Ventforet Kofu is a professional soccer club in the J. League. Their home town is the entire Yamanashi prefecture, focusing mainly on Kofu and Nirasaki cities. Their home stadium is the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium.
The club was originally established in 1965 under the name Kofu Soccer club, and during their amateur period, they participated in JSL2 and JFL. In 1995, they changed their name to Ventforet Kofu, and they have been playing in the J. League’s 2nd division since 1999.
After promoting to J2, they finished in last place for 3 consecutive years, which made it very difficult to acquire sponsors for their jerseys. With the drastic decline in advertisement revenue and growing concerns about low visitor numbers, the club fell into a financial crisis.
However, when Ventforet pulled through their crisis, they finally managed to escape last place and finish 7th in the 2002 season. In 2005, their season ended with 3rd place, and in the J1-J2 promotion matches, they went up against Kashiwa Reysol and after their consecutive wins, Ventforet earned their first promotion to J1.
In 2006 when they first promoted to J1, they bolstered their team while operating with a limited budget, and while they did manage to win against Yokohama F. Marinos, Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka, they still struggled to produce results and placed 15th out of 18 teams.
They hoped to recover in 2007, however their results didn’t change. In the end, they finished in 17th place and relegated to J2 in two seasons.
After that they went back and forth between J1 and J2, becoming one of the elevator clubs. Since the club’s name change, they have accumulated a record of 3 promotions to J1 and 4 relegations to J2.
Because of experiencing fourth relation in 2017, the club has been working hard to climb back to J1 in 2018 season.
One of the most well known player from Ventforet Kofu is Mike Havenaar. Havenaar was born in Hiroshima in 1993 and he became a Japanese citizen together with his entire family during the period when his father Dido – a former J. League player, who is originally from the Netherlands – was in Mazda Soccer Club as both coach and player.
He first played in Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and Yokohama F. Marinos’ youth teams and eventually made his debut in Marinos’ top team. When he was in Ventforet Kofu in 2010, he scored 20 goals and led his team to J1 as the top scorer in J2.
On top of that, he was also invited into the Japanese nation team. In December of 2011, he transferred to SBV Vitesse in the Netherlands 1st division football league Eredivisie, where he played for 3 seasons and scored 26 goals in a total of 79 matches. He took a leap from Kofu and spread his wings on to the world stage.
The club’s home jersey is blue color and their supplier since 2011 has been Mizuno. Ventforet’s jerseys are decorated with logos of their local sponsors like Hakubaku, Koike, The Yamanashi Chuo Bank and other local companies.