Omiya Ardija is a professional soccer club in the J. League. Their home is in Saitama prefecture, Saitama city and their home stadium is the NACK5 Stadium Omiya (Saitama Omiya Football Stadium).
This stadium was built as Japan’s first ball park meant for soccer, and it is also known as the venue where Diego Maradona from the Argentina national team made his debut in an international tournament in the 1979 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The team was originally formed under the name Denden Kanto Soccer Club in 1969 in the former Urawa city. They fought their way through Saitama League, Kanto League, JSL and finally JFL. Then in 1998, they set their home town to the former Omiya city and changed their team name to Omiya Ardija.
When the J. League was changed into a 2 division system in 1999, Ardija entered J2 and in 2004 they finished 2nd in J2 and achieved their first promotion to J1. During their first year in J1 in 2005, they went up against another Saitama team, the Urawa Reds. The “Saitama Derby” versus the Reds drew more crowds than usual and became quite the spectacle.
Ardija managed to surprise everyone by taking victories against home Saitama Derby and 2 consecutive Gamba Osaka matches. By the end of the season, Ardija secured 13th place and managed to stay in J1.
In addition, they managed to advance to the best of 8 in the Nabisco Cup and best of 4 in the Emperor’s Cup.
However, after that they weren’t able to produce noteworthy results, and every year they struggled in the lower positions. In the J. League Cup, they also continued to be eliminated in the early stages, which in turn meant that their rivals, the Urawa Reds, kept pulling ahead in both popularity and in results.
Finally, in 2014, they finished the season in 16th place and relegated to J2. After that, Ardija successfully climbed back to J1 within a year and in the 2016 season they achieved new heights by reaching 5th place. But the club struggled again in 2017 and after finishing last in the league, they dropped back to J2.
One of Omiya Ardija’s most well known player is Akihiro Ienaga. Ienaga started from Gamba Osaka’s junior youth team and made his way up to their top team. He also played in Oita Trinita, Cerezo Osaka and RCD Mallorca. Ienaga joined Ardija in January 2014, and in 2015 he led the team to victory in J2. On top of that, in 2016, he scored 11 goals and his efforts took the team to their record highest 5th place.
The club’s home jersey is orange color and their supplier since 2009 has been Under Armour. Their jerseys have sponsor logos of NTT docomo, d POINT, NTT, The Musashino Bank, SHIMAMURA, and others.