Sanfrecce Hiroshima enjoy VSP experience

Action during Grade 20 Grand Final of 2014 IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 1 between APIA Leichhardt v Manly Utd at Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park, Sydney, NSW on September 14, 2014. (Photo by Gavin Leung)

J-League outfit Sanfrecce Hiroshima called Football NSW home for the past week after a select youth side utilised Valentine Sports Park as part of its pre-season preparations for the up and coming season.

The club’s first team manager and former Japanese international Hajime Moriyasu was on hand to oversee the club’s training sessions as he kept a close eye on which of the 20 players were ready for the step up to senior football.

There were a couple of senior members of the Sanfrecce Hiroshima squad that travelled as well with one notable star that graced the football pitches at Glenwood, Brazilian ace attacker Anderson Lopes.

Having won 35 caps with the Blue Samurai, Moriyasu wore the Sanfrecce Hiroshima shirt an incredible 271 times and during his period as a classy midfielder, played with a couple of Australian stars such as Tony Popovic, Hayden Foxe and Aurelio Vidmar and was coached by former Socceroos boss the late Eddie Thomson.

His son, Keigo, also has a special tie with Australia as he was one of Edgeworth Eagles FC’s standout players during the 2016 PS4 NPL Northern NSW season.

The talented young squad also took part in two friendly matches against the Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets National Youth League teams prior to their departure back to Japan on Sunday.

The squad went through a vigorous training schedule by the coaching staff, training twice a day, but had the comforts of walking back to their rooms, the beauty of staying on location.

Football NSW CEO Eddie Moore was impressed with the quality Moriyasu’s men bought to Valentine Sports Park both on and off the park.

“It’s great to see the venue utilised by some of Asia’s best teams in this instance being J-League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

“The players and coaching staff were very warm and respectful to everyone and we were treated to some high quality football action albeit via their training drills and friendly matches they took part in.

“We wish Sanfrecce Hiroshima all the best with their up and coming season.

 “Since Australia’s involvement with the Asian Football Confederation, interests from both club and country teams wishing to use Valentine Sports Park as a training hub has risen.”

Since redevelopment in 2015, the venue has seen a number of Asian club teams utilise Valentine Sports Park as a training hub with the likes of Chinese Super League outfits Guangzhou Evergrande, Guangzhou R&F and Shandong Luneng as well as Japanese J-League side Kashima Antlers use the facility.

Australian Football’s partnership with Asian football scene has strengthened since the successful hosting of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup tournament that saw the Socceroos crowned Asian champions for the first time in its history.

Following this memorable achievement, Hyundai A-League clubs have also endured successful AFC Asian Champions League campaigns, one being the Western Sydney Wanderers who took out the 2014 title while a number of Asian players have called Australia home plying their trade with Hyundai A-League and State League clubs.