochigi SC in their match with FC Ryukyu - reported to have been watched by a staggering 12,000 fans - while JEF Reserves and Arte Takasaki also picked up 1-0 wins over Sony Sendai and Gainare Tottori respectively. Sagawa Printing took the lead at Yokogawa Musashino through danger man Hirokazu Otsubo, but the home side fought back and Takumi Otawa's 86th-minute goal eventually took all three points for Yokogawa.

It was a good day for the Toyama teams, two goals apiece for Daisuke Asahi and Mitsuru Hasegawa giving YKK AP a 4-2 win over the unfortunate Mitsubishi Mizushima - for whom Daisuke Matsuoka was also on target twice. And in the late kick-off, YKK's neighbours Alo's Hokuriku beat FC Kariya 1-0 thanks to Hideyuki Ishida's goal just before half time.


18 Mar 07 - Sandstorm stops play at Arte Takasaki - Gainare Tottori

Sandstorm stops play at Arte Takasaki - Gainare Tottori

Sun 18 Mar: Alo's Hokuriku 1-0 FC Kariya
Sun 18 Mar: Arte Takasaki 1-0 Gainare Tottori
Sun 18 Mar: Honda FC 0-1 FC Gifu
Sun 18 Mar: Rosso Kumamoto 2-1 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sun 18 Mar: Sagawa Kyubin SC 1-0 TDK SC
Sun 18 Mar: Sony Sendai 0-1 JEF Reserves
Sun 18 Mar: Tochigi SC 1-0 FC Ryukyu
Sun 18 Mar: YKK AP 4-2 Mitsubishi Mizushima
Sun 18 Mar: Yokogawa Musashino 2-1 Sagawa Printing

18 Mar 07 - It all means that Tochigi have beaten Ryukyu, anyway

It all means that Tochigi have beaten Ryukyu, anyway
JFL 2007 Preview
Predicting the outcome of a whole league season is by definition a fantastically difficult thing to do, but it is possible to draw general conclusions about how the JFL might end up. This is because in recent years, the participating teams have effectively divided themselves into four very defined groups, with an elite battling it out for the title at the top; a fringe group of clubs not quite good enough to join them; a big gap to a third cluster who are still too good to be drawn into the dogfight at the bottom; and then, of course, the real strugglers.

It looks likely that in 2007 this pattern will continue, with champions Honda FC, Rosso Kumamoto and Sagawa Kyubin SC the most obvious title contenders. Honda have lost coach Hideo Yoshizawa and a number of experienced squad members, such as forward Shigeru Suzuki - but it is difficult to discount a club with such a formidable record at JFL level, even if on paper they are weaker than was the case twelve months ago.

Rosso coach Tomoyoshi Ikeya knows that realistically he will have only one more chance to deliver the dream of J-League football to Kumamoto. After the slump in form towards the end of 2006, there has been a huge turnover of players during the close season, the most notable arrivals being midfielder Tetsuhiro Kina from Tokyo Verdy 1969 and ex-international defender Kenichi Uemura, who has most recently had a spell at Kanto League side YSCC. But Yoshio Kitagawa and Yosuke Kobayashi - formerly of Alo's Hokuriku and Yokogawa Musashino respectively - both have excellent scoring records at this level, and Rosso look able to offer a genuinely potent strikeforce.

The other obvious possible title winners are the newly-merged Sagawa Kyubin SC, on the ostensibly simple basis that a third-placed team combined with a second-placed team really should provide an effective challenge. Masafumi Nakaguchi, previously boss at Sagawa Kyubin Osaka, is the man charged with welding the two squads together, although he has lost ex-Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo top scorer Tetsuya Okubo to the J-League and Kashiwa Reysol.

To be found in the next group of teams when gazing into JNFN's crystal ball are Alo's Hokuriku, FC Gifu, Tochigi SC, YKK AP and Yokogawa Musashino. Alo's have acted wisely to bring in Yuuya Nagatomi from Ehime FC in order to replace the above-mentioned Yoshio Kitagawa, but otherwise fall short in terms of overall quality; while Toyama neighbours YKK have lost loanee striker Hiroki Kishida back to Vissel Kobe and will be hoping that Sho Kitano, who travels in the opposite direction, forms a similarly effective partnership with the legendary Mitsuru Hasegawa.

