WE ACTION DAY “Aiming for a society which allows everyone to individually shine through the power of sports”
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina participated in five different events to promote WE LEAGUE mission

On April 2nd, all players of Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina participated in various events in their home town Hiroshima City. They explored on “a society which allows everyone to individually shine”.

Chihiro Yamaguchi, a midfielder and former Universiade representative, and seven others visited a football tournament for the children with autism and other developmental disabilities, and interacted with them.

This tournament was the “Genius Cup” hosted by the Japan Development Support Football Association, which promotes the therapeutic education of developmental disabilities through football. Prior to the tournament, the players communicated the joy of physical exercise through friendly matches.

At first, everyone warmed up together. The players communicated with the children next to them with some gestures. In a game of 5-on-5, in which the players and children played against each other, the children energetically trying to keep up with the players, who were skillfully passing the ball around. When Yo Tachibana, a forward and a former Japanese youth national team player, dribbled past the children by using one of her strength of speed, the children who were watching the game responded excitedly by saying “She is so fast!”

When the children's team scored a goal, the players applauded without thinking. Mizuki Saihara, a Hiroshima City-born midfielder, said “The children looked so happy when they scored, which made us happy too” with a smile on her face. Saihara said she had not known that such a tournament existed. “I thought it would be nice to create a place where children with developmental disabilities could live more comfortably and play an active role," she continued.

Produced by Yogibo, the WE LEAGUE has been working to establish sensory rooms where people with sensory sensitivities such as hearing and sight, and their families can feel at ease. Many of the children participating in the tournament are sensitive to sound, and one parent said, “Having a sensory room is groundbreaking and we are grateful for it,” expressing her appreciation for the League’s efforts.

In the meanwhile, Mami Ueno, a forward who is a former Japanese national team player, and five others joined another football tournament for elementary school students that was organized and run by the students from Hiroshima University of Economics.

The players became advisors to each of the team in the “FLP CUP,” which aimed to enable the participants to experience the joy of football. They taught strategies and joined in the team huddle. After the cup matches, the teams raced against each other in a driblling competition. As a team member, the players performed some quick footwork and ball mastery skills, which drew cheers from the children.

Konomi Uchida, a defender whose advising team won the competition, said “I was very energized” by interacting with the children. She was also enthusiastic by saying “This time, we were able to do this as part of WE ACTION DAY, but as a club, we would like to have more opportunities like this in the future.”

In addition, on the same day, the torch relay for the “Special Olympics” National Summer Games for the people with intellectual disabilities to be held in Hiroshima Prefecture in November was also taken place, and Yukari Kinga, the first captain of the team and a midfielder, appeared as a runner.

Kinga ran with the athletes competing in the Games, and after completing her big role, she stated, “I think it’s wonderful about the sport that I was able to be involved like this.”

Haruna Kawashima, a midfielder who has an experience of playing for the youth national team at each different age groups, and five others took part in the walking event. Along with people who do not usually have a chance to exercise, they walked through a park where cherry blossoms were in full bloom. At a later date, foods corresponding to the distance they walked will be donated to a non-profit organization that operates a free cafeteria for children.

Miho Fukumoto, a goalkeeper and a member of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Winners, and five others joined forces with the N.P.O. green bird to clean up the downtown area and show their appreciation to the hometown community.