The Top Team
Hoping to make a come back to J1 after one season, Omiya Ardija’s top team defeated Fagiano Okayama 1-0 in Match 42 to finish in fifth place, gaining a spot in the playoffs. Omiya went up against Tokyo Verdy in their first playoff match, but was shut out 0-1 and could not fulfill their goal of returning to J1 next season.
At the close of the season, Head Coach Masatada Ishii announced that he would be stepping down. “I will be bidding farewell to the club, but next season I’ll be extending my full support to Omiya Ardija as a fan,” said Ishii.
Omiya signed Takuya Takagi as the new head coach for the 2019 season.
On the players’ side, contracts expired at the end of this season with GK Nobuhiro Kato, MF Shigeru Yokotani, DF DongSu Kim, and FW Marcelo Toscano.
Omiya Ardija’s youth team played Match 16 of the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Prince League 2018 Kanto against Mitsubishi Yowa SC Youth, capturing a 2-1 victory. They shut out Maebashi Ikuei High School 4-0 in the next match, but lost 0-1 to Yokohama F･Marinos Youth in their last match. With a final ranking of third place, they advanced to the playoffs of the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2018. Head Coach Yusuke Tanno commented before the playoffs: “Our team has demonstrated exceptional solidarity at every match. Hopefully, we can win two more and return to the premier league.” As Head Coach Tanno hoped, Omiya’s youth team overwhelmed Kamatamare Sanuki U-18 in the first match with a 3-0 score and won the second playoff match against Tokaidai Osaka Gyosei High School 3-1, gaining a place in the premier league in one year.
After the regular season ended, top team players visited eight Ardija Soccer Schools across Saitama Prefecture in the first half of December. The soccer school students who participated played a mini-game against the top team players. Their eyes sparkled each time the top team players showed a brilliant move. They were also treated to a Q & A session, and the top team players signed autographs for them.
On December 12, Masashi Mori, president of Omiya Ardija, was accompanied by Kosuke Kikuchi and Keisuke Oyama on a courtesy visit to Saitama City’s Mayor Hayato Shimizu and the city council to express their gratitude for their support throughout the year and to give a report on the club’s achievements in the 2018 season. The mayor replied, “We wish Ardija a great season next year and hope the club will make it back to J1.”
The Ardija Business Club (ABC) hosted the “Omiya Awards 2018” on December 12 at Laforet Shimizu-en in Omiya Ward. Some 105 guests from 50 businesses gathered for the event and socialized with the players. Players who received the most votes from the ABC members were awarded for their outstanding play. Genki Omae received the MIP award.
The “Omiya Ardija 20th Anniversary Reception” was held on December 19. About 230 guests attended the festive occasion, including local citizens who have supported the club since it was established, partners, members of the football family, and past presidents and head coaches.