Albirex Niigata is a professional soccer club in the J. League. Their home towns are Niigata city and Seiro town. Their home stadium the Denka Big Swan Stadium.
The club was founded in 1955 under the former name Niigata Eleven Soccer Club and the founders were mostly the Old Boys of Niigata Meikun Senior High School. In 1991,the Niigata Prefectural Soccer Association set their sights on becoming candidates to hold the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
In an effort to invite the World Cup to Niigata, they needed to found a professional soccer club and enter the J. League. For that reason, they decided to focus their efforts strengthening Niigata Eleven SC, which at the time was part of the Hokushinetsu Football League and had experienced the Emperor’s Cup and also played in All Japan Adults Football Tournament. On top of that, they changed their team name to Albireo Niigata FC in 1995.
In 1997, they changed the team name again to the present name, Albirex Niigata, and won successive championships in the Hokushinetsu Football League. They were then accepted into the J2 League that would launch in 1999.
After promoting to J2, every year they bolstered their lines with players that had been benched or put to the sides, which included former national team players and J. League players.
In their league matches they fought hard to squeeze into the top ranks, but it ended up taking them 5 years before they could promote to J1.
In 2003, after merging victorious from a fierce battle with Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Kawasaki Frontale, they finally became champions of J2.
From 2004 they moved up to J1, however their best result in the regular season came in 2007 when they made it to 6 place. What is more, their best result in the J.League Cup came in 2015, when they were able to advance to the best of four for the first time. Which means that they had yet had a taste of any major title.
Still, they are one of the few clubs that haven’t relegated back after entering J1. That being said, from the opening match in 2017, they struggled to secure their 1 win in 10 matches.
Even changing the manager didn’t bear fruit, as they finished in 17th place that year. On their 14th year after promoting to J1, they experienced their first relegation to J2.
In 2018, people are eagerly watching the J2 matches to see if they are able to climb back to J1 within a year.
One of Albirex Niigata’s famous players is Gotoku Sakai, who is presently playing for Hamburger SV in Germany’s Bundesliga. Sakai was originally in Albirex Niigata’s youth team and he eventually made his debut in their top team. Before he transferred to VfB Stuttgart in the middle of the 2011 season, he appeared in 74 matches and scored 1 goal.
Their home jersey is orange color with blue and white. Their jersey suppliers since 2003 have been Adidas. Their jerseys and shorts have logos of their sponsors like Happyturn, Komeri, Niigatamai JA Zennou Niigata and Niigata Nippo.