Sporting and Nihon Kouku Teams Bridge Cultures with Soccer

March 7, 2011

Santa Clara Sporting hosted the U18 Boys and Girls Soccer Teams from the Nihon Kouku High School (Japan Air Aviation High School Soccer Club) on Sunday, February 27th with two friendly matches held at the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park. After the game, the players exchanged gifts and shared a lot of fun and laughs together.

The Nihon Kouku boys team had 22 players on their travel roster and played two different rosters during their soccer match against the Santa Clara Sporting ’92 Team. The Japanese mens team, coached by Mr. Kenzo Nakada were incredibly fast, were technically very strong, and played with extreme discipline and teamwork. They scored first on the Sporting team and went into half time with a 1-0 lead. During the second half of the game, Santa Clara was able to catch a second wind and score three goals against the second team from Nihon Kouko.

During the girls international game, the Japanese team also played with a lot of heart and athletic skill.  The Santa Clara Sporting ’93 girls team came together with a combination of players from Santa Clara Sporting, MVLA Avalanche, MVLA Lightning and a goalie from DeAnza Force. The combine team was formed because the bulk of the Sporting 93 girls were still competing in high school playoffs. Considering the Sporting girls team had never played together, they showed a lot of synergy and won the game with a 2-0 score.

The soccer games came together when Mr. Kenzo Nakada; the mens team head coach from Nihon Kouko High School, contacted Mr. Kenji Arita for assistance to coordinate the trip. Kenji is an established figure-head in the soccer world and was instrumental to bring Eriko Arakawa to the FC Gold Pride a few years back. He has also served many other Japanese players and teams in their quest to play in America. Kenji contacted his old friend Ralf Cebrian who coached the Japanese National Team and coached at Santa Clara Sporting. Ralf contacted Gabe Foo and everything was set into motion.

After the games, all the players enjoyed a pizza party at the Santa Clara Sporting clubhouse. The Japanese players prepared for the post-game party with some funny skits, and all the players from Santa Clara and Japan got to know each other and shared their passion for soccer. It was a great event, and many thanks go out to Sueli, Sebastian, Abel, James and Jose for organizing the post-game event and sponsoring the event. Thanks also go out to Burt Field/SCYSL Referee Coordinator and all the referees who donated their time to officiate the international games.

More photos are available in our Flickr gallery

Apparently, many of the students at the Nihon Kuoko Academy like to take their Spring Break vacation in Hawaii or travel to another country to rest and relax. This year, the soccer teams wanted to travel to California and play some of the top teams while squeezing in some sightseeing.