Fukui United FC is an amateur soccer team from Fukui Prefecture that was just created this January. They’ve been trying to get into the J. Leagues, which are the professional leagues.
You may not know much about the J. Leagues, but a lot of the world’s star soccer players have played in them, like Zico, Dunga, Leonardo, Schillaci, Lineker, Dragan Stojković , Mboma, Forlán, Michael Laudrup, and Stoichikov.
Today’s match was the last of the Hokushinetsu Football League. Fukui United FC was in first place in the league, and their opponent, Artista Asama, was in second. Both teams had the same number of points before the match, so if Fukui United FC either got a draw or a win, they’d be the champions.
If this happened, they’d be able to play in the Japan Regional Football Champions League. The top two teams from that league move up to the JFL, and after the JFL a team can get into the J. Leagues.
If they lost today’s match they’d have to wait until next year to try again to get into the Japan Regional Football Champions League. Today’s match was the decisive one for both teams.
It was beautiful weather today. The sky was blue and there were few clouds, and the temperature wasn’t very high. The conditions were ideal for playing or watching soccer.
I went into the soccer stadium in Mikuni, Fukui Prefecture, at 12:00. This was my first time to come to this stadium in five months. (Please read my previous post about the match.) I saw a lot of children, families, elderly people, and young ladies, and some of them were wearing blue uniforms like those of Fukui United FC. I noticed that there was a greater variety of people at the stadium than there had been five months ago.
The opponent was Artista Asama, which is Nagano Prefecture’s team. I was surprised to see about 15 Arista fans. It must have taken them a lot of money and time to come to Fukui.
Finally the practice session ended.
Almost all people had been given a small blue fan’s flag at the entrance, and when the players appeared on the field we all waved those vigorously.
Fukui United FC vs. Artista Asama kicked off at 1:30.
Each team played aggressively and seemed eager to score the first goal.
Eight minutes into the game, Kenshiro Kanemura ran up the right side of the field and passed to Yuta Yamada, who was waiting in front of the goal. Yamada kicked the ball while sliding and scored! The fans shouted with joy. I felt that this goal was a very precious one for the team.
A little later they had the chance to try for another one. At 25 minutes Kanemura received the ball in front of the goal. He dodged an opponent with some quick movements, kicked the ball with precision, and scored!
After this goal both teams got wound up and started playing a little roughly.
The first half ended 2–0, then the second half started.
Artista Asama played aggressively from the start. I hoped that Fukui United FC would score one more goal.
At around 15 minutes Artista Asama had three chances to score. However, the Fukui players didn’t allow a goal.
At 21 minutes Junya Yamashiro (No. 7, Fukui United FC) came into the game. He got my attention immediately. The rhythm of his running and of his other physical movements was very nice. It was fun to watch him play. He covered the whole field.
At 44 minutes Mingyu Shin (No. 24, Fukui United FC) came in.
Artista Asama dominated the second half, but the two players did a good job soon. At 48 minutes Yamashiro kicked a long pass from the right side. Shin ran toward the goal and powerfully kicked the ball in mid-bounce with his left foot and scored!
Shin was quickly surrounded by his teammates, and I realized that they loved him. He’s Korean, so he’s playing in a foreign country. I think that he’s brave and great.
Fukui United FC ended up winning 3–0, and I was relieved and happy.
There were 1,243 people at the stadium. After the game at the award
This November they’re going to start playing in the Japan Regional Football Champions League.
Fukui United FC, Fukui’s hope, became the champion today!