After a trying year that has tested Japan with severe floods, record-setting heat, and fierce typhoons, the country was yet again challenged in September when a magnitude 7 earthquake jolted the northern island of Hokkaido, causing dozens of deaths and leaving millions without electricity.

But it's in the midst of such tragedy when the best of humanity can be seen, and that was once again true throughout Japan's soccer community as fans, players, and clubs leapt into action to raise funds toward revival efforts.

Such displays of support are emblematic of the J. League's growth over the last 25 years, which have seen it expand from 10 clubs to 54 across three divisions.