Captain Ochiai’s Induction into Japan Soccer’s Hall of Fame   

On 10th September, “the 7th Japan soccer’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” was held at Japan Soccer Museum. Captain Ochiai was inducted into the 7th Japan soccer’s Hall of Fame together with Mr. Hiroshi Kagawa, Dr. Nozomou Ohata, Mr. Toshio Asami, Mr. Ryozo Suzuki and Mr. Nelson Daishiro Yoshimura. As 3 of them are from Urawa (Mr. Asami was an international referee who is from Urawa High School, Mr. Suzuki was a Tokyo Olympic Japan national team player who is from Urawa Nishi High School and Captain Ochiai is from Municipal Urawa High School), we can see that Urawa has a long and great soccer history. In addition, Mr. Ohata also has a close relation with Urawa and Reds as he was Mitsubishi Football Club doctor till 1994. He was the first team doctor in Japan. Having so many familiar faces around, Captain Ochiai was able to participate in the ceremony in a relaxed manner.

The ceremony was hosted by Katsuhiko Kaneko who was a host of the old popular TV program, “Mitsubishi Diamond Soccer”. The ceremony started with Japan Football Association President Junji Ogura opening address. The inducted members then received words of praise from Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, who is an Honorary Patron of the Japan Football Association.

After that, each inductee’s achievements were shown on the screen. In Captain Ochiai’s introduction, photos of him playing for Japan and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Football Club were shown. After receiving memorial plaques with their portraits embossed on one side, they had interviews. Having been asked about him being a versatile player, Captain Ochiai replied, “I specialized in defence. I concentrated on defending first and only when the chance arose, I joined the attack. As a result, I was chosen as the Best 11 (as a defender) many times. I think I was only chosen once as a striker. I guess I was able to do better as a defender.”

Regarding Heart-full Club activities, he said, “We have been conducting the activities regularly. We have been saying we want to help raise good hearted children through sports. Of course, children are different from country to country, which is an eye opener for us. If the standard of living is high, children tend not to be obedient and do not listen to our instruction, which was seen in UAE, Singapore and Korea. We have encountered this situation many times. When that happens, we talk to them that if they do not listen to our instructions, they will not be able to enjoy soccer, but it is difficult. In the end, we have no choice but to scold them in Japanese, ‘What are you doing!’ Only after being scolded will they start listening to our instructions and be able to enjoy the soccer game. That is something I enjoy.” With regards to future activities, he expressed his dream as, “If possible, I want to continue it”.

After the interview, all of them took photos and the ceremony closed. Then, Captain Ochiai received flowers and presents from the personnel of Red Diamonds Supporters Club and shared his joy.

Captain Hiroshi Ochiai
“Once again, it is an honour to be inducted. When I heard about this for the first time, I could not believe that. However, as days passed, it became more realistic and today, I received the plaque. I am very honoured that I was inducted together with Mr. Kagawa, Dr. Ohata, Mr. Asami, Mr. Suzuki and Nelson, all famous people. Now is the time to thank my family, junior high school teachers, high school teachers and people who have been around me all these time.
In addition, I am very honoured that 3 of us are from Urawa although different high schools (Mr. Asami is from Urawa High School, Mr. Suzuki is from Urawa Nishi High School and Captain Ochiai is from Municipal Urawa High School in Urawa). This shows the wonderfulness of Urawa.
I will work even harder to continue to improve Heart-full Club activities in the future. I hope a lot of people will come to know about Heart-full Club.”

55 people in total have been inducted to Japan Soccer’s Hall of Fame. Captain Hiroshi Ochiai’s plaque with his embossed portrait can be seen in the Japan Soccer’s Hall of Fame section located at the Japan Soccer Museum.

【Urawa Reds Official Media (URD:OM)】