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An Enriching Footballing Experience In Japan

Training Trip to Japan

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Written by
Jarec Ng Rui Le
Football Academy, Secondary 3

Mohamad Nyqil Iyyan Mohamad Ismail, Ahmad Martin Roslan, Rauf Anaqi Khan and I embarked on an overseas training stint with Ventforet Kofu Youth FC, in Japan, from 6 to 25 November 2023. Our coach, Mohammad Isa Abdul Halim chaperoned the four of us throughout our time spent there.

During our first training session with Ventforet Kofu Youth FC Under-14s and Under-16s, we were warmly greeted by their hospitality. They were really kind and open to accepting us as one of their teammates. Over the next few weeks, we bonded well with them and made a few good friends there. We learned a lot about their football culture and different styles of play. We also benefitted by having one-on-one training sessions with the Ventforet Kofu’s coaches in the morning where it would be just the four of us and a few of their coaches. The training was not game-related exercises but was more focused on basic moves and technical awareness, which were more important than we thought.

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We had friendly games with Omiya Ardija Under-18s, Shonan Bellmare Under-15s and Ventforet Kofu Under-15s. These were all great experiences for us as we saw how high the level was despite the age group. It was a challenge for the four of us as it was not what we were used to in Singapore. In particular, during the match against Omiya Ardija Under-18s, we quickly discovered that they were much fitter, quicker, sharper, and better technically. But that did not stop us, and we knew we had to step up to compete with them. We changed our way of playing to fit into their fast-paced game, and we did surprisingly well.

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We also had the opportunity to visit Japan’s national stadium to watch Ventforet Kofu play, which ended in a 4-1 win for Ventforet Kofu. The atmosphere was amazing, and it was something I never experienced before. The roar of the crowd filled our ears, and the sea of blue jerseys was everywhere within sight. The whole stadium was cheering throughout the game. It almost felt like the entire stadium was shaking!

The following week, we managed to observe how their first team trained at their training field. Seeing how the first team players trained with such intensity despite the cold weather really inspired us. They still did basic technical training but the difference was the amount of effort and focus which got us wondering if we did the same when we did those drills. We got the chance to talk to their head coach and he said that basic technical skills are the fundamentals in football and that is why we should do it with as much passion, effort and focus even though it might not be as fun. The four of us, including coach Isa were thankful for this opportunity as it is rare for a professional team to let outsiders in to see them train, let alone a school outside of Japan.

We have gained more experience and knowledge that we will share with our teammates once we are back in Singapore.

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