Newcomers FC Gifu achieved promotion in part by peppering their squad with a tremendous amount of J-League experience, including the likes of Tetsuya Ito, Naoki Hiraoka, Yasuhiro Yoshida and Yasuyuki Moriyama. But there must be a question mark around their stamina to last the course of a lengthy season involving huge amounts of travel - and as Rosso Kumamoto demonstrated last year, the transition from Regional League to JFL is not an easy one, no matter how great the ambition and desire within a club.

For this reason, it is arguably Tochigi SC who appear best-equipped to mount a challenge to the front-runners. The club's management has stepped up its funding in support of coach Takashi Takahashi, who has brought in forwards Satoshi Yokoyama (ex-Shonan Bellmare) and Yoshiteru Yamashita from Kashiwa Reysol. Perhaps the vital cogs in the Tochigi machine, however, remain midfield duo Kenta Nagai and Kentaro Yoshida.

Yokogawa Musashino, meanwhile, have emerged from the pack in the last couple of years to become the highest-ranked amateur team in the division. They may find it difficult to sustain that position this year, but should still finish above halfway. Making varying levels of effort to join them will perhaps be FC Kariya, Gainare Tottori, JEF Reserves, Sagawa Printing and TDK SC.

Sagawa had a disastrous 2006 and have shifted a good number of players in the intervening months. They have been replaced by only a handful - but as these include former Ehime FC pair Kazuhisa Hamaoka and Hirokazu Otsubo, who both have very considerable experience in the JFL, the quality at the disposal of coach Yuji Hashimoto looks much improved.

There is less of a track record to most of FC Kariya's incomers and it is improbable that they will this year be able to make the major breakthrough towards which club management are working. In a comparable position are Gainare Tottori, who nevertheless achieved J-League associate membership alongside Tochigi, but experienced coach Koji Mizuguchi will have done extremely well if he is able to achieve something like a top eight finish.

Hard to forecast are JEF Reserves, who in their JFL debut season last year scored wildly unpredictable results, but with the professional infrastructure of JEF United behind them ought to be able to pull together enough victories to stay away from the bottom group. TDK SC, fresh from their Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off victory, may find life tougher and will rely to a great extent on the pro experience of striker Masatoshi Matsuda and the versatile Hideaki Tominaga.

Which leaves a group of five teams battling to avoid Honda Lock's experience at the end of 2006 - relegation back to the Regional Leagues. Arte Takasaki have suffered from real financial hardship and lost virtually half their squad in the middle of last season. Argentinian / Italian coach Jorge "Pipo" Rossi faces an extremely difficult task in reversing their decline, although Brazilian star Amaral, now 40, remains on the playing staff.

Another team to suffer during 2006 were Sony Sendai, whose form collapsed entirely during the second half of the year. The incoming players seem to add little to an already weak squad and it's therefore hard to imagine anything other than a very tough 2007; the same can also be said of Mitsubishi Mizushima, who have a vast squad apparently populated in the main by ex-high school players and Sagawa Printing cast-offs. This could be the year that the Okayama-based club return to the Chugoku League.

Elsewhere, to be fair there are signs of improvement at Ibaraki's Ryutsu Keizai University, but they inevitably find it tricky to compete alongside good semi-pro clubs when their players - for obvious reasons - lack experience. And last of all, FC Ryukyu would appear lately to have dropped talk of J-League associate membership, and while they have done exceptionally well to recruit Hideo Yoshizawa as coach from Honda FC, the squad with which he has to work is paper thin. All in all, the set-up in Okinawa is a long way from what Yoshizawa will be used to and a finish outside of the bottom half-dozen would constitute a good year's work.
JFL News In Brief
... ahead of Sunday's big JFL kick-off, Sagawa Kyubin SC lost 4-1 on Thursday in a friendly against neighbours Kyoto Sanga... FC Kariya have signed two further players late on. Mario Mase is a midfield player from Biwako Seikei Sport College, while keeper Kenji Morita joins from nearby Miyoshi High School... Tochigi SC have also recruited one additional member to their squad, in the shape of In Su Che from Korea University... Asia University defender Ryo Yamamoto has signed for Sony Sendai...
Regional League News In Brief
Two mid-ranking but ambitious Regional League teams have released details of the squads which they hope will enable them to make a stronger push for promotion to the JFL in 2007. Okinawa Kariyushi and Fervorosa Hakusan Ishikawa both performed well last season - in the Kyushu and Hokushinetsu Leagues respectively - but were nevertheless out of their depth in competition with better-backed local clubs, such as V Varen Nagasaki and Matsumoto Yamaga Club.

