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Kashima Antlers
Kashima Antlers.svg
Full name Kashima Antlers F.C. Co., Ltd.
Founded 1947; 77 years ago (1947) as Sumitomo Metal FC
Ground Kashima Soccer Stadium
Ground Capacity 40,728
Owner Mercari
Chairman Fumiaki Koizumi
Manager Ranko Popović
League J1 League
2022 J1 League, 4th of 18

Kashima Antlers (鹿島アントラーズ, Kashima Antorāzu) are a professional football club based in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan. They currently play in the J1 League, the top tier of Japanese professional football leagues. The club has financial backing from Mercari, a Japanese e-commerce company.

Since the J.League's creation and introduction of professional Japanese football in 1993, Kashima have proven themselves to be by far Japan's most successful football club in terms of trophies won, having won the J1 League title a record 8 times, the J.League Cup a record 6 times. the Emperor's Cup 5 times and the Japanese Super Cup a record 6 times for an unprecedented nineteen major domestic titles. Continentally, Kashima became Asian champions when they won the AFC Champions League in 2018. The club also won the J.League Cup / Copa Sudamericana Championship on 2 occasions in 2012 and 2013.

Internationally, Kashima has made two appearances in the FIFA Club World Cup where in the 2016 edition, the club qualified as the host of the tournament. Kashima notably became the only club to qualified from the first round until the final where they would go on to lose to 2015–16 UEFA Champions League winners, Real Madrid 4–2 after extra time with Gaku Shibasaki scoring both goal for Kashima.

Kashima are also one of only two clubs to have competed in Japan's professional top-flight football every year since its inception (the other being Yokohama F. Marinos).


The name 'Antlers' is derived from the city of Kashima (鹿嶋), which literally translates to 'Deer Island'. The club crest not only resembles deer antlers but it also reflects the image of rose thorn as it is the official flower of Ibaraki, the home prefecture of the club. Deer are amiable animals and are viewed in some religions as spiritual messengers. In fact, Kashima Shrine, one of the most famous shrines in Japan and located in close proximity to the club headquarters, have kept and raised deer for more than 1,300 years as spiritual symbol. Deer are affectionate animals but are also known for their courageous character as they battle each other head-to-head with lethal antlers.

Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo 2011
Leonardo Araújo played for Kashima from 1994 to 1996.

Founded in 1947 as Sumitomo Metal Industries Factory Football Club in Osaka and moved to Kashima, Ibaraki in 1975. It played in the semi-professional Japan Soccer League (JSL). They were promoted to the JSL's top flight in 1984, but never made much of an impact, going down in 1985/86, returning in 1986/87 and going down again in 1988/89. Its last standing in the JSL was 2nd in the Second Division for 1991/92. In October 1991, Kashima Antlers FC Co., Ltd. was established with investment from 43 companies (at the time) from 5 local governments.

After the formation of the fully professional J.League, Sumitomo, like all other clubs, stripped the corporate brand from the club's name and reformed as the Kashima Antlers in April 1992. Kashima was essentially promoted to the new top flight, as many JSL First Division clubs decided to relegate themselves being unprepared for professionalism. (Of the original 10 J.League founding member clubs, Kashima and Shimizu S-Pulse were newly promoted. Ironically, Kashima had defeated a forerunner of Shimizu's, Nippon Light Metal/Hagoromo Club, to earn its JSL Second Division place back in 1974).

Since the J.League's creation and introduction of professional Japanese football in 1993, Kashima have consistently been amongst the strongest clubs in the country, holding several distinctions and records. Led by former Brazil national team star and Japan national team coach Zico in the club's formative years, Kashima were the first club to win a J.League stage, claiming the 1st stage of the inaugural season in 1993. This laid a platform for continuous greatness and long after the Kashima icon had departed, in 2000 Kashima became the first J.League club to achieve the "treble", by winning all three major titles: J.League, J.League Cup, and Emperor's Cup in the same year.

