2024 J.League season preview: Júbilo Iwata aiming to stay in J1

2024 J.League season preview: Júbilo Iwata aiming to stay in J1

Júbilo Iwata have been on quite the yo-yo. They’ve either been promoted or relegated in five of the last six years, but they’re back in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League in 2024 and have every intention of making it stick this time.

2023 review

It was a wild year for Júbilo. They started in bad form and it took until the back half of May before they first moved into the promotion play-off places. By July, they were into second place and looking at automatic promotion, but after nine weeks they lost that position and it looked like they’d have to earn top-flight status the hard way.

A win on the last day of the season sent them leaping back up to second place, though, and their spot in J1 was secured thanks to some rugged determination, the league’s third-best attack, and final-day results going their way.

Key loss

Yuto Suzuki - While Júbilo leaned heavily upon their fabulous attack last season, they did not have a single player score double-digit goals. It was a team effort, with everyone contributing, but also with the great help of their key creator Suzuki.

Suzuki's 10 assists were tied for the J2 lead and he was a key part of Júbilo’s ability to keep and progress the ball too. He’s now moved on to Shonan Bellmare, so Júbilo have some big shoes to fill.

Key addition

Bruno José - Júbilo went to Brazil to nab their new creative fulcrum in signing Bruno José from Guarani FC.

The winger is coming off a season in which he scored four goals and added seven assists in Série B, showing off his ability to be a danger whether he’s taking aim at goal or connecting with his teammates.

Júbilo knew they’d need more top end talent and a multi-dimensional threat to succeed in the top flight and Bruno José is their man.

Goal for 2024

We are not too far removed from Júbilo spending 20 straight years in the top flight, winning the league on three occasions, and winning cups both domestic and international.

Now, they’re a team just trying to stay in J1. Focusing on securing their top-flight status is the first step to getting back to the lofty heights of years prior.

The key to that is keeping up the high-flying attack that made them so successful in J2. They’ve tapped Brazil for Matheir Peixoto, in addition to Bruno José and are putting their emphasis up front. If it pays off, Júbilo may be in J1 to stay.