Wednesday, 20 January 2021

 

As the term "United" suggests, this team traces its lineage back to several Kagoshima-area teams that merged in 2014 in order to fulfill the criteria for J.League admission. The largest of the component parts was formed in 1959, under the name "Kagoshima Soccer Kyoindan" (Kagoshima Soccer Teachers Club), and was one of the founding members of the Kyushu League, in 1972. It remained one of the most competitive football organizations in southern Kyushu, but while teams in the northern half of the island began to adopt professional structures and consider joining the J.League, Kagoshima remained something of a football backwater. Its high schools produced lots of talented players, including National Team stars like Yasuhito and Akihiro Endo, Masashi Motoyama and Yuya Osako, but there was no local club, corporation or university to keep talented players in their home town after high school. 

In 1995, the future Kagoshima United took the first tentative step by changing its name to "Volca Kagoshima", and trying to establish a local identity. The term "Volca was derived from the word volcano -- an apt name for a city just across the bay from Japan's most active volcano. On days when the volcano is a bit more active than usual, one can literally sit in the stands of Kamoike Stadium and watch smoke rise from the distant peak of Sakurajima while the players burn up the pitch. Volca's team identity was very well crafted, and despite a relative lack of financing and corporate organizational support, it started to gain a good grassroots fan base. The team logos and identifying colours set a good example for team builders to use later, when Kagoshima United was created.

 

A breif spurt of relatively strong finishes followed this name change. In 2003, Koji Maeda, a veteran defender who played for many years at Avispa Fukuoka, returned home to support the team in an administrative role, and help it gain publicity. The same year, the team made it to the playoff round for JFL admission, but fell short in the playoff competition. After a few years battling it out near the top of the Kyu League, however, Volca found themselves being overtaken in the race to move to the next level. Rosso Kumamoto, FC Ryukyu and V.Varen Nagasaki all emerged later than Volca, yet made the advance to JFL and then J.League long before their southern neighbour. Volca remained stuck in the regional league, and fans began to worry that they might never manage to move into the professional ranks.

When the J.League announced its plans to launch a third division, in 2013, Volca supporters recognised that this might be the last opportunity to turn their dreams into reality. A groundswell of support and enough additional funds to bring in some aging former J.Leaguers took the team to first place in the Kyu League, and for the first time Volca earned promotion to the JFL. Though Volca had remained proudly independent up to that point, perhaps as a reflection of their fully-amateur roots as Kagoshima Teachers, it was clear that they needed greater organizational and financial support. Using their JFL status as leverage, Volca was able to largely dictate the terms as they joined forces with FC Kagoshima -- a more recently created team that had backing from companies like A-Line Sports and the UME Group. The combined resources boosted Kagoshima United immediately to the upper tier of the JFL, and after a third-place finish in 2015, Kagoshima United was welcomed into the fold as the 13th independent member of the J3 (excluding U-23 teams).


Team Results: 2005-2013 (Kyushu League)

Year Rank Pts GP W W(PK) L(PK) L GF GA G.Dif
1996 3 33 16 10 1 1 4 37 21 +16
1997 2 41 18 12 1 3 2 50 19 +31
1998 2 34 18 9 3 1 5 47 35 +12
1999 6 23 18 7 1 0 11 48 43 +5
2000 4 31 18 10 0 1 7 44 28 +16
2001 3 37 18 11 1 2 4 51 34 +17
2002 2 59 18 14 1 0 3 59 31 +28
2003 2 51 22 15 2 2 3 50 18 +32
2004 3 38 18 12 1 0 5 41 26 +15
2005 5 33 18 10 1 1 6 49 26 +23
2006 4 30 16 10 0 0 6 45 27 +18
2007 5 33 20 10 1 1 8 58 36 +22
2008 5 28 18 8 0 4 6 32 29 +3
2009 2 36 16 11 0 3 2 43 23 +20
2010 2 38 16 12 1 0 3 52 18 +34
2011 3 37 18 10 2 3 3 37 12 +25
2012 2 46 18 14 2 0 2 63 16 +47
2013 1 48 18 15 1 1 1 76 13 +63

 

Team results: 2014-present

Year Rank Pts GP W D L GF GA G.Dif
2014 (JFL) 4 57 26 18 3 5 45 19 +26
2015 (JFL) 3 60 30 18 6 6 46 25 +21
2016 (J3) 5 50 30 15 5 10 39 29 +10
2017  " 4 55 32 17 4 11 49 37 +12
2018  " 2 57 32 16 9 7 46 35 +11
2019 (J2) 21 40 42 11 7 24 41 73 -32
2020 (J3) 4 58 18 4 12 55 43 +12