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Meet Reiya Tanaka of Football Club “PHOENIX” in Japan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Reiya Tanaka.

Hi Reiya, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
In 2018, the football club PHOENIX was established by Ichihara Hideatsu and I, the club representative and I in Tokyo.

We have felt there is the same problem, which is most of football teams play football focusing on only the victory and building-up their physical abilities and football skills in Japanese football under-categories.

Football has been dominated by a win-at-all-costs mentality, and that deprives players of chances to literally enjoy this beautiful sport and aim for the perfection of character through playing football even if they are young and most of them will not become professional players.

Therefore, we started the club in order to produce a new attractive football club which has both strong squads and definite credo. Additionally, we decided to aim for not only our growth, but also the move of the people who are involved through football like opponents and referees.

Our concept is the below.
“Enrich your mind through the Peace Soccer”

We joined the J. League 10th category in 2018 and the result is the below.
The categories over J3 is professional league, so that we are going to aim there until 2030.
2018: 3st/11 clubs (J10)
2019: 1st/10 clubs (J10)
2020: 1st/12 clubs (J9)
2021: 5st/15 clubs (J8)

In addition to that, we believe that football, the biggest sport, is able to have a good impact on global society,
not only for our club’s fans. We hope to be a curation platformer which contributes to global peace especially tackling SDGs.

Until today, we remain undefeated in recent 3 years.
Furthermore, we manage the independent league ‘La LIGA PHOENIX’ was established with 8 amateur clubs, which aims for talent exchange and our academy clbe ‘PHOENIX jr.’

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road.

Team sports business needs the members who have the same mind each other.
So, Hideatsu and I attempted to persuade football players of our concept and the value.
We keep assembling high-quality players.

The another challenge is financing.
Although we believe our aim can make society good impact and some firms agree with us about availability of such a club,
this project takes long time to become profitable and provide monetary merits for sponsors.
In order to solve this problem, we have considered to accept individual investments after being more well known.
We hope many people will invest us globally in the future.

We’ve been impressed with Japan Football Association, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As the entity presiding over and representing football in Japan, the Japan Football Association (JFA) aims to contribute to the healthy mental and physical development of people by creating a rich sports culture through football.

I am in charge of international broadcasting rights and operations in site belonging to media rights group.
From my experience of IBM Japan (my former job), I introduced AWS cloud service in JFA broadcasting business in order for cost reduction.

I am going to accelerate the football club PHOENIX using the knowledge of Japanese top football association.

Any big plans?
In the future, we aim to become a professional football club in Japan until 2030. Additionally, we would like to establish football academies all over the world.
As the first phase, we will launch the academy schools in Japan, Korea and Taiwan until 2030 as well.
The children who go to the academies can exchange with one another because the experience to exchange with foreigners when they are young will help their lives enrich.
Football can exceed the borders of language, habits, and culture.
Moreover, we would like to invest our profits to social organizations which tackle SDGs, not only to club strengthening according for our credo.


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