Gamba got its start in 1980 as the company team of Matsushita Electric. By 1986, Matsushita's football club had worked its way up into the first division of the Japan Soccer League, and, by the end of the 1980s, the team had reached a plateau of success, winning the Emperor's Cup and finishing high in the league rankings for several years in a row. The consistent run of form over the final decade of the JSL's existence earned Matsushita Electric a spot in the J.League for its inaugural season. When the team entered the J.League, the club adopted the name "Gamba", which is a shortened version of the Japanese word "Gambare" or "fight!" -- a word often shouted at players from the bench for encouragement, which could be equated to "Vamos" in Spanish or "Forza" in Italian.
Gamba Osaka was one of the original ten teams that founded the J.League in 1993, but despite considerable financial backing, it took a while for the team to achieve real success. Osaka - long a hotbed of support for baseball - took some time to develop an interest in The Beautiful Game. Nevertheless, Gamba did a good job of laying the groundwork for future success, by developing one of the top youth programmes in the country. Since the turn of the century, this effort has paid off. Today, Gamba has become one of the J.League's elite, winning league titles in 2005 and 2014, as well as an Asian Champions League title under coach Akira Nishino, in 2008.