Aya Miyama Football Forum Vol. 7: Starting the New Season

In her first column for Goal of 2014, the Nadeshiko Japan captain discusses how her Okayama Yunogo Belle side have started their Nadeshiko League campaign
Opening the Nadeshiko League

The 2014 Nadeshiko League season has started and Okayama Yunogo Belle’s members have changed a lot. But our objective as a team remains the same. The people may be different but what we’ll do isn’t, and we’re building our foundation every day. We’re all starting to figure each other out as players, but everyone is working hard to contribute to the team. I hope we’ll finally earn a title this season.

After three matches...

Our winter camp this year was in Kagoshima. It was a little cold in January but the locals were supportive and helped us run a great camp. The food at the Iwasaki Hotel, where we stay every year, was delicious, and the training ground was right nearby to let us focus completely on football.

At our season opener, more than how we played I’m glad we were able to share a victory with all of our supporters. We lost our second game of the season away, but as we’re building a new team we still learned a lot of valuable lessons.

In the third round, we applied those lessons to win again at home.

Belle aren’t the only club who have changed their lineup; many other teams are experimenting early in the season, so we need to ignore them and focus on ourselves. After that, it’s about improving as a team in training and showing that on the pitch.

Our future as Nadeshiko

A lot of female players have gone overseas this year. My fellow national team players are working hard overseas, but I hope that the Nadeshiko League can become strong enough that both Japanese and foreign players want to come and play here. I may not be a great player but I want to continue to contribute to women’s football in Japan. Hopefully the ‘Nadeshiko Boom’ will never end!

Congratulations to Young Nadeshiko!

Earlier this month, the Japan U-17 Women’s national team won the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. They played wonderfully and with confidence, and I’m glad to see young players working that hard. It’s amazing to become the best in the world at something, whatever it is.

Of course, Nadeshiko Japan will compete in the Women’s Asian Cup this May in Vietnam. It still hurts that we didn’t win last year’s East Asian Cup. This tournament signals the beginning of the countdown to the Women’s World Cup next year, so it’s a title we absolutely have to win. I’ve got to work hard to earn a spot on the squad.

My DVD is available!

Finally, I have a bit of an announcement to make. I’ve collaborated with Tom Byer, whose football schools I’ve been attending since I was young, to create a training DVD called “Tom-san and Aya Miyama’s Soccer Techniques.” My own training techniques are included so adults and male players will find it useful, but in particular I want kids to watch the DVD and improve their abilities through training. You can buy the DVD online through Tom’s website, so please check it out! Don’t forget to visit the Okayama Yunogo Belle homepage as well!

I look forward to meeting everyone at the stadium. Thank you for your support this season!

Aya Miyama is a midfielder for both Okayama Yunogo Belle and the Japan Women's National Team (Nadeshiko Japan), for whom she serves as captain. She is a two-time AFC Women's Player of the Year. Follow Aya on her official website.