In recent times, by clinching the 2007 J.League title they became the first and only club in Japan to have won ten domestic titles in the professional era. In 2008 they became the first and only club to successfully defend the J.League title on two occasions. In 2009 they became the first and only club to win three consecutive J.League titles. With victories in back to back J.League Cups in 2011, 2012 and most recently followed by their 2015 victory, Kashima extended their unmatched record of major domestic titles in the professional era to seventeen.

ACL Final by Tasnim 3
Kashima Antlers celebrate after winning the 2018 AFC Champions League at the Azadi Stadium vs Persepolis

To this day, Kashima has maintained strong ties with the football community in Brazil, a fact borne out of Zico's past affiliation with the club. Kashima's Brazilian connection has manifested itself in both the club's player transfer and coaching policy resulting in only three non-Brazilian foreign players and predominantly Brazilian managers signing for Kashima since the inception of the J.League.

The population of Kashima city is a mere 60,000 and for that reason club has also adopted the surrounding cities of Itako, Kamisu, Namegata and Hokota as its official hometowns, all in Ibaraki Prefecture. The combined population of five cities is 280,000. Antlers home games are played at Kashima Soccer Stadium, one of the 2002 FIFA World Cup venues with capacity of 40,000.

During the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, Kashima became the first Asian club to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final and notably became the only club to qualified from the first round until the final following a 3–0 victory over South American winners, Atlético Nacional. In the final, after a 2–2 draw against European champions Real Madrid after 90 minutes, they were beaten 4–2 after extra time.

International affiliation

In 2017, Kashima established a base in New York where the club main objective is to investigate and apply advanced cases from the digital domain of the Major League Soccer while there are also opportunities to gather information in terms of player management and competition factors. Another reason comes in the form of establishing relationships to learn international strategy directly from the likes of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The relationship building hasn’t solely been with European clubs, and for the past two years regular meetings have been held at the head offices of MLS in order to deepen ties with the league and its clubs.

Kit and colours

Season(s) Kit manufacturer Main shirt sponsor Collarbone sponsor Additional sponsor(s)
2017 Nike Lixil Yellow Hat Riso Kagaku Corporation Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Eyeful Home
2018 Mercari
2019 Nippon Steel
2021 Merpay / kaneka Connect
2022 kaneka
2023 Takasago Thermal Engineering

Kit evolution

Home stadium

Kashima Stadium 1
Kashima Soccer Stadium

Kashima Soccer Stadium has been the home ground of Kashima since 26 March 1993. The Kashima Soccer Museum, opened in 2004 is set for wide-scale renewal, while the Wellness Plaza, established in 2006, is also in line for similar improvements, including the installation of a public bath. There is a real awareness of furthering stadium use on non-matchdays to ensure Kashima Stadium is a hub for the local region. On the other hand, the importance of Kashima Stadium as a sacred football ground will also increase. The stadium has been selected as a host venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, meaning it will international competition for the first time since the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Ahead of that, the stadium will also host the Ibaraki National Sports Festival this year, at which athletes will gather from all over the country.

In 2008 a 500-metre LED wraparound advertising board, the longest in Asia, was installed at the front of the second tier. In 2017, the latest large electronic screens were added to both the north and south stands as part of the commitment to improving the viewing environment for visitors.


Current squad


No. Position Player
1 Japan GK Tomoki Hayakawa
2 Japan DF Koki Anzai
4 Serbia MF Radomir Milosavljević
5 Japan DF Ikuma Sekigawa
7 Slovakia FW Aleksandar Čavrić (On loan from Slovan Bratislava)
8 Japan MF Shoma Doi
10 Japan MF Gaku Shibasaki (captain)
13 Japan FW Kei Chinen
14 Japan MF Yuta Higuchi
15 Japan MF Tomoya Fujii
16 Japan DF Hidehiro Sugai
25 Japan MF Kaishu Sano
26 Japan MF Naoki Sutoh
27 Japan MF Yuta Matsumura
28 Japan DF Shuhei Mizoguchi
No. Position Player
29 Japan GK Yuji Kajikawa
30 Japan MF Shintaro Nago
31 Japan GK Taiki Yamada
32 Japan DF Kimito Nono
33 Japan MF Hayato Nakama
34 Japan MF Yu Funabashi
36 Japan FW Shu Morooka
37 Japan FW Yuki Kakita
38 South Korea GK Park Eui-jeong
39 Japan DF Keisuke Tsukui
40 Japan FW Yuma Suzuki
41 Japan FW Homare Tokuda Type 2
42 Japan DF Haruto Matsumoto Type 2
55 Japan DF Naomichi Ueda (vice-captain)
77 Brazil MF Guilherme Parede (On loan from Talleres)

