INAC Kobe Leonessa are a professional soccer team that plays in the Japan Women’s Football League, the Nadeshiko League. Their home field is in Hyogo prefecture Kobe city. Currently they are in the 1st division of the Nadeshiko League and their home stadium is the Noevir Stadium Kobe, which is also used by Vissel Kobe.
In 2001 the general sports club known as INAC (International Athletic Club) was born, along with women’s soccer team Leonessa.
In 2003 they won Hyogo prefecture’s Women’s Football championship, in 2004 the Kansai Women’s Football League Division 1 championship, as well as made their appearance in The Empress’s Cup. In the following year of 2005 they were accepted into the L-League (Presently: Nadeshiko League).
The team’s colors are INAC red and INAC yellow, which are used in their noble looking team emblem that also portraits their fighting spirit. In 2009 they changed their team name to INAC Kobe Leonessa and in the next year they won the Empress’s Cup, earning them their first major title after the club was launched.
In 2011 women’s football legends like Homare Sawa, Shinobu Ohno, Yukari Kinga and some other Japan National tema players joined the team and brought about the golden age of the club by winning 3 Nadeshiko League championships 3 times in a row up to 2013 and 4 consecutive Empress’s Cups starting from 2010.
More over, 7 players from Leonessa were called up for the national team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that was held in Germany. In the semi-finals vs Sweden and in the final vs America, 5 of those players were starting players in the team. Homare Sawa, who led Nadeshiko Japan to the World Champion was also awarded titles for Top Scorer, MVP of the tournament and also FIFA World Player of the Year for her brilliant achievements.
As a result of the World Cup victory, Leonessa, that have several players from the national team, saw a surge in their fan base and match visitors count. However after players like Sawa and the “guardian angel ” Ayumi Kaihori retired in 2015 and Nahomi Kawasumi transferred to NWSL’s Seattle Reign FC, the sparked popularity has died down with new generation replacing the old.
The team’s home jersey is red and they are supplied by “Hummel International”. Their jerseys have sponsor logos from Raw Cane Sugar Sticks, “Sapporo Ichiban” and others.