The Top Team
Following the ten-day training camp in Okinawa, the Omiya Ardija top team moved to Miyazaki for the second leg of the training camp, gearing up for their J1 come-back season. The menu for the Miyazaki camp focused on more match-oriented training, including practice games with V・Varen Nagasaki, Zweigen Kanazawa, and Ventforet Kofu which resulted in 2 wins and a draw. Returning to Omiya, the team played a pre-season match against Montedio Yamagata on February 13 at NACK5 stadium OMIYA, winning 2-1. Newcomers to the team made a great impact in the match — Nejc Pecnik and Keigo Numata scored spectacular goals, and Yuzo Iwakami created a great opportunity with a piercing long pass.
Head Coach Hiroki Shibuya and MF Shin Kanazawa attended the February 18 “2016 J.League Press Conference.” Kanazawa appeared on stage with Kota Mizunuma of FC Tokyo, Omiya’s season opener opponent, wearing this year’s new team uniform. Head Coach Shibuya enthusiastically stated: “People may think that we will be struggling to defend our place in J1, but I believe we can demonstrate our fresh assets that combine our usual solid defense with the diverse offensive moves we have been brushing up since last year.”
On January 30 the Omiya Ardija junior youth team played a semifinal match in the “25th Saitama Prefecuture Club Youth (U-14) Championship.” Going up against the Sakado Diplomats, the Omiya junior youth captured a 2-1 victory and advanced to the January 31 final, only to succumb to Grande FC with a 1-2 defeat and settling for second place. The Omiya junior youth also took part in the final round of the “18th Saitama Prefecture Youth (U-13) Championship,” where they overpowered Ogose-Moroyama Junior High School 9-0 in the first round on February 6. However, they had a bitter 0-1 defeat in the March 11 quarterfinal against Kumagaya SC.
The junior team participated in the “10th Saitama Prefecture Class 4 Rookie Championship, Chuo Tournament.” On February 14, they shut out 1FC Kawagoe Suijo Koen 4-0 in the first round, then clutched a 1-0 win from Hakutsuru Football Club in the second round to advance to the semifinals. The semifinal will take place on March 21 at the Higashi-Matsuyama Track and Field Stadium against Konan Minami SS, and a victory will carry them to the final, which is to take place the same day.
On February 16, top team players took part in the Omiya Ardija Soccer School sessions. Shinataro Shimizu and Mateus showed up at the Omiya-nishi Branch; Nobuhiro Kato, Masato Kojima, Kento Kawata and Yuki Kato went to the Lumine Branch; and Kazuma Takayama paid a visit to the Kawagoe Branch, where he used to take lessons. The top team players shared their professional skills with the children attending the soccer school.
With 11 branches throughout the prefecture, the Omiya Ardija Soccer School will add the twelfth one, the Konosu Branch, in April at the Konosu City Kamiya Park. Registration for the Konosu Branch will be accepted until March 4 using an on-line registration form that can be accessed through Omiya Ardija’s official website. All other branches will start accepting registrations for new members in the first to sixth grades on March 1. Meanwhile, a class will be added for a new age category from April of this year – kids who are in the middle and senior levels of kindergarten will be able to sign up for this new class until March 4.
On February 14 the Omiya Ardija Team Support Reception Executive Committee hosted the 2016 Omiya Ardija Team Support Reception at the Palace Hotel Omiya. The 339 guests attending from the supporters’ association, the local community, and the football family came together to express their support and best wishes to the team in the coming season.
On February 16 the club’s president, Shigeru Suzuki, was accompanied by head coach Hiroki Shibuya and players Akihiro Ienaga in a courtesy visit to Saitama Mayor Hayato Shimizu and the Saitama City Assembly before the start of the 2016 season. On the same day, Tomonobu Yokoyama, Shin Kanazawa, Kosuke Kikuchi, Daisuke Watabe, and Ryuji Bando represented the players and paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Wards of Saitama City’s West Ward, North Ward, Omiya Ward, Minuma Ward, and Iwatsuki Ward to seek their support and cooperation throughout the new season.
The Omiya Ardija Official Yearbook 2016 was released on February 13. Featured in the yearbook is a comprehensive summary of team-related information including an introduction of the top team players, the club’s history, and the club’s plan of action.
Following the result of the second phase of the 2016 season home game food and beverage concessionaires screening, the final selection of the concessionaires for the home games was made. The four companies that gained the most votes in the second phase screening to make the list were: green-pal, HUB, Sanpouen Group Ms Kitchen, and Chichitetsu Trading Company.