Thespakusatsu Gunma are a professional soccer team in the J. League and currently playing in the J2 league. Their hometown is the entire Gunma prefecture, focusing mainly on Kusatsu and Maebashi city. As their home stadium they are using Shoda Shoyu Stadium Gunma.
The team’s predecessor was the Liaison Kusatsu FC that was formed in 1995 by players that were in the vocational school Higashi Nihon Soccer Academy. They started off in the 4th division of the Gunma Prefecture Amateur Soccer League and after consecutive promotions they changed their name to Thespakusatsu in 2002 when they were in the Gunma Prefecture League’s 1st division. By acquiring former national team goal keeper Nobuyuki Kojima, former Kashima Antlers defender Ryosuke Okuno and others, they dominated the same league and advanced to Kanto League’s 2nd division.
What is more, their 2003 Kanto League’s 2nd division victory, along with their 2004 3rd place finish in JFL earned them their place in the J. League. Next, in the 4th round of the 2004 Emperor’s Cup they beat Cerezo Osaka 2-1 and in the 5th round they beat that year’s J. League champions Yokohama F. Marinos 2-1, making it to the quarter finals.
However, after moving on to the J2 league in 2005, they have struggled every year and have been stuck in the bottom of the league. In the second half of 2005, the team’s managing company Kusatsu Onsen Football Club’s managerial issues emerged.
In 2013, there were more uplifting news when the club name was changed to Thespakusatsu Gunma and that their decision to reconstruct their home stadium would grant them the J1 license.
Although, the club’s harsh management conditions and poor performance continued.
One of the main players for Thespakusatsu Gunma is Nobuyuki Kojima. Kojima established himself as a regular goal keeper during his time with the Bellmare Hiratsuka. He also played as the 3rd goal keeper for the Japan National Team during the France World Cup in 1998. While playing for Thespa, he helped the team promote to J2 by simultaneously being a coach and a player.
The team’s home jersey has yellow vertical stripes and their supplier from 2003 has been FINTA. Their shirts are decorated with their sponsors Beisia, CAINZ and others.