The Top Team
Having reached this year’s goal of 48 points, the Omiya Ardija top team continued to accumulate more points by beating Shonan Bellmare 3-2 in Match 15 and Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 in Match 16. With a 0-1 loss to FC Tokyo in the final match, their total points reached 56, putting them in sixth place in the 2nd stage and fifth place in the year-round ranking. Meanwhile, Omiya gained a 1-0 victory against Yokohama FC in the fourth round of the Emperor’s Cup, advancing to the quarterfinals to be played on December 24.
Akihiro Ienaga was selected as one of the nine midfielders to receive the 2016 J.League Valuable Players Award. Ienaga is the third Omiya player to be awarded. Previous recipients from Omiya were Daigo Kobayashi (2006) and Rafael (2010). The J.League Awards ceremony will take place this year on December 20.
The junior youth team took part in the Prince Takamado Trophy All Japan Youth (U-15) Football Tournament, winning 4-0 to Progresso Sano U-15 in the first round and defeating Verdy SS Oyama 3-0 in the second round. They went up against JEF United Ichihara Chiba U-15 in the semifinals, losing 2-3 in extra time.
The Omiya Ardija Junior team were also eliminated in the 40th Japan U-12 Football Championship Saitama Prefectural Tournament with a 0-1 loss to Urawa Reds Junior.
Atsushi Kurokawa and Takumu Fujinuma from the top team dropped by the Omiya Ardija Soccer School Konosu Branch on November 16 and enjoyed playing football with the students. On November 18 Kazuma Takayama and Jin Izumisawa visited the Omiya Ardija Soccer School Lumine Omiya Branch. Students received a lot of helpful advice and inspiration from the professional players.
The “Omiya Ardija Soccer School in Lao” took place from November 12 to 15. It was the second year in a row for the “Japan Foundation Asia Center Soccer School” and the third consecutive year for the “Soccer School Presented by JCB” to be organized in Laos. The J.League, the Japan Foundation Asia Center, JCB, Saitama-Lao Friendship Association, and the Lao Football Association extended their support to the events. A total of 257 children, players, and coaches participated in the events and reinforced their friendship through football.
Omiya Ardija’s President Masashi Mori, Head Coach Hiroki Shibuya, and Akihiro Ienaga paid a courtesy visit to Saitama City Mayor Hayato Shimizu and the Saitama City Council on November 18 to give a report on the 2016 season. They also visited the five ward mayors of Saitama Nishi, Kita, Omiya, Minuma, and Iwatsuki to report the close of the 2016 season and to thank the wards for their support towards the club.
The Ardija Business Club’s “Omiya Awards 2016” was held on November 17 at the Altavista Garden. This year marks the seventh year, and Akihiro Ienaga was honored with the MVP Award.