The Top Team
This year’s J2 season kicked off on February 25, and Omiya Ardija opened the season with a home game at NACK5 Stadium Omiya against Ventforet Kofu. Goals by MF Mateus and FW Robin Šimović kept Ardija in the lead and led to a 2-1 victory. In Match 2 against FC Machida Zelvia, Omiya conceded two goals but FW Genki Omae and FW Šimović scored to even the game. However, Ardija allowed another goal and lost with a 2-3 finish. Returning home for Match 3 against Tokushima Vortis, GK Takashi Kasahara made some fantastic saves, but it was Vortis who gained the upper hand with a set play and won 0-1. It was the second loss in a row for Ardija. Match 4 against Zweigen Kanazawa took place again in Omiya. After a scoreless first half, Zweigen took the lead but Ardija’s Shintaro Shimada evened the score in the 86th minute. It was Shimada’s first goal since joining the team. Determined to win, Ardija took 12 shots at the goal, twice as many attempts as the opponent, but the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The 2018 Kanto Youth (U-15) Soccer League opened the season on March 4. Omiya Ardija’s junior youth team drew 1-1 with Tochigi SC Junior Youth in Match 1, and was defeated 1-4 by Urawa Reds Junior Youth in Match 2. The first victory of the season came in Match 3 with a 3-1 win against Kashiwa Reysol U-15.
Ardija’s junior youth U-13 team advanced to the final of the 20th Saitama Prefecture Culb Youth (U-13) Soccer Championship. They went up against FC LAVIDA and lost 0-1, and finished as the runner-up.
Omiya Ardija’s soccer school is accepting applications from new students for fiscal year 2018. There are 13 soccer school venues throughout Saitama Prefecture. Kids from kindergarten to sixth grade are eligible. If the number of applicants exceeds the capacity for the classes, students will be chosen by lottery.
From February 26 to March 4, four members from the U-20 Laos national team visited Japan. One goalie, two forwards and one goalkeeper coach participated in the youth training session and watched the top team practice. This was part of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 development program supported by the Japan Foundation ASIA CENTER and the J.League.
The “Omiya Ardija Players OB Club” was established on March 8, with Masato Saito serving as president and Satoshi Yokoyama and Hayato Hashimoto as vice presidents.
As part of the efforts to support the reconstruction of the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Omiya Ardija invited 25 fourth and fifth grade students from Kamaishi City’s junior football club to the March 10 match against Tokushima Vortis. In the morning of March 11, the visiting students played football with Omiya Ardija’s soccer school students. In the afternoon, a charity football clinic was organized for third and fourth grade students. Ardija collected donations during these two days and raised 386,637 yen.
Omiya Ardija was officially recognized as a volunteer fire corps cooperating organization. On behalf of the club, Ardija’s president, Masashi Mori, was awarded a certificate at a ceremony held on March 14.