Shimizu S-Pulse is a professional soccer club in the J. League. They are one of the original 10 clubs that entered the J. League when it was formed in 1993. The team’s home town is Shizuoka city, Shizuoka prefecture and their home stadium is the IAI Stadium Nihondaira.
The club was founded in 1991, and among the 10 clubs that competed in the J. Leagues opening games in 1993, they are the only club without a parent organization, nor did they have any previous experience in the Japan Soccer League (JSL).
The team’s first manager was Emerson Leao, who during his active career as a player was the Brazil national team’s goalkeeper and he appeared in the FIFA World Cup 4 times. He tried to raise S-Pulse into a regular contender for the championship title in the J. League and the Nabisco Cup, but they were unable to beat the strongest team at the time, Verdy Kawasaki, let their chance slip by when their were inches from the championship title.
In 1996, former Argentina national team player Osvaldo Ardiles was hired as the new manager. In the finals of the Nabisco cup S-Pulse again went up against their arch-enemy Tokyo Verdy, and after the penalty kicks they earned their long-awaited first title.
On top of that, in their league matches in 1999, they won 8 games in a row in the middle of the 2nd stage, and after beating Yokohama F. Marinos in the final, their hopes were answered with a glorious stage victory.
However, in the championship round against their rival team from Shimizu prefecture, Jubilo Iwata, they lost in the penatly kicks. Even though S-Pulse was leading in points at the league, they had to give up the seat to the throne.
The year 2001 went just like 2000, for 2 consecutive years they made it to the final of the Emperor’s Cup, and then in the final against Cerezo Osaka that was held on the New Year’s Day in 2002, the game went in to over time, where S-Pulse came out on top with a 3-2 score, earning them their first victory. This was the club’s third national level title.
But after the Emperor’s Cup victory in 2002, the team was stuck in a slump for a while as they continued to finish with double digit positions and often change managers.
In the middle of such a situation, an old member of S-Pulse and former Japan national team player, Kenta Hasegawa, was hired as the new manager in 2005. After that, the team once again became a capable of competing for the championship.
During the 6 years that Hasegawa was in charge, the team finished in 4th place twice in the league matches, and in the cup matches they made it to the final 3 times. All in all, before Hasegawa resigned the team achieved decent results. He later also managed Gamba Osaka, and raised his status as a manager after leading the team to 3 cup victories.
After Hasegawa left, S-Pulse’s results started to gradually decline again, and in the middle of the 2015 season the team wander off course when they changed managers when results were very poor.
In the 1st stage they finished in last place and in the 2nd stage they placed 17th, which was the clubs record lowest position, resulting in their relegation to J2.
Even though they were able to return to J1 after that, the current Shimizu S-Pulse lacks the strength it had when the J. League was first formed, and they continue to struggle.
Shimizu had famous foreign players like the Sweden national team Freddie Ljungberg, who has also played for Arsenal; the Italian national team player Daniele Massaro, who has scored countless goals in A.C. Milan.
The team has also had famous Japanese national team players like Shinji Ono, Naohiro Takahara, and Shinji Okazaki, who is currently playing for Leicester City. S-pulse’s home jersey is orange, and their supplier since 1997 has continued to be Puma. Their jerseys have logos of sponsors like Suzuyo, IAI, JAL, and others.