Kawasaki Frontale is a professional soccer club in the J. League. Their home town is Kawasaki city in Kanagawa prefecture, and their home stadium is the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium.
The team was originally founded in 1955 under the name Fujitsu Soccer Club, and in 1992 they joined the Japan Football League (JFL). In 1997, they became J. League associates and changed their name to the present day Kawasaki Frontale.
In order to make it into top 2, which was the prerequisite for promoting to the J. League, they used hefty investments from their parent company Fujitsu to bolster the team. Also, influenced by their business partnership with Brazil’s Gremio, the team changed their uniform colors to light blue and black, which is still used to this day.
Fujitsu’s employees, who used to be the main players in matches, were benched, and the team set out to promote to the J. League in a year with a lineup that focused on former J. League players, but they ended up finishing in 3rd place after Hokkaido Consadole and Tokyo Gas, and let their chance to promote slip by with only a single point
In 1998 they also came in 2nd in JFL after Tokyo Gas. However, because Tokyo Gas wasn’t a J. League associate, Frontale ended up in the play-off matches to enter J1. In the first play-off match against Avispa Fukuoka, they lost with a 2-3 score. Thus they couldn’t promote to J1, but were able to enter the newly founded J2 League.
After that, in 1999, they finally achieved their long desired promotion to J1 after shining as the champions of J2. When they first faced the challenges of J1, the following year, in 2000, they finished as the semifinalists in the Nabisco Cup, while they had poor results in their league matches, finishing in last place and relegating back to J2 in 1 year.
After the end of the season, many reforms took place and the team’s best players, and main players since the JFL days, and most of the staff left. Kawasaki Frontale, who spent 4 seasons in J2 since 2001, hired Takashi Sekizuka, who used to be the coach for Kashima Antlers, as their new manager in 2004.
This was the turning point, after which they won first place with a big lead and achieved their 2nd J2 championship victory in 5 years, which propelled them to J1.
Sekizuka continued to lead the team after they promoted to J1, and raised Frontale to become a team that could compete for the top positions even in J1. After leaving the team, he became the manager of the U-23 Japan national team in 2012, and he led the team to the best of 4 in the London Olympics.
Also, successfully converting their team captain, Kengo Nakamura, to a defensive midfielder position, landed Nakamura the J. League Best Eleven title for 5 years in a row since 2006, on top of which, he was selected for the Japan national team, which helped him develop as a player.
As the club showed better performance, hopes started to rise from both the players and the supporters for getting a title, however they continued to falter when the title was just in reach and showed their inability to rise to the challenge as they had three times 2nd place finishes, twice 3rd place finishes, once 2nd place finish in the Emperor’s Cup, and four times 2nd place finishes in the J. League Cup.
Amidst all of that, in the 2017 J1 League final match day, Kawasaki Frontale, who had made it to 2nd place, scored a huge 5-0 victory in their home stadium, the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, against Omiya Ardija.
On the other hand, because the first place holders, Kashima Antlers, had a scoreless draw in the away match against Jubilo Iwata, Kawasaki and Kashima’s points were tied at 72, and as a result of the goal difference, their positions were reversed. Kawasaki Frontale had achieved their first major title after 21 years since their club was founded.
The team’s ace striker, Yu Kobayashi, scored 23 goals and was thus awarded the top scorer and MVP titles. Following Kengo Nakamura in 2016, for 2 years in a row, the J. League MVP award was selected from Frontale.
The team’s jersey is light blue and black, and their supplier since 2011 has been Puma. Their jerseys have logos of sponsors like FUJITSU, SMBC Nikko Securities, Fujitsu Fsas, PFU LIMITED, and others.