Thespakusatsu Gunma (ザスパクサツ群馬, zasupa kusatsu Gunma) is a professional football (soccer) club based in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture in Japan. The club plays in the J2 League, the second division of professional football in Japan.
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The club was originally named as the Liaison Kusatsu Football Club when it was established in 1995 in Kusatsu, which is one of the most well-known spa resorts in Japan. The players had all attended the Higashi Nihon Soccer Academy, which is a specialized training college in Japan.
When the school was forced to close in 1999 due to financial concerns, the players came to the consensus that they would continue playing for the club in Kusatsu.
In 2002, the club was incorporated as K.K. Kusatsu Onsen Football Club with the intention of a future promotion to J. League and adopted new team name Thespa Kusatsu (, zasupa kusatsu), which name basically meant “The Spa, Kusatsu.” In addition, the club played under the name K.K. Kusatsu Onsen Football Club.
They play their home games at Shoda Shoyu Stadium Gunma (Shikishima Athletics Stadium) in nearby Maebashi, the prefectural capital, due to restrictions imposed by the J. League on stadiums.
These restrictions came into effect after the club was promoted to the J. League Division 2 for the 2005 season. The club officially changed its name on February 1, 2013, to “Thespakusatsu Gunma,” with the intention of creating the impression that the club is representative of the entire Gunma Prefecture.
However, the name “Kusatsu” will continue to be a part of the club’s name, and the club’s logo will continue to be the same.