Soccer / J. League

Reysol fire manager Takahiro Shimotaira

Kyodo

Kashiwa Reysol have dismissed manager Takahiro Shimotaira following a lackluster start to the season, the J. League first-division side announced Sunday.

Shimotaira was notified of his firing after Reysol suffered their seventh loss of the season in Saturday’s match against Kawasaki Frontale. Reysol are currently 11th in the 18-team league table with 17 points from five wins and two draws.

The 46-year-old reportedly told players in the locker room after the home loss to Frontale that he would resign.

Shimotaira led Kashiwa to Asian Champions League qualification by finishing fourth in the J. League last season, but the team crashed out in the group stage of the tournament after a 2-0 loss to South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors in April.

Shimotaira, who spent 10 seasons playing for Reysol and two with FC Tokyo as a midfielder, was promoted from coach to manager in 2016 after Brazilian boss Milton Mendes resigned after just three league games.

Head coach Nozomu Kato, who had a 12-year playing career with Reysol as a midfielder, will take over as manager next Sunday, when they face Nagoya Grampus.

Reysol president Ryuichiro Takikawa said Shimotaira had taken the team as far as he could and the club was putting its faith in Kato.

“Manager Shimotaira had reached a deadlock, and things were really up and down,” Takikawa said. “I want new manager Kato to get us back on track.”