Cerezo Osaka is a professional soccer club in the J. League. Their home towns are Osaka and Sakai in Osaka prefecture and their home stadiums are the Kincho Stadium (soccer stadium) and the Yanmar Stadium Nagai (track-and-field stadium).
The club was originally founded in 1957 under the name Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club. During the club’s heyday, in the 1970s, they were led by the undisputed aces of the Japanese national team – Kunishige Kamamoto and Nelson Yoshimura, who was born to a Japanese family in Brazil. Together they won the JSL 4 times and the Emperor’s Cup 3 times.
In 1993, when the J. League first started, Cerezo Osaka came into existence from with Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club as the parent organization. In 1994, they won the JFL championship, and the next year, in 1995, they joined the J. League.
On top of that, in the Emperor’s Cup that was held the same year, they continued their winning streak by tearing through Verdy Kawasaki, Urawa Reds, and the Yokohama Marinos, finally stopping in 2nd place.
After Cerezo promoted to the J. League, they continued to have poor season without any results, but in 2000 they swept through the competition in the first stage thanks to the aggressive attacking playing style of Japanese national team players Akinori Nishizawa and Hiroaki Morishima, and Korean national team player Noh Jung-yoon.
In their final match against Kawasaki Frontale, they were in a situation where they would have won the championship, if they could secured the home game. Sadly, they were taken out with a golden goal. In the end, Yokohama F. Marinos snatched the championship title from them.
In 2001 and 2003, they again came close to earning a title when they made it to the finals of the Emperor’s Cup, but in both cases they failed to rise to the challenge and finished in 2nd place.
Moreover, in 2001, 2006 and 2015, Cerezo experienced relegation to J2 for a total of 3 times. Their rival team, Gamba Osaka, who also had a home stadium in Osaka, continued to leave Cerezo trailing behind in results for many years.
However, in 2014, the Uruguay national team player, Diego Forlan, who had earned the MVP and leading scorer titles in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, joined Cerezo. Besides, many young talented Japanese players were born from Cerezo. For example, Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund, Takashi Inui from Real Betis and Takumi Minamino from FC Red Bull Salzburg
are currently playing in European clubs.
Aside from them, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Yoichiro Kakitani, Hotaru Yamaguchi, who have also have experienced playing in foreign teams, were the central players of the team in 2017 when Cerezo Osaka achieved their first title by winning both the J. League Cup and the Emperor’s Cup.
In the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP, which was held before the opening game of the 2018 season, they also won 3-2 against the 2017 J1 kings, Kawasaki Frontale, and secured their first championship victory.
The club’s home jersey is pink and their supplier since 2015 has been Puma. Their jerseys have logos of their sponsors like YANMAR, Nipponham, KINCHO, SINGHA BEER, and others.