Honda FC

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Team Logo & Mascot:


Team Flag:

Home Stadium

Honda Giken Miyakoda Stadium

Seats 6,000



After shunning the "mainstream" trends in football for almost two decades (from joining the J.League to adopting a funny-sounding team name), in 2005 Honda FC finally broke down and created a team mascot. To be honest, we think that Passaro is one of the most impressive mascots around, with his red "Zorro mask"and slightly cocky grin.


Based in the city of Hamamatsu, in Shizuoka prefecture, just down the road from J1 giants Jubilo Iwata, Honda FC have been one of the traditional powerhouses of Japanese football since the days of the JSL, and can surely make a strong claim to being the strongest club never to join the J-League. The team was formed in 1971 and quickly advanced through the Shizuoka Prefectural League and the Tokai League, to Division 2 of the old JSL, which preceded the J.League as Japan's only nationwide league structure.

Honda FC won Division 2 in 1978 and 1980, earning promotion to Division 1 for the 1981 season. Over the next decade the team generally subsisted in the middle or lower half of the league table, their highest finish being third place on a couple of occasions. In 1992, Honda turned down the opportunity to be a founding member of the J.League, preferring to remain a corporate club.

Honda remained in the re-organised JFL, where they steadily began to emerge as a powerhouse as all the other more competitive teams advanced into the J.League. Honda FC won its first JFL title in 1996, finishing ahead of the teams that would subsequently become Vissel Kobe and FC Tokyo. When the J2 was formed, in 1999, Honda once again turned down the offer of a spot in the professional ranks, but the elimination of top competition made them a dominant power in the JFL. Between the time it was reconstituted, in 1999, and the time that a new wave of prospective pro clubs began to enter, in 2005, Honda FC finished in first or second place every year.

Despite its amateur status, the club has spawned a legion of talented young football players who eventually went on to success in the J.League: Kiyomasa Sasaki, Yasuharu Kuroda, Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, Hisashi Kurosaki, Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, Naoki Honda, Wagner Lopes, Takaaki Tokushige and Tatsuya Furuhashi, to name just a few.

1971 Founded. 1st Place Shizuoka League
1972 1st Place Shizuoka League
1973 1st Place Tokai Regional League
1974 1st Place Tokai Regional League
1975 4th Place JSL Second Division
1976 4th Place JSL Second Division
1977 7th Place, JSL Second Division
1978 1st Place, JSL Second Division
1979 4th Place JSL Second Division
1980 1st Place, JSL Second Division
1981 6th Place, JSL First Division
1982 9th Place, JSL First Division
1983 8th Place, JSL First Division
1984 5th Place, JSL First Division
1985-86 8th Place, JSL First Division
1986-87 8th Place, JSL First Division
1987-88 6th Place, JSL First Division
1988-89 8th Place, JSL First Division
1989-90 6th Place, JSL First Division
1990-91 3rd Place, JSL First Division
1991-92 9th Place, JSL First Division
1992-93 9th Place, JSL First Division

But despite the team's obvious strengths, and its success over the years, a question mark has been hanging over the club since 1993, as people speculate again and again on Honda FC's future. In a football world that is becoming more "professional" with each passing year Honda FC has resolutely preserved its status as a non-professional "company team". Although it opted out of both the initial J.League creation and the introduction of a J2, Honda has met all but one of the requirements for J.League entry (that of being managed as an independent corporation) in every year since 1999, when the requirements were first codified. It would require very little effort to turn the team into a J.League club . . . and that may be exactly the reason why Honda has resolutely refrained from doing so. 

Although there were a few other "big" company teams that also chose to remain in the amateur ranks in 1992, with each passing year the number has falen, to the point where now Honda and Sony Sendai represent the last of a dying breed. A company with as many young male employees as Honda will always be able to put together a fairly competitive football team by drawing on its work force. Until recently, teams like Honda, Nippondenso, Sony, and the Sagawa Group put together very competitive squads, made up of fairly talented young football players who failed to win a J.League offer straight out of high school or college, and decided that instead of struggling to find a low-level pro team that would accept them, they were better off taking gainful employment at a good company that also offers them a chance to play football.

In the past, this was a sufficiently strong lure for players, that teams like Honda and Sony Sendai could even compete with low-level professional teams. Many players who were quite talented in high school or university viewed it as a better career option to join a good company like Honda, Sony or Nippondenso and play football at the amateur level. If they never did manage to attract interest from a pro club, they would still be able to continue their career at the company, even after their playing days were over.

But nowadays, this career path is losing its charm. Most youngsters these days are more interested in joining ambitious teams like Kagoshima United, Grulla Morioka, or in today's JFL, teams like Vanuraure Hachnohe. This gives them the opportunity to advance into the J.League along with their club -- offsetting the hardship of trying to make ends meet in the early years, playing for an "independent" JFL team. While this trend has been very good for the J.League, there is still a place in the football landscape for teams that follow Honda's more traditional "company team" approach. Hopefully Honda FC will not end up as simply an isolated link to a bygone era -- the last of the great"company teams", but will serve as an example for other companies, social groups and local organizations. It would be a tragedy if the rise of the J.League destroys the thrill of amateur competition altogether.


Team Results: 1994-present

Year Rank Pts GP W D L GF GA G.Dif
1994 9 36 30 12* - 18* 49 62 -13
1995 7 49 30 16* >- 14* 58 42 +16
1996 1 30 75 25* - 5* 83 35 +48
1997 4 30 65 23* - 7* 60 37 +23
1998 5 30 54 19* - 11* 57 45 +12
1999 2 50 24 18* 1 5 69 34 +35
2000 2 46 21 16* 0 5 46 29 +17
2001 1 71 30 22 5 3 74 19 +55
2002 1 41 17 13 2 2 39 14 +25
2003 2 67 30 21 4 5 73 30 +43
2004 2 62 30 19 5 6 64 36 +28
2005 5 56 30 17 5 8 59 37 +22
2006 1 77 32 24 5 3 72 35 +37
2007 5 58 34 16 10 8 61 42 19
2008 1 74 34 22 8 4 80 33 +47

*Prior to 1998 all matches were played to a final result, with extra time and penalty kicks. In 1999 and 2000 draws were introduced, but teams still played two periods of golden goal extra time. "Wins" and ""Losses" for these years include wins and losses in extra time, or on PKs.