The Top Team
On January 14, in front of an enthusiastic home crowd of 2,300, Omiya Ardija’s top team held their first training session of the year at NACK5 Stadium Omiya. Head Coach Masatada Ishii made a pledge to the fans and supporters: “Our goal is clear. To win the J2 title and return to J1 next year.” The players had a good workout for about 75 minutes.
After this year’s first training session, the media as well as the fans and supporters were invited to MOVIX Saitama for the “Presentation of the 2018 Omiya Ardija New Club Organization.” Part 1 of the event opened with a video commemorating the 20th anniversary of the club, followed by a speech by Masashi Mori, President of Omiya Ardija, and an introduction to the development plan and objectives by Tetsuya Nishiwaki, the head of development. Head coach Ishii revealed the team slogan “ONE 〜For Victory〜” for the 2018 season. In Part 2, the new players and staff were called up to the stage and took part in a talk show.
The match-ups for the first two matches of this year’s J2 league were announced. Omiya will open the season playing Ventforet Kofu at home on February 25, and will play an away game on March 4 against FC Machida Zelvia.
Omiya Ardija’s junior youth team participated in three different age cagtegory competitions. In the quarterfinals of the Prince Takamado Trophy All Japan Youth (U-15) Football Tournament that took place on December 24, Omiya beat the Kashima Antlers Jr. Youth 2-1. On December 26, they took on F.C.Tokyo U-15 Fukagawa in the semifinals, losing with a 0-3 score. On January 13, Omiya played against Kumagaya SC in the third round of the 27th Saitama Club Youth (U-14) Soccer Championship and suffered a 0-4 loss. In the second round of the 20th Saitama Club Youth (U-13) Soccer Championship played on January 7, Omiya shut out GRAMADO 6-0. They clutched another 4-0 victory against KASUKABE in the following match, which was the decider for the club to represent Saitama Prefecture.
Omiya’s junior team participated in the Japan U-12 Football Championship, which was held from December 26 to 28. Omiya advanced from the group stage to the semifinals, but lost to Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 0-1. On January 8, Omiya took on Urawa Ohyaguchi in the Southern Area Tournament of the 12th Saitama Class 4 Rookie Championship and captured an overwhelming 10-0 win.
The J School Winter Camp was held at the Kashima Heights Sports Plaza from December 28 to 30. Some 39 Ardija Soccer School students in fifth and sixth grades participated, and they made friends with other soccer school students from Sendai, Kashima, Kawasaki, Yokohama FM, and Shimizu.
On December 21, a ceremony unveiling “Ajisai-go,” a car-pool taxi that will operate in the Nishi-ku Sashiogi Area, took place at the Orange Cube Clubhouse. The body of the brand new taxi was decorated with a Nishi-ku and Ardija collaboration logo as well as the club’s mascots, Ardy and Miya.
Ardy made an appearance at Saitama City’s “coming of age” ceremony for 2018 held on January 8. Some 13,240 twenty-year-olds attended the ceremony to celebrate adulthood.
On January 10, Ardy also took part in a campaign for “110” (the emergency phone number for the police). Ardy and Poppo-kun, the mascot for the Saitama Police, handed out giveaways to people passing through Omiya Station and posed for photos.