JEF United Chiba (ジェフユナイテッド千葉, Jefu Yunaiteddo Chiba), full name JEF United Ichihara Chiba and also known as JEF Chiba (ジェフ千葉, Jefu Chiba), is a Japanese professional football club that plays in the J2 League.
JEF United Chiba Youth Development System
At Jeff Academy, we are conducting professional soccer player training activities that can play an active part in the top team, aiming to be an academy loved by the community.
In player training, about 100 players from 9 to 18 years old who passed the selection by discovering many talents from Chiba prefecture, mainly in the home towns of Chiba and Ichihara, follow the integrated training program. We are doing team activities. In addition to producing professional soccer players, we are also focusing on developing human resources who will support Japanese society in the future from an international perspective.
Please click here to see the latest dates and information on academy tryouts.
JEF United Elite Program U12
In the strengthening elite program U-12, we will introduce a training curriculum method that aims to grow the “individual” of athletes. We will support the growth of athletes under the age of 12 with unprecedented logic and the mentality of the winner, and aim to develop athletes who will play an active role at the top level in the world 10 years after Jeff United Ichihara / Chiba.
For more information on the U12 Elite Program, please click here.
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Furukawa Electric SC (1946–1991)
In 1946, the club was initially established as the Furukawa Electric Soccer Club (), which was the company squad. As the company team, they were victorious in the Japan Soccer League on two separate occasions, the Emperor’s Cup on four separate occasions, and the JSL League Cup on three separate occasions.
Additionally, in 1986–1987, Furukawa was the first Japanese club to win the Asian Club Championship, which is considered to be the most prestigious club title in Asia. In 1965, the club was one of the “Original Eight” in the Japan Soccer League (JSL), which it joined as a founding member. Since the beginning of the league, the club has always competed in the highest level of play in Japan.
In addition, they are the only Japanese team in history to have never been demoted from the JSL Division 1, a record that they have maintained throughout the J1 era. They did finish the 1978 season in the relegation position (the tenth and last spot), but they were able to avoid it by winning a two-legged playoff against Honda FC by a score of 1-0 on aggregate. The team that finished in last place was not immediately demoted until the 1980 season.
JEF United Ichihara (1992–2004)
After becoming East Japan JR Furukawa Football Club () in 1991 as a result of its merger with the company team representing JR East, the club then renamed itself JEF United Ichihara following the establishment of the J.League in 1993. In 1993, JEF United Ichihara was one of the original members of the J.League, known as the “Original Ten.” In the beginning, the club was centered around the former player Pierre Littbarski, who had previously played for Germany’s national football team.
The club had a difficult time remaining in the J.League from 1998 to 2000, and as a result, it initiated a number of initiatives to become a more competitive squad. JEF United has been a consistent contender for the league championship every year since it hired Ivica Osim in 2003, despite the club’s modest resources and its struggle to attract fans.
JEF United Chiba (2005–)
Amar Osim, Osim’s son and current assistant coach, took over as head coach of the club after his father, Osim, resigned on July 16, 2006 to become the head coach of the Japan national team. Following the club’s poor 13th-place finish in the 2007 season, it was announced on December 5, 2007, that Amar Osim had been fired from his position as manager of the team.
Josip Kue was fired as team manager after managing the squad for 13 games during the 2008 season. On the 8th of May in 2008, it was disclosed that Alex Miller would be taking over as manager. Prior to joining JEF United, Miller held the position of First Team Coach at Liverpool F.C., where he worked alongside Rafael Benitez. Fuji Electric is currently acting in the role of primary sponsor of the club, which formerly belonged to Furukawa Electric but has since been taken over by Fuji Electric.
After 44 seasons in the Japanese top league, JEF United Chiba was demoted to J2 on November 8, 2009; the club has been competing in J.League Division 2 ever since 2010. During the 2012 season, JEF United Chiba came dangerously near to getting promoted to the J.League Division 1 level. The club was seen as one of the favorites to achieve promotion directly to J1 at the time.
However, after suffering losses to teams that were seen as being on a lower level than them, such as FC Gifu and F.C. Machida Zelvia, JEF participated in the playoffs, which paved the way for them to reach the final. They were victorious over Yokohama FC by a score of 4-0, but they were ultimately defeated by Oita Trinita by a score of 1-0 at Tokyo National Stadium. During the 2013 season, they participated in the playoffs for promotion to J1 and won.
They were defeated by Tokushima Vortis in the semi-final match by a score of 1–1. (Chiba was 6th place and Tokushima was 3rd place in the league, regulation decides up high club can go final even draw.) They participated once again in the promotion playoffs to J1 in the 2014 season, however this time the club was exempt from having to compete in the semi-final (Chiba was 4th place but the 3rd place club named Giravanz Kitakyushu had a Jleague original stadium problem so Kitakyushu could not go to the promotion play off). At Ajinomoto Stadium, they were defeated in the championship match by Montedio Yamagata by a score of 0–1.