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JFA Tohoku Reconstruction Support Project - October 2015 Report by TEGURAMORI Hiroshi, national training centre coach

10 November 2015

JFA Tohoku Reconstruction Support Project - October 2015 Report by TEGURAMORI Hiroshi, national training centre coach

On 1 October, I attended the J.League Hometown Conference. I gave a speech to the officers from the clubs to show my appreciation for all the support they had provided regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as to remind them that the reconstruction is still unfinished and that we would keep supporting the affected region and its people without forgetting and letting them fade away.

On 3 October, the 3rd Child Cup 2015 U-8/U-10 Futsal Tournament was held at Spopark Matsumori Futsal Plaza. This tournament was started in 2013 to help the recovery process in Miyagi Prefecture and this year the total of nine teams participated; Ishinomaki FC Fantasista, Marysol Matsushima, Tagajo FC, Arahama Junior FC, FC ACE, Tamaura Sports Shonendan, Sendai Nakada Sports Shonendan, Nakano FC and SK SC.

They were divided into three groups and played round-robin matches for the championship. I was impressed with enthusiastic plays by those kids and warm cheers from their families.

The next day, I visited the Iwanuma Mayor Cup Tournament at Iwanuma Athletic Field. I had assumed the recovery was being done at a faster pace in Iwanuma City, but I found that it still has many units of temporary housing around that field. Many families still live together side by side with neighbours in the same community at the parking lot on the east side and at the cray surface field on the north side.

The south side area was spared for people who evacuated from neighbouring prefectures. New public housing has been allocated according to their original living area, but they said there are still people who cannot move into new places due to economic reasons. A person in one of the sports shonendan said "Hopefully at least the field will be available for kids soon."

That afternoon, I was told that Arahama Junior FC invited two teams from Sendai and would have matches at the field of Watari Town’s Central Kids Centre. So I headed there. Arahama Junior’s coach KIKUCHI Akihiro said "Since the disaster four years and seven months ago, I have never forgot to appreciate what I have." and was planning a football festival to repay gratitude to the teams who supported him and his club in tough times. In fact, it had been decided that the event would be held on 11 and 12 October in the following week.

On 9th day, I went out to see the Nakano FC’s practice. It was held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tsurumaki Elementary School’s field. They let me teach fifth and sixth graders. While we did S+4-4+4 and 7-7 drills, I could witness active and enthusiastic plays by the kids.

On 14 October, it was the U-11/U-12 training centre in Iwaki District of Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. That training centre has been held in two divisions, north and south, since the second half of 2015.

This time I visited the south division. The venue was the West Onahama Elementary School field, and it lasted for two hours from 7 to 9 p.m. NAKATA Yasuhito, the training centre’s youth development director and also serving as the sub school master of the JFA Academy Fukushima (Boys), coached U-12 players focusing on "possessions", while I did U-11 with emphasis on "Passing and controlling". We did triangle passing drills, 4-2, and 1+5-5+4 servers to make sure the quality of each pass and control skills as well as how to move off the ball. We also played an intra-squad match in the end.

On the following day, we went to Hirono Town Soccer Ground to see Futaba Mirai Gakuen’s practice. YAMAZAKI Shigeo, youth director in the Tohoku region, supports this football team. We practised on this day also based on "improvements on defence" that Mr. Yamazaki had installed in this squad. They were far better than when I observed them in spring this year. The players were practising so crisply and lively that I was convinced that they had been working out very productively.

On 21 October, together with ONO Makoto, general director of JFA Academy Women’s division and chief coach at Women’s National Training Centre, I coached U-13/U-14 training centre in Soso District. The workout theme of the day was "building up" as we went through passing and controlling drills, possession 2S+2-2+1-1, game-style 2S+6-6+6 goals, and scrimmages in the end.

I was reminded that it is important to pay attention to details even in everyday practices. We held a socialising party after the practice, and there we discussed various topics including player development, which made my evening very meaningful.

It was Okino Soccer Sports Shonendan in Wakabayashi District in Sendai the next day. The practice site was Okino Elementary School ground which used to be used as parking lots for the disaster evacuees. A marine park field which used to be used for official football matches were washed away by the Tsunami and Nipperia (Wakabayashi Nippe Ground) started being utilised as a temporary housing site.

In the upcoming National Tournament qualifiers, this Okino Elementary School will be used as one of the match sites, but coaches expressed their mixed emotion, saying "we want to let them play their qualifiers at a better field."

On 24 October, first I held a coaching training session at the regional Class 3 U-13/U14 training centre match in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. After that, I coached kids there. One of the boys looked familiar while I was coach them, and he turned out to be the boy from Takata FC in Rikuzen-Takata City, Iwate Prefecture which I had coached in previous two years. He was working earnestly with his teammates, and I was happy to see that.

October 28 had me visit the U-11/U-12 training centre in North Iwaki District held at Taira Daiyon Elementary School field. We went through the same workout program we did at South District on 14 this month as youth development director Nakata, whom I mentioned above, coached U-12 players and I did U-11.

Kids were willing to work hard and apparently they made positive changes. During the socialising party I had with the training centre staff there, the talk on the reconstruction progress and other issues was very informative as well.

On 29 October, I visited Hebita FC practice held at Koyo Elementary School in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. The players from the fourth to sixth graders engaged in triangle passing drills, 4-2 and scrimmages. The players who were in the third grade or younger worked out in the gym. The kids of Hebita FC were very active and energetic. They said Koyo Elementary’s gym was also damaged by the disaster, but it has already been rebuilt and is effectively used now.

On 30, I went to Aizu District in Fukushima Prefecture with Tohoku Youth Director Yamazaki to see the district’s U-11/U-12 training centre. Unfortunately the rain was falling on that day, so we met at Santos Arena. Since the floor space available was only a little smaller than the size of one futsal court, our training started with passing and controlling drills and moved on to 4-2 and scrimmages for U-11 while U-12 did shooting drills and scrimmages. It lasted only 60 minutes, but everyone played hard with high enthusiasm.

Finally, on the last day of October I visited Rikuzen-Takata City, Iwate Prefecture to check out the 4th annual Waseda Cup at Kamiosabe Ground. Eight teams participated in this year’s event. From Iwate there were two Takata FC teams, FC Sun Altas Ofunato, Oniyanagi Soccer Sports Shonendan, Waga FC, and Ezuriko FC, while Nakano FC and Ishinomaki FC joined the competition from Miyagi.

This tournament has been organised with support by Waseda University Football Club and adidas Japan and Takata FC’s coach SHIRAE Takeharu never stopped thanking for that help. Also I heard kids there like this tournament very much because the players from Waseda University coach those kids. And not only those elementary school kids but also other players from Takata City and Ofunato City and even Takata High School team’s players always wait for this tournament and opportunities to get to play against Waseda’s players.

The tournament has been continuously held since the disaster, and now it is an indispensable event for the community. Coach Shirae says "we sincerely hope for their continuous support to make this tournament happen every year."

I was impressed with children’s smiles and tears of disappointment as well as with parents watching closely, cheering and supporting warmly every move of their children.

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