Kariyushi, however, have brought in a number of players from JFL sides, including keeper Hiroki Hamamura from SC Tottori, former Honda Lock duo Shogo Horiuchi and Kazumasa Asami, and diminutive young midfielder Kenshiro Higa from neighbours FC Ryukyu. It's unlikely that these newcomers will enable them to challenge the likes of V Varen, New Wave Kitakyushu or indeed relegated Honda Lock - but this constitutes a step up for the club, who can perhaps now look forward to a season of progress.

14 Mar 07 - The 2007 Okinawa Kariyushi squad, stuffed full of Ganbaro

The 2007 Okinawa Kariyushi squad, stuffed full of Ganbaro

Up in Ishikawa prefecture, meanwhile, things are looking yet more positive for Fervorosa. Having ended up last year further off the pace in their own league than were Kariyushi in theirs, it could be that 2007 will see them at least have some impact upon the destination of the Hokushinetsu title, even if the team may still lag a little behind AC Nagano Parceiro or Japan Soccer College in terms of strength in depth.

As previously reported here on JNFN, Fervorosa management have taken the brave step of bringing in two Slovenian players - former U21 internationals - in the shape of midfielder Jaka Jakopic and defender Milan Andelkovic. Striker Yutaro Abe, on loan from Montedio Yamagata and previously with Yokohama F Marinos, is the other key signing, but the club have sought to strengthen across the board.

A glut of players also make the move down from Japan Soccer College, but Yusuke Kawada, a forward, and keeper Shuichi Mizukami have both spent time at Alo's Hokuriku, while Hiroyuki Kobayashi joins from J1 newcomers Yokohama FC, having previously been on the books at Kawasaki Frontale and Urawa Reds.
JFL News In Brief
... FC Ryukyu beat Gushikawa High School 4-1 in their Sunday friendly game, two goals coming from former Saitama SC striker Go Ishii... but TDK SC lost 1-0 to Vissel Kobe on Tuesday...

13 Mar 07 - FC Ryukyu’s Go Ishii

FC Ryukyu’s Go Ishii
Regional League News In Brief
... Fagiano Okayama of Chugoku defeated Shikoku's Nangoku Kochi 3-0 in their Sunday practice game... ... in Shikoku, Ehime's Ventana AC lost 4-2 on Sunday against Nitta High School in a 3 x 45 mins warm-up game... AC Nagano Parceiro of the Hokushinetsu League lost 3-2 to the JFL's Alo's Hokuriku on the same day... Nagano's rivals Matsumoto Yamaga Club went down 2-1 to Aoyama Gakuin University in a 3 x 45 mins encounter...

... the Hokushinetsu League is likely to be one of the most fiercely contested this season and Valiente Toyama are the latest club to enter the fray. They continued their preparations for the big kick off on 8th April with a 5-1 win on Saturday over Toyama University in a 2 x 45 mins + 1 x 30 mins match... on Sunday, they also drew 0-0 with Saurcos Fukui - formerly known as FC Kanazu - and 1-1 with Zweigen Kanazawa. Busy lads...

11 Mar 07 - No idea what’s going on here, but it’s one of the Valiente matches

No idea what’s going on here, but it’s one of the Valiente matches

... Kyushu League 2006 champions V Varen Nagasaki have released details of the squad they hope will retain the title this season, in the face of stiff competition from the likes of New Wave Kitakyushu and relegated Honda Lock. The 21-man squad includes nine players on what are described as pro contracts. Among them are 35-year-old midfielder Takeo Harada, who began his lengthy J-League career at the now-defunct Yokohama Flugels before moving to Cerezo Osaka, Kawasaki Frontale, Oita Trinita and Avispa Fukuoka. Harada is likely to play alongside Yoshiya Takemura, 33, who appeared in the J-League for Shonan Bellmare, Mito Hollyhock, Oita, Omiya Ardija and Sagan Tosu...
JFL News In Brief
... and a whole stack more friendlies from this weekend... on Saturday, FC Ryukyu did over local Okinawa-based Yokatsu High School 6-0... Ryutsu Keizai University staged three matches in Kyushu, beating ex-JFL side Honda Lock 4-1 and Daiichi University College of Economics 7-0, before going down 5-3 to Miyazaki Sankei University... but Arte Takasaki were humiliated 5-1 by Gunma Prefectural League outfit Tonan SC Gunma...

