The Top Team
Omiya Ardija announced on December 7 that the contract for Hiroto Hatao, Noriyoshi Sakai, and Vitālijs Maksimenko will expire at the end of this season. An announcement followed on December 8 that Takuya Takagi, who has led the team as head coach since the 2019 season, will also be leaving. Head coach Takagi commented, “I am very grateful for all the support I’ve been given over the past two years. I extend my best wishes to Omiya Ardija. Thank you for everything.”
The 2020 season of the Meiji Yasuda J2 League ended on December 20, and Omiya Ardija finished in 15th place with 14 wins, 17 losses, and 11 draws. On December 19, Masashi Mori, president of the club, announced that he would be stepping down at the end of January 2021. Omiya Ardija will be starting the 2021 season under a new management team. Ardija’s new uniform was also revealed on December 20.
Omiya Ardija’s U18 team finished the Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2020 Kanto with 4 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw. Tomoya Osawa, who will be promoted to the top team next season, was crowned the top scorer. Masaya Shibayama, who will also join the top team next year, was selected to take part in the training camp for the U-18 Japan National Team candidates. Likewise, Haruki Ozawa and Takuya Maezawa were chosen to join the training camp for the U-16 Japan National Team candidates.
The U15 team was scheduled to play in the Prince Takamado Trophy 32nd JFA U-15 Japan Football Championship, but declined their participation in order to prioritize the players’ safety amidst the on-going COVID-19 outbreak. Meanwhile, Rion Ichihara was invited as an additional member to the training camp for the U-15 Japan National Team candidates that kicked off on November 30.
The U12 team played against the Kounan Minami Soccer Shonendan in the semifinal of the 44th JFA Japan Football Championship, Saitama Prefectural Tournament, and lost in the penalty shootout. They finished the tournament in third place.
A “2020 Partners Meeting” was held on December 4. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, almost no activities could be organized this year with the business community. For the very first time, Ardija Business Club offered the option of either participating on line or in person. A total of 78 participants from 40 companies took part. Chairman of the J.League, Mitsuru Murai, also participated on line as a special guest and gave a speech.
On December 26, the “2020 Omiya Ardija Thanks Festival presented by Shimada-zukuri Udon” was held. The event featured top team players in an on-line talk show and raffle. Atsushi Kurokawa participated in the annual “Pride & Dream Saitama Talk Festival”, which was organized on December 21 in an on-line format.