Out on loan

No. Position Player
Japan DF Naoki Hayashi (on loan at Tokyo Verdy)
Japan MF Ryotaro Araki (on loan at FC Tokyo)
Japan MF Ryotaro Nakamura (on loan at Shimizu S-Pulse)
No. Position Player
Japan MF Yoshihiro Shimoda (on loan at Iwaki FC)
Japan MF Yusuke Ogawa (on loan at FC Ryukyu)
Japan FW Itsuki Someno (on loan at Tokyo Verdy)

Club official

For the 2024 season.

Role Name
Technical advisor Brazil Zico
Manager Serbia Ranko Popović
Assistant manager Japan Ryuji Suzui
Goalkeeping coach Japan Yohei Sato
Technical staff Japan Suguru Arie
Strength coach Japan Hitoshi Otomo
Doctor Japan Hiroshi Jonouchi
Japan Jun Seki
Japan Ryo Matsunaga
Japan Takashi Sando
Japan Tomoo Ishii
Japan Toshiaki Nagamine
Physiotherapist Japan Atsushi Inaba
Japan Yoshihiko Nakagawa
Athletic trainer Japan Kenichi Nakata
Japan Toshihiro Hashimoto
Japan Tsukasa Ohashi
Interpreter Japan Kentaro Seki
Japan Kenta Kasai
Japan Masaya Kawakubo
South Korea Kim Young-ha
Competent Japan Yuji Takada
Side affairs Japan Keisuke Okawa
Japan Shinpei Okiji


ACL Final 2018 11
2018 AFC Champions League champions

As both Sumitomo Metal FC (1947–1991) and Kashima Antlers (1991–present)


  • J1 League (first tier)
    • Champions (8): 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016
  • JSL Division 2 (second tier)
    • Champions (2): 1984, 1986–87


  • Emperor's Cup
    • Winners (5): 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2016
  • J.League Cup
    • Winners (6): 1997, 2000, 2002, 2011, 2012, 2015
  • Japanese Super Cup
    • Winners (6): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2017
  • All Japan Senior Football Championship
    • Winners (1): 1973


  • AFC Champions League
    • Winners (1): 2018
  • Suruga Bank Championship
    • Winners (2): 2012, 2013
  • A3 Champions Cup
    • Winners (1): 2003

Personnel awards

  • J.League Player of the Year
  • J.League Top Scorer
  • J.League Best Eleven
  • J.League Rookie of the Year
  • J.League Manager of the Year

World Cup players

The following players have been selected by their country in the World Cup, while playing for Kashima Antlers:

Olympic players

The following players have represented their country at the Summer Olympic Games whilst playing for Kashima Antlers:

Manager history

Manager Nationality Tenure
Start Finish
Masakatsu Miyamoto  Japan January 1992 June 1994
Edu  Brazil June 1994 December 1995
João Carlos  Brazil January 1996 July 1998
Takashi Sekizuka (interim)  Japan July 1998
Zé Mário  Brazil July 1998 August 1999
Takashi Sekizuka (interim)  Japan August 1999
Zico (interim)  Brazil 20 August 1999 31 December 1999
Toninho Cerezo  Brazil 1 January 2000 30 December 2005
Paulo Autuori  Brazil 31 December 2005 29 November 2006
Oswaldo de Oliveira  Brazil 1 January 2007 31 December 2011
Jorginho  Brazil 1 January 2012 31 December 2012
Toninho Cerezo  Brazil 1 January 2013 22 July 2015
Masatada Ishii  Japan 23 July 2015 31 May 2017
Go Oiwa  Japan 31 May 2017 1 January 2020
Antônio Carlos Zago  Brazil 2 January 2020 3 April 2021
Naoki Soma (interim)  Japan 7 April 2021 5 December 2021
René Weiler  Switzerland 10 December 2021 7 August 2022
Daiki Iwamasa  Japan 8 August 2022 4 December 2023
Ranko Popović  Serbia 21 December 2023 Present

