Over the weekend of May 23-24, the first Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup was hosted at Aoba-Japan International School (A-JIS) in Hikarigaoka, Tokyo.
The event was organised by NPO Nadia, an international volunteer group established in the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Since 2013, Nadia has delivered over 15 new ‘Playgrounds of Hope’ to disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku, in addition to sending children affected by Fukushima disaster to summer homestays in Italy.
Last September, Nadia supported the delivery of a new community center/soccer club house in Rikuzentakata in coordination with Hisashi Kato, a J-League team general manager and former Japanese National Team captain, who has been active in rebuilding projects in the Tohoku area.
The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup is the result of a collaborative proposal between Nadia and Kato, to invite soccer teams from the disaster-stricken Tohoku area to the Kanto area and participate in a soccer tournament to build lasting friendships between the two areas.
After four months of planning and coordination by Nadia members and Greg Culos from A-JIS, eight U-12 teams (four from Kanto and four from Tohoku) descended on the school to compete in the inaugural competition, with the Tohoku teams invited to dorm in the school gymnasium.
After an exhausting two days of intense matches and fun-filled activities, DSTY Eagles (Deutsche Schule Tokyo Yokohama) were crowned champions and the A-JIS Junior Jaguars, runners-up. A short sponsors tournament followed, with the Coaches Team edging out Societe Generale Team #2 in a fiercely contested final.
With all matches played in the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship, everyone involved enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining weekend and most importantly, the children were able to forge long-lasting friendships and share in a truly memorable experience.
For more information about NPO Nadia see: team-nadia.org