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

15 September 2015

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

My August activities started in Aomori.

On 1 and 2 August, I visited the town of Gonohe to check out the Michinoku Junior Football Tournament to be held at Hibarino Park Soccer Field (artificial turf) on 2 and 3 August. This tournament is held every year together with Gonohe Summer Festival and has a long history from the generation of current players’ fathers.

While the name of the tournament has been changed time to time, the friendly relationship between FC Kamaishi and Gonohe Suzukage is also well maintained for over 30 years.

It was my second time to attend the welcome party at Gonohe since I took this special coaching position. I had chances to interact with FC Kamaishi team staff and kids and listen to many stories from them. It has been four years and five months since the disaster, and the third year starts for me with this position.

I feel I have come to understand very well what the people affected are really thinking, and at the same time this time reminded me again of the needs for continuous support for those who have not got back to their normal life yet.

In the welcome party, I gave them gifts including used cleats. The rock-scissors-paper tournament and kid’s stage performances made the party very enjoyable one. After that we moved on to the Summer Festival site and enjoyed fireworks. That added more fun to the kids’ friendly event and I think it will stay with them as a good summer break memory.

On 6 August, I visited Sennan District in Miyagi Prefecture. In the area of Watari Town Arahama, the ground level raising and road redesigning work are being carried out. They demolished Arahama Junior High School damaged by the Tsunami, lifted the foundation one level higher, and the new building got completed in August last year with new emergency stairs to its roof.

The hot spring spa in Watari Town Tori called “Watari Hot Springs Tori-no-umi” restarted its non-overnight bathing service in October last year. “Watari Town Arahama Nigiwai Kairo Market Street” had its eight stores open in March this year.

I went on to Fukushima on 8 August. I visited Soma first and had a meeting with Mr. NIIZUMA, the technical committee chairperson of the Soso District Association, on issues such as the district training centre schedule. Then I visited Matsukawaura where the U-19 National Team stayed for their training camp.

Back then, the road along the coast was still under construction and we had to take a diversion. Now ground raising and road maintenance work have been completed. This time we could take the new road to Matsukawaura. The construction of breakwater at the port of Soma is also right on track.

On our way back from Soma, we took Route 6 back to Miyagi. In Yamamoto Town, which is located at the south east end of the prefecture, coast reconstruction work is now being done and they are trying to relocate JR Jyoban Line to inland and put it along Route 6. They are also redesigning the area around Yamashita Station. It seemed the work has just started as there are still many people living in the public temporary housing.

The next day, 9 August, I went to Iwate to visit the 9th Kenmin Kyosai Cup Soccer Festival U-11 & U-12 at Morioka South Park Field in Morioka City. The clubs such as Derufire Taro, Ofunato Sanriku FC Seagull, Miyako Phoenix and Hanawa Sports Club participated in the event from the coastal region of Iwate. They said Iwaizumi FC did not have enough players to form their own team, so they joined forces with Derufire Taro.

Ofunato Sanriku FC Seagull also said they have the similar problem and are worried about their existence next year. Hanawa Sports Club before were not able to have practice on weekdays, so that kept me from visiting them. But now I heard they have practice in a gym at Hanawa Elementary School in Wednesday and Thursday evenings. So I am planning to make a visit soon.

The disaster made the ongoing decline of the number of kids even worse, and they together affect many teams. They are struggling with various problems. But all the coaches basically say “Seeing kids enjoying playing football makes us want to try somehow to help them.”

Soso District Training Centre U-11 & U-12 took place at Soma Koyo Soccer Field from 9 o’clock to noon. From ice-breaking warmups, two age groups together took on the triangle passing drill. After learning the importance of passing and controlling quality, watching out for the other two players in the triangle and where to stay ready without the ball, they next moved on to a 2-on-2 with a neutral player where they worked on how to incorporate teammates with maintaining the quality of each play.

The next drill was a 4-on-4 with a server and a goalkeeper in front of a goal. Coaches occasionally stopped the plays and gave instructions to the kids who eagerly paid attention. During the scrimmage at the end, rain started falling, but it did not stop the players from playing aggressively.

On 19 August, a Training Centre session was held for U-13s and U-14s in Soso District for the first time this year. In order to understand how well they could play, the first drill was passing in pairs. We started passing slowly in a close distance, and gradually I had them go at faster tempo and in a farther distance. In the next 4-on-2 drill, we made sure movement off the ball, reading defenders and what to do after making a pass as well as seeing how well they pass and control the ball.

Rather than doing something else, we spent a longer time for that 4-on-2 before finally moving on to a scrimmage. After the workout, I talked to them about being always aware that they have been selected for this opportunity and staying motivated for practice. When I see them next time, I want to see improvements and whether they can convince me that they are capable of making improvements once they put their mind to it.

On 22 August, I visited Miyagi again to check out a practice of Natori Yuriage Sports Club. After the disaster, Yuriage Elementary School’s gym was used as a storage for personal belongings of the people who died and were missing. So they now say kids back then did not like the gym’s smell and dustiness. But after realising they can play football there, they stopped worrying about them.

The day I visited was a good opportunity for every kid on the team to come to the practice. So we planned “Nagashi-somen party” with parents, a local disaster prevention education group and volunteers from Musashino University. Enjoying Nagashi-Somen after practice became a good highlight of the summer vacation for kids.

It was all because of the hard work of clearing debris and weeds by that disaster prevention education group, Musashino University volunteers and the players’ parents that the field is now ready for use. We are so grateful. But it has been decided that Yuriage Elmentary School and Yuriage Junior High School will be demolished in coming September, and then team will again lose the field to practice at.

There is a plan for building a temporary field, but the time of the work completion is said to be undecided. Furthermore, the area that got hit by the Tsunami will be closed and the people there will be relocated. They say it will be three years from now that those people can move into public housing.

On 22 and 23 August, I visited the Natori Rotary Club Cup for Class 3, junior high school, players. The kids I taught a few years ago had grown up and they came to me to say hello, which made me very happy.

25 August was for Kazuma Sports Club in Ishinomaki. On every Tuesday they practise at Kazuma Elementary School’s gym, but when it rains, the gym is occupied with their track and field team. Then the football team cannot practise there. This time, there were 16 kids from the fourth grade to the sixth grade, working on passing, controlling and dribbling before finishing the day with an intra-squad game together with two kids there for a trial.

I joined the Minami Sanriku FC training on 26. It was held at the field of Minami Sanriku Shizugawa Elementary School. Two years ago, in September, 2013, the lights were installed by the help from UNICEF Japan, which now allow them to practise after sunset. I enjoyed playing with the kids there under good instruction from their coach. If there were more facilities with lights like this, there would be more teams enjoying practising.

The following day, I made a visit to NARUNO-FC in the city of Higashi-Matsushima. Unfortunately it was raining on that day, but since the indoor practice facility opened at Higashi Matsushima Takagi-no-mori Sports Park, they had no problem in carrying out the practice.

The facility used to be a hangar of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force Blue Impulse. But the JASDF donated it for the indoor sport activity use. Kids are very happy to play there regardless of the weather condition.

On 30 August, I went to a Training Centre event at Miyagi Prefecture Football Stadium in Rifu. The event was for the fourth graders in the 10 regions in the prefecture, with one coach each coming from the prefectural training centre and the reginal training centres. A training session for coaches was also held together.

After it finished, I discussed recent progresses with coaches from Kesennuma, Minami Sanriku, Ishinomaki and Sennan regions. They all are positively working toward the future and seeing them made me feel better. I also would like to keep helping them for their goal. We need to keep working to create good future for kids.

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