Playing abroad

Seagulls on the International stage

The Seagulls won their first national championship in 1996. During that year's preseason defensive lineman Takahiro Ikenoue(photo:left) played in NFL Europe with the Rhine Fire, becoming the first ever Japanese professional football player.

Since Ikenoue 's breakthrough Nobutaka Horie(1996-2004), Takamasa Suzuki(current special teams coordinator), Yuichi Watanabe(current defensive backs coach), Sumitaka Ando(current team captain / photo:below), Takuya Furutani(current assistant general manager), Masayoshi Tsukada(current linebackers coach) amongst others have all ventured abroad to the likes of NFL Europe and the Arena Football League in pursuit of the challenge of playing football on a higher level. In 2011 after a successful career in NFL Europe and as a member of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons practice squad, wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita joined the Obic Seagulls. In 2015 fellow wide receiver Yuki Ikei played with the Berlin Adler of the GFL(German Football League) during the offseason.

The advent of NFL Europe and the Arena Football League provided many Japanese players with an opportunity to gain invaluable experience by playing abroad among students stiffer competition. The creation of the Japanese national team along with 1998 Japan - Euro bowl, the World Cup series that began in 1999, and the rise of regularly scheduled play between national teams has helped a great deal to spark interest amongst many players in Japan to pursue a challenge abroad.

Along with improving individual skill, technique, speed, and strength, the players brought back with them the experience of playing in a very competitive environment. The experience of vying with other top players for a position during training camp nod throughout the season gave the players a renewed sense of the importance of focusing on each and every play beginning in practice.

Takahiro Ikenoue
1996-1997, Rhein Fire, NFL EURO
Nachi Abe
1997-1998, 2000, Scottish Claymores, NFL EURO
Kohei Satomi
2000, Amsterdam Admirals, NFL EURO / 2001, Scottish Claymores, NFL EURO / 2002-2003, Hawaiian Islanders, AF2(USA) / 2004, Amsterdam Admirals, NFL EURO / 2005, Cologne Centurions, NFL EURO / 2006, Everett Hawks, AF2(USA)
Nobutaka Horie
2001, Amsterdam Admirals, NFL EURO
Takamasa Suzuki
2002, Hawaiian Islanders, AF2(USA) / 2003, Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, AF2(USA) / 2004-2005, San Diego Riptide, AF2(USA)
Sumitaka Ando
2002, Rhein Fire, NFL EURO / 2004, Amsterdam Admirals, NFL EURO
Yuichi Watanabe
2003, Albany Conquest, AF2(USA) / 2004, LouisVills Fire, AF2(USA) / 2005, NewYork Dragons, AFL(USA)
Naoki Kosho
2003, Albany Conquest, AF2(USA)
Yuji Kimura
2003, Florida Firecats, AF2(USA)
Hiroki Inoue
2003, Hawaiian Islanders, AF2(USA)
Takuya Furutani
2004, Lousiville Fire, AF2(USA) / 2005, Philadelphia Soul, AFL(USA)
Toshihide Nakamura
2004, Memphis Xplorers, AF2(USA)
Takeshi Shinjo
2004, Memphis Xplorers, AF2(USA)
Tsukasa Miyamoto
2004, Wichita Stealth, AF2(USA)
Haruhiko Maekawa
2005, San Diego Riptide ,AF2(USA)
Shusaku Shiraki
2005, San Diego Riptide, AF2(USA)
Ken Shimizu
2005, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers, AF2(USA)
Rui Nakanishi
2005,CentralValley Coyotes, AF2(USA) / 2007, Chicago Rush, AFL(USA)
Noriaki Kinoshita
2005-2007, Amsterdam Admirals, NFL EURO / 2008, Atlanta Falcons, NFL
Ryoma Hagiyama
2008, Amarillo Dusters, AF2(USA)
Masayoshi Tsukada
2009, Kentucky Horsemen, AF2(USA)
Takeshi Miyake
2009, Stockton Lightning, AF2(USA)
Hiroki Hasegawa
2009, Tennessee Valley Vipers, AF2(USA)
Kenzo Waku
2011, Columbus Lions, Southern Indoor Football League(USA) / 2014, Tronto Raiders Northern Football Conference(CANADA)
Yuki Ikei
2015, Berlin Adler, GFL(Germany)
Takuto Hara
2017, Texas Revolution, CIF(USA)

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International exhibition games

After winning back to back national championships in 2010 and 2011, in the spring of 2012 the Seagulls embarked on its first ever international exhibition game vs. the Dresden Monarchs of the GFL(German Football League). During the following spring the team also traveled to Germany to play the Düsseldorf Panther also of the GFL. During that time span from 2010 to 2013 the Seagulls won the Japanese national championship a record 4 consecutive times becoming the first team ever to accomplish such a feat. In 2014 we traveled to the United States to face a semiprofessional all star team comprised of players from the southern region of the United States.

We don't just want to follow the status quo, we want to be a team that continues to challenge itself in order to be able to continue to change. The level of American football in Japan has hit a plateau. As a team and individually we plan to aggressively challenge ourselves overseas.

Our hope is that our players will continue to change, and continue to challenge themselves.

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