The Top Team
Omiya Ardija’s opponent in Match 32 of the season was Yokohama FC, Omiya’s rival in the race for promotion to J1. Although Omiya managed a shut-out for the first time in five matches, the match ended in a scoreless draw and both teams gained one point. In the next match against Tokyo Verdy, MF Ippei Shinozuka and MF Noriyoshi Sakai each scored a goal from a set-piece, contributing to the 2-0 victory. The shut-out streak continued as Omiya defeated V・Varen Nagasaki, the former club of head coach Takuya Takagi and FW Juanma Delgado, with a 3-0 score in Match 34. In Match 35 against Mito Hollyhock, Omiya was trailing 0-2 at halftime but came from behind and scored three goals in the second half, capturing a badly needed three points. Match 36 against Avispa Fukuoka to be played at home was postponed because of typhoon No. 19 and rescheduled for November 6. After 35 season matches, Omiya is in second place with 17 wins, 6 losses and 12 draws.
Omiya Ardija’s U18 team was defeated 2-3 by Ryutsu Keizai University Kashiwa High School in the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2019 EAST. They played Kataller Toyama in the first round of the 2019 J Youth Cup (27th J.League Youth Championship) and captured a 3-0 shut-out victory.
Yosuke Murakami of Ardija’s U18 team was selected to the U-17 Japan National Team that will participate in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019. The World Cup will take place from October 26 to November 17. Murakami, who is the first Omiya Ardija Academy player to be selected as a World Cup member, will join the national team from October 15 and travel to Brazil for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
On September 15, at the occasion of Match 32 against Yokohama FC, a friendly match between Omiya Ardija’s Soccer School and Yokohama FC Soccer School was held at the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Football Stadium. The Ardija soccer school students also took part in a tour to support Ardija in their match against Yokohama. Some 24 students from fourth to sixth grade participated in the match and tour. The weather was perfect and they enjoyed playing football on the beautiful natural turf pitch, working hard with great teamwork for a goal. After the friendly match, they welcomed the top team players onto the pitch with a high five, then moved to the spectator stand to cheer for Ardija’s victory.
The “2019 Omiya Ardija Fan Festival presented by Shimada-zukuri Udon Okina-no-Sato” was held on September 29 at NACK5 Stadium Omiya. Despite being the day after a home game, about 1,500 fans came to the event. The players and staff also dropped by the booths and the pitch event after their training session to enjoy the festival with the fans.
On September 23, the “Saitama Soccer Festa 2019” was held at the Urawa Komaba Stadium. A special match between former players of Omiya Ardija and Urawa Reds, as well as an “Academy match” between the two clubs’ U-14 teams took place. The former players signed autographs for the fans, and everyone on and off the pitch seemed to be having a lot of fun. The smiles everywhere reconfirmed the positive effect football can have on people and society.