The Top Team
The Omiya Ardija top team crushed Yokohama FC 3-0 in Match 19, extending their consecutive shut-out victory to five. Although they tasted bitter defeat in Match 20 with their first home-game loss of the season, they bounced right back to mark four wins in a row. As other clubs struggle to gain points, Omiya Ardija stands at the top of the league after Match 24 with an 8-point lead over runner-up Jubilo Iwata and a 15-point lead over third place Zweigen Kanazawa.
Meanwhile, the draw for the 95th Emperor’s Cup tournament took place. Omiya Ardija will play in the first round against the Tochigi Prefecture team on Saturday, August 29, and the second round against the winner of the Tokyo Verdy vs. Niigata Prefecture team on Sunday, September 6. Both matches will be played at NACK5 Stadium Omiya.
Omiya’s DF Kazuma Takayama has been the only player repeatedly called upon to the J.League U-22 Selection team, but he will be joined by MF Masato Kojima and MF Keisuke Oyama. This will be the first time for Kojima, while Oyama was selected 11 times last year and will play for the J.League U-22 for the first time this season on Sunday, July 19.
The Omiya Ardija Youth team is participating in the Prince Takamado Trophy All Japan Youth (U-18) Premier Football League East, and after playing Match 7 to 10 they stand at second place after Kashima Antlers Youth with 5 wins and 5 draws. Omiya is the only club that is yet to lose a match. They are also scheduled to take part in the 39th Japan Club Youth (U-18) Football Championship and the 2015 J.Youth Cup. The draw to determine the match-ups for these competitions took place, and for the Club Youth Championship, Omiya will play in Group D together with Cerezo Osaka, Jubilo Iwata, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima. For the J.Youth Cup, Omiya will start in the second round, playing against the winner of the Thespakusatsu Gunma vs. Yokohama FC match.
Omiya Ardija will conduct a tryout for the junior youth team. Players due to enter the eighth grade (first year in junior high school) in April 2016 are eligible. For details, please click HERE (information available in Japanese only).
A home game event exclusively for soccer school students was held prior to Match 23 against Fagiano Okayama. Over 100 third and fourth graders gathered at NACK5 Stadium Omiya to participate in football matches and other events on the natural grass pitch.
On Saturday, July 18, the “Omiya Ardija Family Soccer Class” was organized at Tobu Sports Club Preon Fujimino for families with kindergarten kids and first- and second-graders. 19 pairs totaling 38 participants enjoyed the parent-child interaction through football under the instruction of the Omiya Ardija’s U-12 coach.
On the same day, the “Iwatsuki Ward Kids Soccer Class” was held at the Iwatsuki Elementary School (Iwatsuki Ward, Saitama City). 120 children who live or go to school in Iwatsuki Ward participated and they received an original tote bag and other souvenirs.
Sunday, July 12, the day of Match 23 against Fagiano Okayama, was “Support Our Club in Sign Language Day.” It was the seventh time this event was held. The club rooters’ song “We are Orange” was performed in sign language and singing together by supporters with and without a disability. Omiya Ardija devotes special attention to promote an environment where all people with or without a disability can enjoy sports together without any boundaries or discrimination.
On Tuesday, July 14, DF Yuko Takase took part in the “Yumekobo Miracle Sensei (Dream Workshop’s Miracle Teacher),” an activity promoting communication and rapport organized by the Saitama City Board of Education. Takase visited Miyahara Elementary School (Saitama City) and taught two programs – one in practical football skills and the other a lecture on “The Importance of Working towards Your Dream” – to 145 sixth grade students. Afterwards Takase commented, “It went very smoothly because the kids actively participated in the program, showing interest and asking questions. I had a great time.”