Soccer Clubs for Girls Too!
A number of people have contacted me about how to find a soccer team for their kid to join. I was interested also on behalf of my daughter, so I did do some research. Naturally I narrowed my search down to a club close to where we live, but hopefully the method I used might be of help to someone else (written tongue-in-cheek).
I was told by the Tokyo English Information line that THE place to find a soccer team for your kid to join up with in Tokyo is:
Tokyo Soccer Association (TSA)
They have the city divided up into "blocks". The 6th block (includes Toshima, Bunkyo and Kita wards as organized by the TSA) has about 40 teams. Well, even if there are only a total of 6 blocks in Tokyo, that makes about 240 teams right there.
My million dollar question when I called there was "do they have any teams that allow girls or are girls only"? They don't like to give out information over the phone, but I did manage to convince the person answering the phone that it would be a waste of my time to go there if there was nothing for girls... so after waiting on hold (yep, to the tune of "Home on the Range"), the answer came back "no, not in the 6th block".
Even so, I persisted gently and the young lady, Ms. Sugawara, was impressed enough by my request that she offered to do the foot work if I didn't mind her calling me back. A couple of days later at 9 pm on a Friday she called. Here is info on all girl teams that she culled from the various lists:
Iitabashi-ku, Takashimadaira, Mr. Yamashita-san 03-3975-5072 girls only
She did not find anything "coed". And as you can see she did not find anything in my block except for the Kita-ku team. Clearly there are plenty of teams available for boys without too much painful research but if you have a budding young "Mia Hamm" in your family that needs a place to develop her skills, I hope this paltry list might offer an opportunity. And thanks Ms. Sugawara for working so late on a Friday.
In reality, there are a bunch of soccer clubs that are not affiliated with the TSA. These put announcements in local newspapers and other pretty much inaccessible places for people who are illiterate in Japanese. The only way to get leads on these is by bugging every Japanese mother you know. You can also walk up to the apparent ring leader right before or after a soccer practice that you notice while walking by one of your local fenced in gravel parks.
I got a lead from a Japanese mother on a coed practice held Wednesdays and
Fridays from 15:00-16:00 for kids under first grade and from 16:00-18:00
for elementary school aged kids. The location is at Shin Otsuka Park (close
to Myogadani Station on the Marunouchi subway line). As of yesterday the
only girl besides one female coach/assistant is my daughter. And it is not
at all clear that she is going to stick it out. The people here are quite
competent at playing and coaching soccer. They all read and write some
English but one or two tries a bit harder to speak while the others simply
can't spit out a single word. So come prepared to guess a lot or speak some
Japanese. Here is an information sheet which should answer the most
important questions in advance info on this specific club which calls itself:
Kodomo Station Soccer School
Well, through the sheer power of accidental observation I discovered that there is another lower-elementary-aged club playing at a park even closer to my house, which has a pony tail running around in the midst of all the boys. But they start their practices at 15:30, too early to fit my daughter's school schedule, so I have not stopped to enquire. But you get the picture...
I wish you luck in becoming a soccer mom in Japan!
British Football Academy Tokyo: http://www.bfat.jp (4-18 years old; has camps during all holidays too)
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