The Top Team
After three consecutive victories, Omiya Ardija faced Yokohama FC in Match 9 of the Meiji Yasuda J2 League. FW Juanma DELGADO scored two goals to assure a 2-1 victory for Omiya. The next match against FC Machida Zelvia was an away game, but Omiya defended the solo goal scored by MF Akimi Barada and shut out the hosts 1-0. This victory put Omiya in second place, which would automatically promote them to J1 if they could hang on to this position till the end of the season. In Match 11 against Jef United Ichihara Chiba, Omiya couldn’t shake the goal net and drew 0-0 and their winning streak came to a halt. The next match played at home against Ehime FC was a tough one, but Omiya came from behind and scored two goals by DF Akinari Kawazura and MF Toshiki Ishikawa to snatch a victory. In Match 13 against Renofa Yamaguchi FC, Omiya again came from behind to overturn the score, but this time they gave away a penalty kick just before the end of the match, drawing 2-2. Although Omiya missed winning two matches in a row coming from behind, they picked up their pace and for nine straight matches they have not lost since the March 23 match against Mito Hollyhock. At the end of Match 13, Omiya is ranked in third place with 7 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws.
Head coach Takuya Takagi was chosen April’s “Best Head Coach of the Month in the 2019 Meiji Yasuda J2 League”. This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of the head coaches in the J1, J2 and J3 Leagues every month.
Omiya Ardija’s U18 team played in the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League, drawing 2-2 with Aomori Yamada High School in Match 3 and with Jubilo Iwata U-18 in Match 4. They went on to shut out Ryutsu Keizai University Kashiwa High School 2-0 in Match 5 and their Saitama rival, Urawa Reds Youth, 1-0 in Match 6, gaining fourth place with 3 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws.
Omiya Ardija’s U15 team is competing in the 2019 Kanto Youth (U-15) Football League. Four matches (Matches 6 – 9) were played during the months of April and May, and Omiya U15 shut out all four opponents: a 2-0 victory against Yokohama F Marinos Junior Youth, another 2-0 victory against FC Tokyo U-15 Fukagawa, a 0-0 draw with Kawasaki Frontale U-15, and a 2-0 win against Tochigi SC Junior Youth. They have not lost a single match since the tournament opened, and they lead after eight matches with 6 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw.
DF Akinari Kawazura of Omiya Ardija’s top team paid a visit to Ardija’s Soccer School in Kawagoe on May 15, and enjoyed playing football with the school students. Kawazura encouraged them saying, “Sometimes practice was very hard, but I kept working hard toward my dream to become a professional football player. You, too, can overcome any difficulty if you think how hard you’re training in football. Keep trying, and most importantly, enjoy playing football.”
Omiya Ardija participated in the “26th Fujin-no-mori Tree-planting Event” which took place on Sunday, April 28, in the Taro area of the city of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture. Ardija has been involved in this activity since 2013, and this year marks the seventh time. About 130 participants gathered for the event, most of them local, and some coming from as far as Kobe, and together they planted 1,000 quercus serrate saplings. In 2008 Omiya Ardija established an “Eco Club”, and one of the activities is to collect and recycle PET bottle caps. The caps are exchanged for cash, and Ardija donated the funds in support of the tree-planting activities.