After never especially impressing since becoming Ardija's first choice keeper midway through 2004, last year was a mixed bag indeed for the former Urawa Reds and Kawasaki Frontale man. Confident and authoritative from the start of the campaign, Aratani was a definite highlight in a grim time under coach Robert Verbeek, only to break his arm against Yokohama F Marinos in June. This ended up ruling him out for the rest of the year and there must be question marks over whether he can regain the first team slot.
Squad player who signed for Omiya alongside Ezumi two years ago following graduation from International Budo University in Chiba prefecture. Has since been restricted to run-outs in the reserves and was released at the end of the 2006. Re-signed when Satoru Sakuma realised he didn't have enough keepers and the other choice, Tomoyasu Ando, had opted to retire, but Kobayashi still didn't see any first team action in 2007.
21. Koji Ezumi - 江角 浩司 - 18 Dec 1978 - 191cm / 84kg
Picked up a small amount of first team experience with Oita before moving to Saitama two years ago. Spent most of 2006 on the subs' bench behind Aratani, whose injury then gave Ezumi the opportunity to take over between the posts. A very shaky start had Squirrels fans panicking, but he grew in confidence and can take a lot of the credit for the 1-0 defeat of Urawa that ultimately turned Omiya's season around. Remains to be seen whether he'll be first choice for 2008 now that Aratani is fit again.
31. Keiki Shimizu - 清水 慶記 - 10 Dec 1985 - 183cm / 75kg - NEW
New signing from JFL side Ryutsu Keizai University and almost certainly fourth-choice keeper behind Kobayashi.