August 2, 2012
Extra Time with the Yokohama Marinos
Yokohama – Aug. 2 – A group of Yokohama F. Marinos players visited Nissan Global Headquarters last month to meet team supporters, with all eyes on a soccer championship this season.
The Marinos, currently in sixth place in the J-League and fresh off two victories, has one of the oldest Japanese professional soccer pedigrees as well as a long and close relationship with Nissan.
The team began as Nissan Motor F.C. in 1972, and now train just a short walk from the Global Headquarters. All home games are played at the 72,000-seat Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, and many staff are dedicated fans.
“Nissan is our largest parent organization, so we see it as being part of one family,” said Shingo Hyodo, one of the five Marinos players at the event. “Having supporters nearby is the best source of strength for the team.”
Fumihito Minamisawa had taken a quick break from his Nissan desk to attend.
“The players were very friendly. I am really pleased they signed for me,” he said, proudly clutching an autographed Marinos umbrella.
It’s a pivotal stage of the season for the Marinos. They are just 7 points from the top and new manager Yasuhiro Higuchi already has his sights set on the title – and beyond.
“I want [the Marinos] to become a club team that can represent Yokohama and Japan,” he said. “If we win the Japan league, the Asian Champions League is next. And that leads on to the Club World Cup.”
Marinos star and former Japan international Yuji Nakazawa met supporters, and he noted the league’s 20th anniversary year would be a great time to win the Marinos’ first title since 2004.
“The players, manager and staff – everyone – are working together and fighting hard,” he said.
Sanae Kimura says Nissan staff want to see a title.
“Please win for us!” she said.