14 Mar 07 - FC Kariya and Yokohama FC, all in a tangle

FC Kariya and Yokohama FC, all in a tangle

... then on Sunday, Yokogawa Musashino drew 1-1 in an interesting game with potential Kanto League big guns FC Machida Zelvia... Rosso Kumamoto overcame Nippon Bunri University 2-1... FC Kariya gained a good 2-0 win over a Yokohama FC XI to continue their encouraging pre-season... Tochigi SC thrashed Tokai Leaguers Chukyo University 7-1, including two goals apiece for Tsuyoshi Kaneko and midfield star Kentaro Yoshida... and Honda FC saw off their neighbours from Shizuoka Sangyo University 6-0...
JFL News In Brief
... Just one week to go now until the start of the 2007 JFL season and of course there are more friendlies going on all the time... Ryutsu Keizai University crushed Shizuoka University 8-4 on Friday... on Saturday, Rosso Kumamoto gained a narrow 2-1 win over their Kyushu League neighbours V Varen Nagasaki, with goals from Mitsuhiro Seki and newly-arrived ex-Vissel Kobe midfielder Tomoaki Komorida...

... Vissel themselves drew 2-2 at Gainare Tottori... local rivals FC Gifu and FC Kariya shared a 1-1 draw... and Yokogawa Musashino managed a 2-1 win against Matsumoto Yamaga Club from the Hokushinetsu League...
JFL News In Brief
... ex-Grulla Morioka midfielder Shogo Sakurai has joined Kansai League Division 1 newcomers FC Kyoto BAMB 1993, having departed from Sagawa Printing at the end of last year... by coincidence, on Wednesday Sagawa claimed a narrow 4-3 friendly win over BAMB's rivals Banditonce Kobe... on Thursday, Honda FC lost 2-0 to Jubilo Iwata...
JFL News In Brief
... former Kokushikan University goalkeeper Yoshihiro Kaneko has returned to Yokogawa Musashino from Tokai League team Shizuoka FC...

08 Mar 07 - Laughing boy Yoshihiro Kaneko

Laughing boy Kaneko
Regional League News In Brief
... sketchy details have emerged of the 2007 squad of Tokai League outfit Shizuoka FC. Having missed out on promotion to the JFL last season, coach Masaaki Takada would appear to have left the club and there are only sixteen players currently on their books... new arrivals nevertheless include striker Atsushi Yoshimoto from Thespa Kusatsu and former Matsumoto Yamaga Club duo Koji Shirasaka and Ri Bon Il... meanwhile in Kansai, Banditonce Kobe have further strengthened their squad in preparation for promotion push by signing former Ehime FC defender Kenichi Yagara...
JFL News In Brief
... a bunch of Wednesday friendly matches to report on... FC Kariya lost 4-1 to FC Tokyo, while FC Gifu went down 5-2 to Gamba Osaka... Gainare Tottori managed a 1-0 win over Tokushima Vortis... Sagawa Kyubin SC beat a Vissel Kobe U21 side 4-2... and Sony Sendai defeated Tohoku Gakuin University 3-0...

07 Mar 07 - FC Kariya in their groovy green kit clash with FC Tokyo

FC Kariya in their groovy green kit clash with FC Tokyo
JFL News In Brief
... some more friendlies from the early part of this week... on Monday, Sony Sendai beat Mito Hollyhock 2-1... and Mitsubishi Mizushima had an exciting game against Chugoku League team FC Central Chugoku from Shimane prefecture, winning 6-4... Honda FC picked up a 2-2 draw against Miyazaki Sangyo-Keiei University on Tuesday...
JFL News In Brief
... Just a couple of JFL friendlies from Monday to report. FC Gifu claimed a creditable 1-1 draw against neighbours Nagoya Grampus 8, the goal coming from ex-TDK SC player Satoshi Sato... meanwhile YKK AP strolled to a 5-0 win over Hokushinetsu League Division 2 side Toyama Shinjo Club. Scorers were new striker Hironori Saruta, Michiharu Otagiri, Kohei Onishi and two from star midfielder Yu Hoshide...

