Archive for June, 2009

The Golden Age of Jewish Soccer in America

June 24, 2009

Being funemployed, I’ve been watching every US game in the Confederations Cup.  And as both a longime US Soccer supporter as well as a Jewish sports fan, I couldn’t be more proud of Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber, my fellow Tribesmen who were all part of today’s historic 2-0 upset over Spain.

2009 is shaping up to be a banner year for Jewish athletes in many sports.  In addition to my 3 favorite new soccer players, there were the dramatic clutch goals scored in the NCAA championship game by Boston University hockey players Zach and Colby Cohen (not related – seriously?), as well as 4 Jews likely to make this summer’s MLB All-Star game; Kevin Youkilis, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Bruan.  Even Gabe Kapler has been playing well lately.

But today belongs to soccer.  Let’s start with Spector.  The only starter in the group, he was part of one of the best US backfields that I’ve seen in a long time – maybe ever.  Howard was brilliant in net (and I was all in favor of benching him after the Italy and Brazil debacles), Onyewu had some big stops, and Demerit was stifling.  Even a mediocre outing from Carlos Bocanegra (forgivable as he’s recovering from injury) was offset by great defensive play from the midfield, notably Michael Bradley.

Bornstein was admittely only on the pitch for the final 2 minutes and didn’t do anything notable individually, but was key in an overall team effort that really controlled the ball well and withstood Spain’s desperate onslaught at the end of the game.

Feilhaber, who’s known for his ball-handling skills, was key in both setting up the USA’s second goal and also defended well in his 21 minutes off the bench.

Overall, I’m still more proud as a US Soccer fan for the fantastic overall team effort, but the Jew in me can’t help but be giddy to have 3 of my boys take part in such a notable victory.