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X League's Deers begin new life as club team

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

In 2014, the Deers will play in new colors — orange and white.

Formerly known as the Kajima Deers, the X League football club announced Thursday that it is to become the Lixil Deers.

Earlier last year, the team was told by its parent company, Kajima Corporation, that the construction giant would no longer maintain its ownership beyond the 2013 season. Lixil’s name came up as a potential sponsor last fall, and has now become official.

Lixil Corporation, whose major businesses are the manufacturing and sales of building materials and housing equipment, will be the main sponsor for the Deers, who will now be a club team as opposed to a corporate team. Lixil’s sponsorship for the Deers will be for three years starting April 1.

Kiyoyuki Mori will stay as the head coach for the Deers, who have established themselves as a powerhouse, winning two X League championships since their inception in 1989. Mori will also serve as the club’s president.

The Deers will hold a tryout to look for new talent on March 15 at Kajima Shibasaki Field in Chofu, Tokyo.

One Deers official told The Japan Times that he would not exclude foreigners currently working in Japan from the tryout.

The official pointed to John Stanton, who worked in Japan before joining the IBM BigBlue through a tryout two years ago and who has become a premier X League tight end.

“I think there are so many other Americans that already work in Japan with some football experience like Stanton,” the official said. “So as long as they’re eligible, I want them to participate in our tryout.”