The Top Team
Kosuke Kikuchi was selected to serve as team captain again for the fifth consecutive season, while Ataru Esaka, Daisuke Watabe, and Shigeru Yokotani were appointed vice-captains.
On February 11 the top team played a pre-season friendly match at Nack5 Stadium Omiya against Thespakusatsu Gunma, shutting out the opponent 1-0 with a goal by Esaka 2 minutes into the game.
The 2017 J.League Kickoff Conference took place on February 13. Head Coach Hiroki Shibuya and MF Keisuke Oyama of Omiya Ardija joined the head coaches and players representing all the J1, J2 and J3 clubs attending the event, and they were interviewed by a large media turnout. Running into their opening match opponent, Kawasaki Frontale, Omiya and Kawasaki wished each other good luck.
The Omiya Ardija youth team travelled to Abu Dhabi from February 11 to 14 to take part in a football exchange program organized by the J.League. They trained together and played friendly matches with the youth teams from Al-Wahda and Al Jazira. Omiya’s youth team won 1-0 against All-Wahda and drew 1-1 with Al Jazira.
Meanwhile, Naoki Suto from the junior youth team was called to the training camp for the U-15 Japan National Team which took place from February 16 to 19.
On Sunday, January 29, Omiya Ardija’s junior youth team played in the final of the 26th Saitama Prefecture Club Youth (U-14) Championship, defeating Kumagaya SC 2-1 to win the title.
MF Mateus visited the Omiya Ardija Soccer School in Ageo City on February 16 and gave the students advice on improving their skills. Afterwards, they took a photo together, and Mateus signed autographs for everyone.
The following day, February 17, Kohei Yamakoshi and Takumu Fujinuma dropped in at the school in Omiya City to encourage the students who aspire to become professional footballers.
On February 12 the Omiya Ardija Players Supporting Committee organized a pep rally for the players for the 2017 season. About 380 club supporters from the community and the football family turned out to the event, expressing their best wishes to the team.
The 2017 general assembly of the Omiya Ardija Business Club (ABC) was held on February 15, followed by a reception afterwards. This year marks the tenth ABC general assembly, and 103 participants from a record-breaking 55 companies (out of a membership of 100) attended to celebrate a decade of solidarity and mutual support between the club and the partners.
On February 15 and 16, players from the top team paid a courtesy visit to the mayor’s office in Saitama City’s wards of Nishi, Kita, Omiya, Minuma, and Iwatsuki. On the 17th, Omiya Ardija’s President Masashi Mori and Head Coach Hiroki Shibuya paid a courtesy visit to the Mayor of Saitama City, Hayato Shimizu; the Saitama City Council; the Governor of Saitama Prefecture, Kiyoshi Ueda; and the Saitama Prefectural Assembly.
An announcement was made on January 31 that Taishi Tsukamoto would continue to serve as Club Ambassador again this year. In addition to his role as ambassador, Tsukamoto will be assigned to work on hometown activities and programs as a club staff.