Soccer team adds players, renews uniform sponsorship deal

Publicity

The International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS), which aims to foster charity and improve society through sports, has renewed a corporate partnership contract with Tokyo Verdy, a soccer club in the J2 League, continuing as a uniform sponsor for the second year.

The ISPS, which is chaired by Haruhisa Handa, supports many sports both in and outside of Japan under the belief that sports contribute to global social welfare.

Tokyo Verdy’s uniforms will continue to have a large “ISPS HANDA” logo across the front. The same logo will also be seen on club placards, billboards and other places.

The soccer team finished the season in fifth place last year, a significant jump from 18th in 2016.

“I don’t like to set the goal of being promoted to the J. League’s first division. That’s too small. Let’s aim for the championship of FIFA Club World Cup,” Handa said at a news conference at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, on Jan. 14.

ISPS Handa’s involvement in soccer is not limited to Japan.

The ISPS became a partner with New Zealand Football for three years from 2017. Handa was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for services to sports and philanthropy.

“Sports have the power to bring people together and raise the sense of community unity. Soccer, as a global sport, is an ideal medium for that,” Handa said.

Additionally, the ISPS supports Fives Futbol, a movement to make soccer fields in cities and promote soccer in South Africa. The organization has also become the main sponsor for the Mpumalanga Black Aces F.C., which is now FC Cape Town.

Tokyo Verdy, one of the original 10 teams when the J. League was founded in 1992, established youth, junior youth and junior teams. Additionally, it had established many branches across Japan to promote soccer even before the creation of the J. League.

In 1981, it created NTV Beleza, a women’s soccer team, which, together with its sister team NTV Menina, plays the central role in Japanese women’s soccer. Many Olympians are players or former players of the two teams.

During the news conference, Tokyo Verdy also announced new team members.

The new members from J2 League teams are defender Masashi Wakasa from JEF United Chiba, forward Ryohei Hayashi from Mito HolyHock, defender Yusuke Higa from JEF United Chiba, midfielder Yuhei Sato from Montedio Yamagata, defender Ri Yong-jik from Kamatamare Sanuki, goalkeeper Naoto Kamifukumoto from Oita Trinita and midfielder Kazuma Takai from Thespakusatsu Gunma. New members from the J. League are midfielder Yuta Narawa from Shonan Bellmare and Shunsuke Mori, a midfielder from Albirex Niigata. The team also added goalkeeper Ko Hasegawa from Nippon Sport Science University and midfielder Kanya Fujimoto from Tokyo Verdy Youth.

Misuzu Corp., of which Handa is the president, is also a corporate sponsor. The watch seller announced a Tokyo Verdy watch design on Jan. 14.

The ISPS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sports, such as golf, soccer and bowling, under the belief that sports help foster world peace. It also supports blind golf as its founder and chairman Handa, dubbed the father of blind golf in Japan, is the first person in Japan to establish a blind golf club, the forerunner of the JBGA.

The ISPS, which entered into an open-ended partnership with the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2016 and became the sole title sponsor of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open in March last year, organized the Blind Golf Japan Open Championship and the ISPS Handa World Blind Golf Championships in Saitama in November 2016. Visually impaired golfers from about 15 countries joined the tournaments.

Handa also serves as chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, or IFAC, a nonprofit organization established to promote social welfare activities through music and art events.