Giravanz Kitakyushu are a Japanese soccer club based in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. The club's name was changed from New Wave Kitakyushu on December 1, 2009. The club was founded in 1947. They played in the Japan Football League from 2008-2009, and were promoted to J. League Division 2 (J2) for the 2010 season.
The club was formed in 1947 as part of Mitsubishi Chemical's Kurosaki factory. Most of its career was spent in the regional and prefectural leagues, as Kitakyushu was represented in the Japan Soccer League by Yawata Steel F.C. Yawata was a founding member of the JSL in 1965, and finished as runner up in its first two seasons in that league. Yawata was renamed New Nippon Steel F.C. in 1970, when Yawata Steel merged with Fuji Steel to form (New) Nippon Steel. It ultimately was relegated to the Second Division in 1982, then relegated from the Second Division to Kyushu regional league after 1990-91 season, and has never returned.
In 2001, Mitsubishi Chemical Kurosaki F.C., which had been a member of Kyushu regional league since 1973, became community-oriented club (New Wave) Kitakyushu F.C.
In 2007, New Wave took second place in the All Japan Regional Football Promotion League Series, and was promoted to the JFL for the 2008 season.
The team applied for J. League Associate Membership in January 2008, and the application was accepted at the J. League board meeting on February 19, 2008.
On 1 April 2009, the club made an announcement that they would be accepting suggestions for a new name. This was because the name "New Wave" may cause trademark or tradename disputes. Therefore, the new name had to be something not yet registered as a trademark.
On 2 October 2009, they announced that the new club name for the 2010 season would be Giravanz Kitakyushu (ギラヴァンツ北九州, Giravantsu Kitakyūshū}. According to the official news release, the name "Giravanz" is coined from two Italian words: "Girasole", which means "sunflower", and "Avanzare", which means "moving forward". The sunflower is one of Kitakyushu's symbol flowers.
On 23 November 2009, after a 2-1 win away against Arte Takasaki, Kitakyushu secured a top four position in the JFL for the 2009 season, regardless of the result at the final week of 2009 JFL. This means they will play in J. League Division 2 for the 2010 season, something which was confirmed by the J.League board meeting on 30 November 2009.
In its inaugural year in the pro ranks, despite attaining a large number of draw matches, Kitakyushu set new records for fewest wins and points in the season standings, with only 1 win and 15 points, finishing in 19th (last) place.