The Top Team
Back playing in the top league again after a year in J2, Omiya Ardija opened the season with a match against FC Tokyo, who finished in fourth place last season. Omiya struggled as FC Tokyo took possession of the ball throughout the match. Finally, in the 69th minute, newcomer Yuzo Iwakami (MF) scored the opening goal. Omiya defended the one-goal lead and snatched a victory from FC Tokyo. On March 5 Omiya played their first home game at NACK5 Stadium and their opponent was Kashiwa Reysol. Dragan Mrdja scored 9 minutes into the game and doubled the score in the 15th minute. Omiya silenced Kashiwa 2-0, pleasing the supporters with two consecutive victories. Leading the J1 League after two matches, Omiya went up against Gamba Osaka in Match 3 played on March 11. Gamba took a 2-point lead but Omiya couldn’t find the back of the goal net. A goal by MF Akihiro Ienaga during the second half additional time wasn’t enough to overturn the result, and Omiya lost 1-2.
The 2016 Kanto Youth (U-15) Football League kicked off on March 6, and Omiya’s junior youth team went up against Yokohama F･Marinos Junior Youth Oppama in the season opener, finishing with a 1-1 draw. In Match 2, Omiya defeated Kashiwa Reysol U-15 in a 2-0 shut-out.
Masaya Shibayama, a member of the junior youth team, was selected to take part in the “JFA Elite Programme U-13 Training Camp,” which was organized in Osaka from March 18 to 22.
The junior team participated in the “10th Saitama Prefecture Class 4 Rookie Championship, Central Tournament” and defeated Konan Minami SS 2-0 in the semifinals. Losing to Regista FC 0-4 in the final, Omiya finished as the runner-up.
The Omiya Ardija Soccer School is accepting new members in the elementary school age group for the 2016 year that starts in April. The school is inviting children in first through sixth grade to sign up using the registration form which can be accessed through the club’s official website. There is limited room and once the applications reach the capacity, applicants will be put on a waiting list. Don’t forget to sign up soon!
On February 27, the day the 2016 J1 League kicked off and prior to the Omiya versus FC Tokyo season opener, a friendly match was played between first-grade soccer school members of Omiya Ardija and FC Tokyo. 43 soccer school members from Omiya took part in the match.
Saitama City’s Committee to Promote a Footballing Community installed a carving of a foot relief of MF Akihiro Ienaga in front of the main entrance of the Takashimaya Department Store Omiya Branch. A special event to reveal the foot relief took place on March 5. 1,000 commemorative clear files were distributed to those attending the ceremony, and after 30 minutes every single souvenir was given away.
Omiya’s club mascot Ardy and Miya took part in an entertainment event called “J.League Comedian Night Vol. 13” held on March 8 at Asagaya Loft A and received many laughs and applauses.
This March counts five years since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. During Match 2 (vs. Kashiwa Reysol) and Match 4 (vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima), as well as during the first group stage match (vs. Nagoya Grampus) of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, Omiya Ardija organized a fund-raiser in support of the redevelopment efforts.