Scouring the soccer circuit
KS pulls up its socks and gets
in position for DIY soccer in Kansai.
Back home or virtually anywhere but here, it doesn’t
take much man-work to find a sports ground to play soccer (football,
surely — Ed.) or just kick the ball around for a few hours.
Here things are slightly different. Sure, there’s that same
amount of enthusiasm amongst those who participate, the same drive
to compete, that shared desire to be outdoors. Arranging a venue,
however, is a task which requires some work. Kansai resident, Rod
Linn let Kansai Scene know about the intricate lottery system used
to vie for sports grounds as well as who to talk to you if you’re
interested in playing soccer.
Linn is the Organiser/Captain/Coach/ Treasurer
(resident busy guy?) of Murphy’s soccer team, Osaka. There
are a few connections between the team and Murphy’s Irish
pub, Shinsaibashi. Back in 1999 the then owner supplied the team
with their first kit (uniform). The other connection is that Murphy’s
soccer team past and present have been known to enjoy a pint on
The birth of Murphy’s soccer team came about
in the late 1990s, on the banks of Yodogawa River, where Linn and
a few friends kicked the ball around on Sunday afternoons. Linn
was “desperate to keep fit” and “missed playing
soccer”. As it happens word spread and soon more and more
people were turning up to join in.
Nowadays Murphy’s participate in serious
competition. In 2004, Linn, ever the guy with his finger on the
pulse, signed Murphy’s up with the Shin Nippon sports league
— an organisation that administrates various sporting events.
This came about because Linn frequently checks the notice board
at Soccer Kamo (football specialist store, Shinsaibashi) and also
as a result of the many phone calls he made.
The soccer league runs for 12 months from April.
The team is allotted a total of eight games. Says Linn “playing
in a league gives us more structure and purpose as well as motivation
to win”. It costs the team ¥95,000 per year so players
participating in all eight games pay ¥5,000 which covers them
for the entire season. There are also “Friendly” matches
which take up the bulk of the season. Participants pay ¥500
to play in friendly matches. It’s in the friendly matches
that you’ll run into other foreigners because there are a
handful of foreign teams in Kansai.
Linn’s happy with the turn-out of players,
he’s hardly ever short of players (and if he is, he’ll
let you know in the classified section of this magazine). He says
the costs to play soccer are reasonable and most agree. His challenge
lies in finding venues. Linn goes along to various organisations
which allocate sports grounds and makes an application to use these
If all goes well (meaning the less who apply,
the better) Linn gets to use the field on the day desired. If there
are other applicants vying for the field on the same day and time,
the victor is determined over good old fashioned janken. Linn and
other sports enthusiasts would agree that although we may not be
directly exposed to a lot of green space, there are ways of accessing
and using it with a bit of ingenuity, networking and, err …
honed janken skills.
For any queries about the Murphy’s soccer
team, email to Rod Linn at [email protected]
or speak to Michael O’Carroll at Murphy’s Irish pub.
Tom O’Neill of the Blarney Stone, Umeda can also
put you in contact with the JET Osaka team.