Record as J.League member

Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
Season Div. Tms. Pos. Avg. Attd. J.League Cup Emperor's Cup Super Cup Asia Others
1992 Semi-finals Quarter-finals
1993 J1 10 2nd 14,016 Group stage Runners-up
1994 12 3rd 16,812 1st round 1st round
1995 14 7th 19,141 Semi-finals
1996 16 1st 15,386 Group stage Quarter-finals
1997 17 2nd 16,985 Winner Winner Winner
1998 18 1st 15,345 Semi-finals Semi-finals Winner CC Quarter-finals
1999 16 9th 17,049 Runners-up Round of 16 Winner CWC 3rd place
2000 16 1st 17,507 Winner Winner CC Quarter-finals
2001 16 1st 22,425 Semi-finals Quarter-finals Runners-up
2002 16 4th 21,590 Winner Runners-up Runners-up CC Quarter-finals
2003 16 5th 21,204 Runners-up Semi-finals CL Group stage A3 Winner
2004 16 6th 17,585 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals
2005 18 3rd 18,641 Group stage Quarter-finals
2006 18 6th 15,433 Runners-up Semi-finals
2007 18 1st 16,239 Semi-finals Winner
2008 18 1st 19,714 Quarter-finals 5th round Runners-up CL Quarter-finals
2009 18 1st 21,617 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals Winner CL Round of 16
2010 18 4th 20,966 Quarter-finals Winner Winner CL Round of 16
2011 18 6th 16,156 Winner Round of 16 Runners-up CL Round of 16
2012 18 11th 15,381 Winner Semi-finals Suruga Winner
2013 18 5th 16,419 Quarter-finals Round of 16 Suruga Winner
2014 18 3rd 17,665 Group stage 2nd round
2015 18 5th 16,423 Winner 3rd round CL Group stage
2016 18 1st 19,103 Group stage Winner Suruga Runners-up
FIFA Runners-up
2017 18 2nd 20,467 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals Winner CL Round of 16
2018 18 3rd 20,547 Semi-finals Semi-finals CL Winner FIFA 4th place
2019 18 3rd 20,571 Semi-finals Runners-up CL Quarter-finals
2020 18 5th 6,466 Group stage Did not qualify CL Playoff
2021 20 4th 7,818 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals
2022 18 4th 16,161 Play-off stage Semi-finals
2023 18 5th 20,834 Quarter-finals 3rd round
2024 20 TBA
  • Attendance/G = Average home league attendance
  • 2020 & 2021 seasons attendances reduced by COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
  • Source: J.League Data Site

Former players

International capped players

  • South Korea Park Joo-ho
  • South Korea Lee Jung-soo


Year Slogan
1999 NEXT
2000 Glory Again– 原点からの挑戦–
(Challenge from the Beginning)
2001 - 勝利主義 Antlersism – FOR NEXT 10 YEARS
(Doctrine of Victory)
2002 - 進化 Antlersism – STAIRWAY TO THE WORLD
2003 OVER'03 – カシマからアジア、そして世界へ –
(From Kashima to Asia, then to the World)
2004 FOOTBALL DREAM 2004 – 奪冠10 –
(Take the Crown 10)
2005 FOOTBALL DREAM 2005 – 反撃宣言 –
(Declaration of Counter-Attack)
2006 FOOTBALL DREAM 2006 – 一新制覇 –
(Brand New Conquest)
魂 Spirits –
Year Slogan
2010 FOOTBALL DREAM 2010 – Evolução 新化 –
2013 RENASCIMENTO – 誇りを胸に –
(Rebirth – Carrying Pride in Our Hearts)
2014 SPECTACLE – 戦 –
Year Slogan
(On Display)
(Be the One)
(Hang on)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Kashima Antlers para niños

  • List of world champion football clubs and vice-world champions in football
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