Shimizu Town, and Shizuoka Prefecture in general, can make a strong claim to being the heartland of football in Japan. Shimizu-area high schools dominated the sport at the youth level for decades, and produced a large share of the top talent in the J.League during its first decade. For many years, the annual alumni match of Shimizu Shogyo High School was a source of pride for the city, since the school could field two entire teams of alumni made up entirely of J.League players.
Unlike most of the other founding members of the J.League, S-Pulse does not have a long history as a corporate club team. S-Pulse was founded in 1989, when the J.League idea was first mooted, so that the area could prepare to host one of the teams in the new league. The team name supposedly refers to the "Pulse of Shizuoka Prefecture", and the name is certainly fitting. Shizuoka has been a vibrant source of support for football even before the J.League was founded. The "Wingheads" (the team nickname is based on their very odd-looking mascot, who has "wings" where his ears should be) earned a reputation as the perpetual "bridesmaid" of the J.League, because they made it to many final matches, but always contrived to lose, and finish in second place.