J-League Club Profile: Vegalta Sendai

The Tohoku representatives have formed a close bond with their community in the wake of the March 2011 disasters, inspiring fans worldwide in the process.


Late-comers to the Japanese football scene, Vegalta Sendai were founded in 1988 as Tohoku Electric Power before changing their name to Brummell Sendai in 1994, the year they entered the Japanese Football League. The club’s J.League name, is a combination of ‘Vega’ and ‘Altair’, inspired by the Japanese star festival.

They were finally promoted to the J.League in 1999, when they joined the newly-founded second division of J2. But after a one-year dalliance in the top flight in 2002, Vegalta became “permanent residents” of the J2 until 2009, when they finally earned a promotion.

Under the direction of manager Makoto Teguraori and led on the pitch by Japanese-born Korean Ryang Yong-gi, Vegalta have since become one of the new forces of the J.League, with a remarkable fourth-place finish in a 2011 season marked by disaster.

The club’s home ground of Yurtec Stadium was damaged heavily by the March 11, 2011 earthquake. Vegalta became a catalyst for hope in the months following the disaster, and the J.League community rallied around them in support.

Sendai’s supporters gained popularity around the country because of their “rock’n’roll-style” chants, and they travelled in great numbers as a result of having to play so many games away while Yurtec Stadium underwent repairs and Miyagi Stadium saw use as an emergency shelter.

After falling short of a top-three finish in 2011, Vegalta came back in 2012 stronger than ever and achieved a club-best second place, earning a spot in the 2013 AFC Champions League. Despite being eliminated in the group stage, it was a great accomplishment for a club that just a few season earlier was playing in the second division.

After Teguramori’s departure at the end of 2013 in order to take over Japan’s Olympic team, Vegalta welcomed former Australia coach Graham Arnold, who managed the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners in their 2012-13 championship run.

Top Players
The Brazilian striker Marcos spent four seasons at Vegalta, scoring 24 goals in 2001 and helping to earn their first-ever promotion to the J1.

Before leaving for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Hisato Sato demonstrated his potential at Vegalta with 20 goals in their 2004 J2 season. In 2003 he played alongside Hajime Moriyasu, who would later become his manager at Sanfrecce.

Though he played briefly for Vegalta in the 2003 season, Shigeyoshi Mochizuki is well-loved by Japanese fans for scoring the winning goal in the 2000 Asian Cup Final against Saudi Arabia.

For two seasons, Vegalta (then Brummell) claimed Koln and West Germany legend Pierre Littbarski in their squad. The winger, who is fluent in Japanese, returned to Japan in 2006 to coach Avispa Fukuoka.


The cozy Yurtec Stadium Sendai brings 20,000 fans close to the action, with the melody of the club theme, Take Me Home, Country Roads echoing off the roof covering the stands. It’s conveniently accessible by train and was used as a base camp for Italy’s national team during the 2002 World Cup.

When Vegalta require a larger stadium they travel to Miyagi Stadium, outside the town of Rifu. The crescent-shaped structure hosted three matches in the 2002 World Cup and fits over 49,000, but supporters must arrive by bus or car as there’s no convenient train service available.

Colors and Uniform

Vegalta use gold and blue as their team colors, and for more than a decade their uniforms have included accented stars representing Vega and Altair.


Vegatta, a golden eagle 2 meters in height, has entertained fans at Vegalta games since 1999. His inspiration comes from the Aquila constellation, the name of which means ‘eagle’ in Latin.