On April 29 – week 15 of 2022-23 Yogibo WE LEAGUE, the Nippon TV Tokyo Verdi Beleza held three events for WE ACTION DAY at the Komazawa Women's University (Komazawa Gakuen) in Inagi City, Tokyo. The "Komazawa Women's University – Girl's Football Class" and “Let's learn how your body works together with Beleza athletes!" for girls between 1st and 6th graders "Let's learn about food and exercise with Beleza athletes! Cacao edition" was held exclusively for students enrolled in Komazawa Women's University and Komazawa Women's Junior College.
A total of 67 elementary school girls participated in the "Komazawa Women's University – Girl's Football Class," where the Nippon TV Tokyo Verdi Beleza players acted as coaches. To start, the group was divided into four groups: of lower, middle, upper grades and goalkeepers.
The players came up with a program tailored to each level and prepared for this day. A full-blown training was developed for each group. Not only did they become familiar with the ball, but they also conveyed the movements to get to the goal.
Players carefully explained how to use long and short passes, how to position the body when trapping, how to place the ball and ideas for breaking in front of the goal. The girls worked hard to learn the techniques that could be easily applied in actual games.
Nina Ishida, a 6th grade elementary school student share that she “learned a lot from the Beleza players’ football session. When I did a pass and go, Kokoro Horiuchi advised how to turn and how it would be easier to move on to the next play if I received the ball with my left foot – which I was able to do well because of her.”
Tomoko Muramatsu, who has a C-class coaching license certified by the Japan Football Association, took advantage of her experience and coached naturally. Muramatsu said, “Since I oversaw the upper grade students, I tried to have them acquire thee skills while having fun. I incorporated stuff that Beleza does, so that even if the level is a little higher, they can still enjoy it," explaining the points that she devised.
About 50 parents and children participated in the "Learn how your own body works together with Beleza players!" after the football session. They enjoyed learning how to deal with women-specific health issues, including menstruation and how the female body works. With the cooperation of the FemTech and FemCare information site "Ly:set," experts on the female body provided easy to follow explanations.
With the theme of "Knowing how your body works, your daily life and sports will be more wonderful and more fun!" the participants learned about important information to women through midwives’ stories and quizzes. Participants listened carefully to things like "It's okay to exercise even during your period. It can even help with the blood flow," "You should change your pads even if you don't have much blood on it," and "Women have about 450 menstrual cycles in their lifetime."
Additionally, Azusa Iwashimizu and Rumi Utsugi talked about what they usually do and their personal experiences in a talk show. Utsugi said, “There are changes in my physical condition, including before and after my period, but I hope to go through it without stress. Sometimes it overlaps with the games, but I try not to worry too much, I make time to face myself so that I can maintain a good condition. It’s something that will continue well into adulthood, so I want them to acquire the right knowledge and feel at ease." Iwashimizu shared that she takes painkillers in advance when she feels that she might have menstrual pain.
Asano Mei, who listened intently with her mother said, "I'm in the sixth grade of elementary school now, and there were many things that I didn't know about women's bodies, so it was good to have them teach me, and I felt relieved." At the end, there was an autograph session by the players where she was approached directly by the players she admires, which brought a big smile on her face.
After the event, Iwashimizu said, "I haven't had a chance to talk about menstruation before, so I'm glad I was able to talk about it. It's an important thing for female athletes. The mother of a participant said, 'I'm one of the team doctor on my daughter's team so I want to learn" as she proactively asked questions. I was happy to be able to work with elementary school children and their parents who will be undergoing major changes in their bodies."
In the "Let's learn about food and exercise with Beleza athletes! Cacao edition," 27 students and 5 athletes from Komazawa Women's University and Komazawa Women's Junior College participated. They learned about the history of cacao and the secrets of chocolate. Daiki Nitta, Cacao Marketing Department, Global Cacao Business Headquarters of Meiji Co., Ltd.'s "Cacao Effect" was invited as a lecturer to present about the nutrition and effects of cacao on the body. They made a “Cacao Effect” drink that you can easily consume high health benefiting cacao polyphenols which everyone taste-tested. They learned that devising a meal leads to health, as they enjoyed a fruitful time together.
After the educational session, they all enjoyed a game of dodgeball. There were some students who usually don't exercise much, but the players lead them positively. The event concluded with a friendly interaction time full of smiles.
Through the three events, support was provided from different angles so that the girls can enjoy football and everyday life. It was a special day where the players of the team with a 42-year history were able to experience the future together with the participants.