Kyoto Sanga FC is a professional soccer team in the J. League, currently in J2. Their home town encompasses 8 cities and towns around Kyoto and Uiji cities. Their home stadium is the Kyoto Nishikyogoku Athletic Stadium.
The club was founded in 1922 under the name Kyoto Shiko Club, and in 1993, the public chose as the clubs new name the Kyoto Purple Sanga. In 1996, they entered the J. League and in 2007, they changed their club name to the present day Kyoto Sanga FC.
A year after the J. League was founded, in 1994, the team was recognized as a J. League associate. Once that happened, they started bolstering their team with former J. League players who had been left out of the action. In 1995, the team achieved 2nd place in the Japan Football League (JFL) and relegated to the J. League.
However, the J. League proved too difficult for the team they had put together. After the opening match they suffered 17 consecutive losses and hit rock bottom, finishing in 16th place.
After that, they strengthened their team with former Japan national team managers Hans Ooft and Shu Kamo, and Japan national team players like Kazuyoshi Miura and Hajime Moriyasu, yet they continued to struggle in 2 figure positions ever since they entered the J. League. Eventually, in 2002, they relegated to J2.
As Kazuyoshi Miura transferred to Vissel Kobe, Kyoto Sanga completely revitalized their team, after relegating to J2, with young upcoming stars like Teruaki Kurobe, Daisuke Matsui and Park Ji-sung.They dominated the J. League 2nd division and within one year they were back in J1, only this time, in 2002, they were able to main their fighting chances in J1, and made rapid progress by finishing in 5th place that year.
Moreover, in the final of the 82nd Emperor’s Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship Tournament that was held in the same year, they beat the Kashima Antlers and became the first Kansai based club to earn the title since they set foot in the J. League. As a result, Kurobe and Matsui were invited to the Japanese national team and South Korean Park Ji-sung transferred to PSV Eindhoven.
However, 2003 quickly turned into a disaster and made last year’s success seem like a fairy tale. Sanga again relegated to J2. Also, Sanga’s Kyoto born player Daisuke Matsui transferred to French club Le Mans FC in September of 2004 and their ace striker Teruaki Kurobe moved to Cerezo Osaka before the 2005 season opening match, which left Sanga in a difficult spot.
The team became an elevator club, since they repeatedly promoted and relegated between J1 and J2. From 2011 and onward, they’ve had their hands full with J2.
Kyoto Sanga FC’s most notable players are the above- mentioned Daisuke Matsui and Park Ji-sung. They both joined the team in 2000 and their contributions helped the team win the Emperor’s Cup. After that, Park Ji-sung played for PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United, and he was the first Asian player to play in the UEFA Champions League final and win the Big Year trophy.
On the other hand, Matsui played in French league teams like Le Mans FC, AS Saint-Etienne, Grenoble Foot 38, as well as appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Kyoto Sanga FC’s home jersey is purple and their supplier is the clothing producer Wacoal that have their headquarters in Kyoto city. The team’s jersey has logos of local sponsors like KYOCERA Corporation, Nintendo, The Bank of Kyoto, and others.