The Top Team
The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has led to a state of emergency declared throughout Saitama Prefecture, and the kick-off of the J.League 2020 season has been put on hold. The Omiya Ardija top team has suspended all activities from April 5 (Sunday), and as of the time this issue of the Ardija News is written, there is no indication as to when training can start either.
All categories of the Academy have also suspended their activities. However, since the Golden Week holidays, top team players who attended the Academy have been taking part in an on-line event using the web conference system. This initiative has benefitted the Academy students, who are given a chance to ask questions directly to the players – something they rarely get a chance to do!
The COVID-19 crisis has also put all soccer school activities on hold, and the Omiya Ardija futsal court “Orange Court Stellartown” is also closed,
During this crisis, the Omiya Ardija Soccer School invited the students to send in questions directed towards the top team players, and many questions were submitted. The top team players replied to every single question which was captured on video and can be viewed on the Omiya Ardija Soccer School’s official Facebook and You Tube accounts.
As part of the “Stay Home” initiative, an on-line get-together event using a web conference system was organized on May 2 and 5 exclusively for Omiya Ardija’s fan club members. Takamitsu Tomiyama, Noriyoshi Sakai, and Kanji Okunuki took part in the May 2 event, which was for the fan club members only. On May 5, Children’s Day, the event in the morning was open to fan club members from elementary school, with Toshiki Ishikawa, Ippei Shinozuka, and Yuki Katoh attending; and the afternoon session for the soccer school students featured Hiroto Hatao, Shunsuke Kikuchi, and Takumu Fujinuma.
The 2020 J.League ‘Sharen’ Awards recognize social activities carried out in 56 J.League club hometowns. Omiya Ardija entered the “Support Sign Language Day” initiative, which received the Social Challenger Award. The award commends an activity that is seen to be making the biggest effort to overcome a particular social issue in the local community. “Support Sign Language Day” received the largest number of votes from the general public. The jury composed of experts and J.League board directors screened the candidates and awarded the “Support Sign Language Day” effort.
The citizen group working to implement J.League’s mission is preparing to publish a picture book titled “Soccer Town”, and Omiya Ardija pitched in by supervising its content. The picture book is designed to increase interest in community assets through the introduction of Saitama City’s soccer history. The double cover features Urawa Red Diamonds and Omiya Ardija, and the story evolves around the history of these two clubs based in Saitama, ending in a showdown at the “Saitama Derby” match.
Shunsuke Kikuchi from Ardija’s top team recorded a message to warn people against frauds that take advantage of the benefit payment to support citizens on the occasion of the COVID-19 crisis. Kikuchi’s message was broadcast on weekdays from May 18 to 29 through the “Saitama Disaster Prevention” radio, a public administration radio broadcasting system.