06 Mar 07 - FC Gifu midfield man Satoshi Sato

FC Gifu midfield man Satoshi Sato
Regional League News In Brief
... Fagiano Okayama were defeated 2-1 by J2 side Cerezo Osaka in their friendly on Sunday. The Chugoku League champions' goal was scored by teenage midfielder Kenta Tsurumaki, a recent signing from Tokyo Verdy 1969... Kyushu League title holders V Varen Nagasaki crushed Kyushu INAX 10-1 in a 2 x 45 mins 1 x 30 mins training match... in Kanto, likely challengers FC Machida Zelvia staged a 2 x 40 mins 2 x 30 mins match against Toho Titanium and notched up an 8-3 victory...
JFL News In Brief
... lots more friendly matches over the weekend, with the new JFL season just two weeks away... on Saturday, Arte Takasaki overcame AC Nagano Parceiro from the Hokushinetsu League for a 4-2 win. 21-year-old midfielder Yudai Iwama was twice on target for Arte. The other four games were all draws... YKK AP were held 3-3 by another Hokushinetsu League team, Zweigen Kanazawa, Hiro Morikawa picking up a brace for the Toyama-based team...

... Gainare Tottori's sluggish pre-season continued with a 2-2 draw against Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe... but FC Ryukyu could only manage the same scoreline against Nishihara High School, both their goals coming from Fukutaro Kuroda... the match of the day, however, was undoubtedly Rosso Kumamoto against Honda FC. Yoshio Kitagawa opened the scoring for Rosso in the fifth minute, only for the 2006 JFL champions to equalise through Daiju Kawashima thirteen minutes later...

06 Mar 07 - Daiju Kawashima, Honda FC striker

Daiju Kawashima, Honda FC striker

... on Sunday, Rosso had an easier time of it in a 3-0 defeat of New Wave Kitakyushu, thanks to goals from defender Takumi Morikawa and midfield pair Mitsuhiro Seki and Yuichi Yamauchi... Cerezo Osaka beat Sagawa Kyubin SC 5-1... Gainare Tottori went down 2-1 to Kyoto Sanga reserves... FC Ryukyu beat their neighbours from the Kyushu League Kaiho Bank SC 3-0... and Yokogawa Musashino thumped Tochigi SC 4-1...

04 Mar 07 - Tochigi in white take on Yokogawa Musashino

Tochigi in white take on Yokogawa Musashino
JFL News In Brief
... Tochigi SC claimed a 2-1 win over Kokushikan University in their friendly game on Friday. On target were new signing from Shonan Bellmare Satoshi Yokoyama and midfielder Akihiro Tadaki...
From TOP To...
Hokushinetsu League Division 2 outfit TOP Niigata have announced a change of name to Granscena Niigata. Although there is a stated intention of reaching the JFL, the focus of the new club seems really to be more as a local organisation providing football training for various sectors of the community under the tutelage of Kunishige Kamamoto, the legendary Japanese international striker who was part of the bronze medal winning team at the Mexico '68 Olympics.

06 Mar 07 - Granscena Niigata’s badge

Granscena Niigata’s badge

The club have their roots in the Niigatashuyukai side that first appeared in the Hokushinetsu League in 1998. Having performed reasonably solidly for several seasons, in 2003 they picked up just five points in the whole year to end up bottom of the table. The following season, merged with Niigata Prefectural League team Niigata Napoli under the name TOP Niigata, they appeared in the newly-formed Hokushinetsu League Division 2. Since that time, TOP have improved steadily and last year missed out on a Promotion Play-off place only on goal difference.
Regional League News In Brief
Shinichi Kotani is another player to leave Honda Lock following their relegation from the JFL to the Kyushu League. The midfielder has moved to Miyazaki Prefectural League team Hyuga Taiyo 1973... Tochigi SC's former Yaita SC midfield player Takashi Nakagawa has gone back to the Kanto League and signed for Hitachi Tochigi Uva...
JFL News In Brief
... more JFL friendly news to report on... on Wednesday, Arte Takasaki were crushed 5-0 by J1 outfit Ventforet Kofu... but Sagawa Printing embarrassingly lost 1-0 to Kansai League Division 1 newcomers FC Kyoto BAMB 1993... midfielder Keigo Kawashima scored all four goals as Honda FC picked up a 4-0 win over Shizuoka University... meanwhile, expected title challengers Rosso Kumamoto have strengthened their squad with two more defenders - Taku Matsumoto from Prefectural League side FCK Marrygold Kumamoto, and Koji Ota from Tokyo University of Agriculture. Matsumoto used to play for Rosso's predecessor club, Alouette Kumamoto...
Regional League News In Brief
... Kazunori Jo and former star midfield player Yoshihide Ogushi have left Honda Lock for Miyazaki League side Estrela Miyazaki. Estrela are the latest manifestation of the old Sun Miyazaki club, who as Profesor Miyazaki played JFL football as recently as 2002...
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