Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, a striker who provided a "touch of class" for the Kashima Antlers over his ten-year J.League career, retired at the end of the first stage in 2003. Hasegawa ranks among the J.League leaders in both total appearances and goals scored. During the first five or six years in the league, he was regularly among the league leaders in scoring. Although he was relegated to reserve status in the later years of his career, Hasegawa nevertheless remained a deadly scorer off the bench, scoring nearly as many goals as a late substitute as the Antlers' two starting strikers.
However, knee problems finally caught up with Hasegawa, and after struggling just to find his form in the reserve league, another knock on the knee suffered in mid-2003 finally convinced him that it was time to step down. Still, he was one of the league's most visible players for the first decade, and occupies a position in the Antlers' annals similar to that of Masami Ihara at Marinos, Masahiro Fukuda at Reds or Kenta Hasegawa at S-Pulse.