The Top Team
With the J1 2017 season just around the corner, Omiya Ardija’s opponents in Match 1 (February 25) and Match 2 (March 4) have been revealed. The season opener will take place on February 25 at NACK5 Stadium Omiya against Kawasaki Frontale, and on March 4 Omiya will go up against F.C. Tokyo at Ajinomoto Stadium.
Omiya Ardija’s new team staff was announced to the media on January 14. The club’s President Masashi Mori the Head Coach Daiju Matsumoto, and the club’s Development Director Hiroki Shibuya attended the press conference and presented the club’s objectives and the team’s goals for the 2017 season and confirmed that the team will continue to use the slogan, “Challenge.” The media was also introduced to the six new team members – Akinari Kawazura, Genki Omae, Ariajasuru Hasegawa, Riku Yamada, Akimi Barada, and Yusuke Segawa – who took to the stage and expressed their determination to contribute to the team.
On the 15th the team visited Hikawa Shrine and prayed for a successful season. The team then had their first training session of this season, which was followed by a talk show in which the new team members took part. About 2,500 fans and supporters gathered at NACK5 Stadium Omiya for the occasion. The team will train in Okinawa then in Miyazaki in preparation for the long battle this season.
During the announcement of the new team staff on January 14, it was revealed that Ryugo Okamoto will assume the new title of Head Coach of the junior youth team and Seiichiro Okuno will be called the Head of Coaches. Former club member, Yusuke Shimada, has been appointed Junior Coach, and Yuji Matsubara will fill the role of Development Trainer.
The Omiya Ardija junior youth team is making great strides in the 26th Saitama Prefecture Club Youth (U-14) Championship. They crushed Kasukabe 4-0 in the third round, and grabbed another victory in the quarterfinal against Han FC with a 1-0 shut-out. The semifinal will take place on January 28 and the final is scheduled on January 29. The junior youth also gained a win on January 22 in the 19th Saitama Prefecture Youth (U-13) Soccer Championship. The match played against Club Yono to decide the club representing Saitama went into a penalty shoot-out.
Koji Ezumi, who retired from professional football last year, will start the 2017 season as the U-12 coach. He will be working as a staff of the Regional Producing Department under Omiya Ardija’s Development Promotion Headquarters. Also appointed as the U-12 coach were Ryusuke Endo and Tatsuki Iijima.
Ardy, the club mascot, made an appearance at the “2017 Saitama City Adult’s Day Ceremony” held on January 9 at Saitama Super Arena. Ardy welcomed the fresh 20-year-olds at the entrance of the arena, congratulating them on the start of a new journey as adults.
246 fans and supporters attended the Omiya Ardija Supporters Meeting, which took place on January 14 at Saitama Super Arena’s Toiro. The agenda covered such issues as this year’s plans and objectives of the club, the top team, and the Academy; overall business matters; and compliance. The final part of the meeting was set aside for a question-and-answer session.
On Friday, January 20, the “Omiya Ardija Soccer Clinic” was held at Imaizumi Elementary School in Ageo City. The event is part of the Saitama Prefecture Children’s Dream Delivery Project. The children who participated enjoyed kicking the ball around on this cold winter day that occasionally had a light snow fall.