The Top Team
After leading the Meiji Yasuda J2 League for most of the season, the Omiya Ardija top team was struggling as the climax of 2015 approached. But the moment of joy finally arrived at Match 41. Winning this last home game of the season meant capturing the J2 league champion title, but the opponent, Oita Trinita, was not going to make it so easy. Omiya conceded two goals early into the second half, but managed to tie the score with FW Dragan Mrdja’s goals in the 69th and 81st minutes. Mrdja gained a foul in the penalty box area in the 87th minute, and Akihiro Ienaga took the penalty shot to put give Omiya the advantage they were longing for. Defending this one-goal lead till the end, Omiya’s record came to 25 wins, 8 losses, and 8 ties, securing the J2 title and a return to the J1 league. Head Coach Hiroki Shibuya commented, “When Omiya Ardija was promoted to J1 in 2004, we had finished in second place of the J2 league. And today, we are making a comeback to J1 as the champion of J2. Never again should we find ourselves in J2 again,” and pledged to maintain a solid position in the top league where they belong.
The Omiya Ardija Youth team played against FC Tokyo U-18 in the third round of the “J Youth Cup,” which kicked off on October 10. FC Tokyo took the lead with a goal gained only 5 minutes into the match, but Omiya caught up in the 65th minute with a goal by Kento Kawata and the match went into extended time. Just before the whistle, FC Tokyo scored the decider in the 112th minute and Omiya was defeated in the third round of the tournament.
The positive news is that GK Yuki Kato of the youth team was selected as a member of the U-18 Japan National Team and will take part in the November 9-17 tour to England.
The Omiya Ardija junior youth team played in the semi-final of the Saitama Club Youth U-15 competition, and lost 1-2 to Grande Football Club. Omiya was matched up with Bunan Junior Football Club in the match for third/fourth place, and finished with a 2-0 victory, capturing 3rd place.
Meanwhile, the junior youth team participating in the Kanto Youth (U-13) Soccer League played against Jef United Ichihara-Chiba in Match 11 and won 3-0, gaining second place in Division 2C with a record of 9 wins and 2 losses.
On November 14 a home game event was organized for the soccer school students prior to Match 41 against Oita Trinita. 29 kids who won the lottery participate in four different events: warm-up high touch, flag bearer, mascot escort kids, and kickoff kids.
On November 15 Omiya Ardija organized a “Minuma-ku Kids Soccer Clinic” at the Horisaki Park Soccer Ground in Minuma-ku, Saitama City. Participating in the event were the U-12 coach as well as MF Tomonobu Yokoyama, DF Tsubasa Oya, and goodwill ambassador Taishi Tsukamoto. Of over 200 kids who applied for the soccer clinic, approximately 100 were selected by lottery to enjoy an afternoon of football.
Omiya Ardija Soccer School will also be taking part in the “J School Winter Camp 2015” to be held from December 28 to 30 at the Kashima Heights Sports Plaza. J Club schools in the Kanto area will play 8-a-side football in a friendly competition.
Bordering Saitama City on the north side, Ageo City will implement a “Kirari Ageo PR Ambassador” program. GK Nobuhiro Kato, who lived in Ageo City until he was in third grade, has been appointed as the first ambassador and a swearing-in ceremony was held on October 29.
The “Sports and Recreation Day for the Handicapped” was organized by Saitama City on November 7. Four staff members from Omiya Ardija, including Yasuhiro Oishi, Chief of Community Relations Development, participated in the football portion of the event.
On November 11 club members helped plant orange flowers at three locations: Takagi Ground in Nishi-ku, Saitama City; NACK 5 Stadium Omiya; and Horisaki Park Ground.
Also on the 11th, the award ceremony for the 66th Saitama City Omiya Area Elementary School Ekiden took place. Goodwill ambassador Taishi Tsukamoto and the club mascot Ardy attended the ceremony and handed the award certificates to the fifth and sixth graders who finished among the top ranks.