The Top Team
With the lifting of the state of emergency, Omiya Ardija resumed group training sessions from May 28 and full scale training from June 4. This year’s J.League season will kick off on June 27 after a delay of four months. Omiya’s opponent for the opener of the season will be Jef United Ichihara Chiba, and it will be an away match. The first home game will be held the following week against Thespakusatsu Gunma. Though the first two matches of the season will be played in empty stadiums without spectators, J.League is currently discussing the possibility of bringing the crowd back into the stadiums from Match 4, though with certain restrictions. The restrictions will be lifted in stages according to social circumstances that respond to the COIVD-19 crisis. League matches will be played through December 20, and the top two teams will automatically be promoted to J1. There will be no team relegation to J3.
With the lifting of the state of emergency, training for all categories has resumed from June 1. However, to prevent COVID-19 infections, selections will not be carried out in person. Therefore, the U15 team used videos to select members for the team from sixth graders. Applicants are required to submit a video including a self-introduction, showing them playing a match, and clearing the challenges given by the club such as jump roping and doing side steps. The deadline for submitting the video was the end of June.
The Omiya Ardija Soccer School re-opened on June 3, and the Orange Court Stellartown facilities re-opened on June 20. To prevent the spreading of COVID-19, new applications for free trials will not be accepted until further notice.
The “2020 J.League ‘Sharen!’ Awards, Extra Edition: Locker Room Talk” was organized on May 20, with Keisuke Oyama and Ardija’s club staff participating. The on-line event was held in place of the 2020 J.League ‘Sharen!’ Awards Ceremony, and it helped promote the activities of each award and expand the reach. Participation to the on-line event was accepted on a pre-application basis. In total, about 90 people participated in the on-line event. Ryo Tabei, president, and Nozomu Otokozawa, Chairman, of Mainichi Kogyo; Chieko Eto, a teacher at the Omiya School for the Deaf; Tatsuyoshi Naito of the Saitama City Association of People with a Hearing Impairment; and Kyoko Saegusa of the Saitama Aerobic Federation took part as representatives of the committee that implemented “Support Sign Language Day”, which received the Social Challenger Award. The “Support Sign Language Day” committee members introduced their first encounter with sign language and expressed their dedication towards the activity. Mayor Hayato Shimizu of Saitama City also sent a message to the event.
On June 9, Masashi Mori, president of Omiya Ardija, and Hisanori Takasu, head of Omiya Ardija’s business operations department, joined Yoichi Tachibana, president of Urawa Reds, and paid a courtesy visit to the mayor of Saitama City, Hayato Shimizu, to report the re-opening of the J.League and the various measures taken against COVID-19. They also met with the governor of Saitama Prefecture, Motohiro Ono, to report the efforts being made toward Saitama Prefecture’s project, “Sai-no-Kuni ‘New Life Style’ Safety Declaration”.
It was decided that, due to the restricted opening of the season, the 2020 season tickets will be fully reimbursed to all those who purchased them.