The Omiya Ardija squad spent most of Thursday travelling from Narita airport over to the Pacific island of Guam, where they will spend the next two weeks undergoing an intensive period of preparation for the new season. Keen not to waste any time, the players were out on the training ground only a couple of hours after arriving at their hotel, firstly doing warm-up and stretching exercises, followed by passing training and possession work before taking part in 8-a-side mini-games.
Despite the warm conditions and a temperature in the region of thirty degrees, the players moved well and looked untroubled by the travelling. "We feel at home here now," said Toshiya Miura, "and it's good to come to Guam and the hot weather. I thought that the players would be more tired than they are, so that's pretty satisfying. There's a good atmosphere and things are going smoothly. Over the next two weeks, we want to look especially at the new players and to see how they fit in with things, what their strengths and weaknesses are when they play in particular positions."
- Que? - Nani?
Striker Manabu Wakabayashi, meanwhile, is on his first pre-season training since turning fully pro following his move during last season from JFL side Tochigi SC. "This is a new experience for me and I'm surprised that Guam is so hot. Today has been a bit tiring with the travelling, but movement will get easier over the next couple of days, I'm sure. Having joined Omiya in the middle of 2005, I got a chance to play in the first team quite quickly, but having the chance to come on this camp makes everyone feel more involved for 2006."
A sweaty Wakabayashi
"Last year we came to the same place for our camp and it was nice and warm then, too - it's a great place to play football," said promising defender Yosuke Kataoka. "This year there are lots of new players and we have a feeling that, looking ahead to the season, we want to take things forward and improve our results. This is where we do a lot of our preparation for competitive matches and to reach our targets for 2006."