Machida Zelvia was formed in 1989, though it can trace its roots back to 1977 when a club was formed under the name of Machida FC. In 1989, the club had reached the top of the amateur pyramid in western Tokyo and in preparation for the next step, it reformed as as Machida Zelvia. Originally the team wanted to call itself "Zelkova". after the Zelkova (Keyaki) tree which is the official symbol of Machida city. However, the name Zelkova had already been registered as a trademark, so the current name was adopted, and team officials explained that it had been derived by adding "Zelkova" to the name of a species of grass -- "Salvia" -- often used for football pitches . Zelkova + Salvia = Zelvia. Simple arithmetic, right? Apparently Machida Zelvia viewed itself as the ultimate in "Grass Roots team development".
The team's mascot is a crested kingfisher named Zelvy-kun, who was introduced in 2009 as the team prepared for the last spurt of effort to climb into the pro ranks. The team hired former Kashima Antlers wingback Naoki Soma as coach, and brought in a large number of players with previous J.League experience. While this strategy had marvelous results on the pitch, Machida still lacked the infrastructure needed to receive J.League approval. The biggest shortcoming was their stadium. Construction on Machida City's Notsuda Stadium was begun in 2011, and Zelvia was granted provisional status as a J.League team. The construction was completed in 2012 and though Zelvia slipped into the J3 briefly, just after the move to the new stadium, in 2016 it rebounded to the J2.