Tokyo, May 27-29, 2016
Nadia NPO is actively supporting many projects for children affected by the March 11, 2011 disaster in Tohoku. Since 2013, Nadia has delivered over 18 new “Playgrounds of Hope” to disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku, in addition to sending children affected by Fukushima disaster to summer homestays in Italy and rebuilding of a new community center/soccer club house in Rikuzentakata.
The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup is the result of a collaborative proposal to invite soccer teams from the disaster-stricken Tohoku area to the Kanto area to participate in a soccer tournament to build lasting friendships between Tohoku and Kanto, in addition to exposing them to an international community of children and families in the much in the same way the global community has rallied together in support of the Tohoku region since 2011. The event was first held in May 2015 with 4 teams from Tohoku and 4 from Tokyo International Schools. The success of this event led to the building of long lasting relationships between Tohoku and Tokyo teams.
Following the success of the event last year, the members of Nadia were excited to run the event again with the ambition to make the event bigger and better. An important accomplishment this year year was the connection to the local Hikarigaoka community via the community liaison Hiroshi Asemi. We expanded the event with the addition of a soccer field and 2 local Japanese soccer teams, which meant more fun and time play for all participating kids. In addition, we also had a special guest, Manuel Belleri from AC Milan soccer school who performed as a soccer clinic coach to the delight of all
The following teams returned to compete this year to try to reclaim the Soccer Cup from the DSTY Eagles who were the winners of last year. The returning Kanto teams were the A-JIS Junior Jaguars and DSTY Eagles. From Tohoku, Rikuzentakata’s Shishiori FC, Souma’s Ohno Sports Youth FC and Ishinomaki’s Fantasista FC returned to this year friendship soccer tournament. In addition to these 5 teams, the Tokyo West Hawks, Harunokaze Canaries FC, Hikarigaoka Kid FC joined from the first time from Tokyo and the Nakano FC team joined from Sendai, also for the first time.
The core Nadia members of Guy Roberge, Justin Ho, Fri McWilliams, Naomi Rennie, Asumi Ota and Morgan Knight in coordination with Greg Culos from Aoba JIS formed the core committee to coordinate and execute this event to great success. Operation of the event was coordinated by volunteers from Nadia and the participating sponsor organizations to help with setup, supervision, food preparation and refereeing of the games.
Arrival of the Tohoku Teams
The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup was hosted on the weekend of May 28th and 29th with the Tohoku teams arriving on the evening of Friday, May 27th to dorm at the gymnasium of A-JIS. Many of the children from Tohoku were in Tokyo for the first time. The Tohoku kids were so excited after their arrival to dorm at A-JIS, they were found to have woken up to an energetic sunny 6:00 am start to the day (somewhat to the dismay of the supporting Tohoku coaches staying with the children overnight, who were hoping for some extra sleep).
Day 1 Soccer Matches and Activities
The Tokyo teams and volunteers arrived on the morning of May 28th when meetings for the coaches and volunteers were held. The opening ceremony hosted by Greg set the outline and tone of the event to be one of friendly competition and sportsmanship. On Day 1, all teams played a total of 5 games with a mix of teams playing against international teams, local Japanese teams and Tohoku teams on 2 fields.
Soccer matches commenced at 9am and ran throughout the day, through lunch and right up until dinner. Teams that were not playing on the fields had the opportunity to attend AC Milan’s soccer clinics, play in the pool and cheer other playing teams between their own matches.
The events continued well into late in the afternoon with the soccer teams being taken to the local sento to bathe after their final matches. A dinner BBQ was hosted by the volunteers consisting of hamburgers, hotdogs, salad and grilled vegetables.
Both the Tohoku teams and Kanto teams were exhausted from a full day of activities by the evening and retired to the gymnasium where they would dorm for the night in preparation for the 2nd day of soccer matches. A total of 130 kids stayed over at Aoba.
Throughout the day, local community volunteers from Aoba-JIS, Hikarigaoka local community were gracious enough to set aside time to work alongside the corporate volunteers from our sponsor organizations.
Andreas and staff at Cezar’s Kitchen ensured all kids were in top shape
for the game by providing delicious breakfast and lunch on Saturday
The staff of Caezar’s Kitchen provided breakfast and bentos for the first day of the matches, while also assisting with the procurement of all food for the volunteer-run BBQ on Saturday evening and the finale BBQ hosted on Sunday.
Day 2 Soccer Matches and Activities
Based on the results from Day 1, the teams were ranked to play in the final tournamenent matches. Like Saturday, the children woke to an early start and were practicing on the soccer pitch by 6 am.
The staff of Caesar’s Kitchen had breakfast for kids ready by 7:30 am for
the teams to be ready for their initial matches at 9 am. The 2nd day of the event had a total of 11 matches among all teams to determine the final rankings and the winners of the Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup.
The Tokyo West competing against Shishiori FC at Harunokaze field
With the games running throughout the day, the volunteers from the sponsor organizations came together to prepare for the finale BBQ.
BBQ on Saturday and Sunday featured Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Seasonal Grilled Vegetables prepared by our dedicated volunteers to the delight of all kids
By 1:50 pm after the rounds of intense play, the tournament came to a close and the competing teams were brought together for the closing ceremony. Placement awards were for:
First Place: A-JIS Junior Jaguars, awarded by Satoshi Mitsuda, CSR Committee at J.P. Morgan
Second Place: Tokyo West Hawks, awarded by Momoko Nakayama, CSR Committee at Societe Generale
Third Place: Ishinomaki Fantasista FC, awarded by Hiroshi Asemi, Hikarigaoka Community Liaison
MVP Award: Masaya Tanaka, awarded by Naomi Rennie, Nadia Organizing Team
All participating teams received a Nadia gift bag containing:
- A Friendly Cup T-Shirt and Program
- A soft mini soccer ball
- A laminated newsletter souvenir of the event
In addition, the Tohoku teams received a gift of from AC Milan.
It’s all about Friendship
Whether it is on the field or in other activities held throughout the weekend, our goal was to provide a memorable event and long lasting friendships between all kids in a bigger and better fashion than the 1st Edition. On that aspect, we can say our mission was accomplished!
May the friendships developed over a memorable weekend last a lifetime!
Many thank you letters from participating Tohoku kids
Nadia’s Organizing Team
A word of thanks
This event would not have been possible without the support of many organizations and individuals. Nadia would like to express their thanks to A-JIS Ken Sell, Head of School, and Greg Culos, Director of AJ Extension, for working hand-in-hand with Nadia on this 2nd Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup. We would like to also express special thanks to Hiroshi Asemi for bringing in the local community and connecting us with local teams and volunteers. We would like to also say thank you to our corporate and food sponsors who provided financial and logistical support with their volunteers.
Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors!