Kashima Antlers

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are a Japanese professional association football club playing in the J. League Division 1. Antlers is derived from the city name, Kashima, which literally means "deer island".

Since the J-League's creation in 1993, Kashima have proved by far Japan's most successful club team, having won the league title seven times, the J. League Cup three times and the Emperor's Cup three times. Indeed, Antlers have finished in the top five of J1 for over 70% of all seasons played to date and since 1993 have an average end of season league placing of 3rd.

By clinching the 2007 J. League title they became the first team in Japan to have won 10 domestic titles, and later the same year they completed their second league and cup double after claiming the Emperor's Cup title. In 2008 they became the first club to successfully defend their league title on two separate occasions.

Antlers are also one of only five teams to have competed in Japan's top flight of football every year since its inception.


Founded in 1947 as Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. in Osaka. It played in the semi-professional Japan Soccer League and moved to Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture in 1975. They were promoted to the JSL's top flight in 1984, but never made much of an impact, going down in 1985/86, returning in 1986/87 and going down again in 1988/89. Its last standing in the JSL was 2nd in the Second Division for 1991/92.

After the formation of the fully professional J. League, Sumitomo, like all other...
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