New Hope for Israel’s National Lacrosse Team
by Yossi Goldstein
Israel’s National Lacrosse team has a full plate this summer. After a solid showing in its first-ever international win – a 13-9 victory over Turkey in Istanbul last June – the Blue-and-White are gearing up for their first international game on home turf.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to evaluate new players and prepare for Denver with real game action,” explains Israel’s head coach Bill Beroza. “Israel Lacrosse is thrilled to showcase the sport in our first-ever home international in Ashkelon, Israel.”
The Stars of David are set to kick off their summer world-tour at Ashkelon’s Municipal Stadium with a game against Turkey on Thursday, July 4. Since Israel only became a Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) member nation two years ago, some see this as a litmus test for lacrosse’s survival in Israel.
“We believe the national programs can fuel our developmental efforts to grow the sport here in Israel,” notes Israel Lacrosse Director, Scott Neiss. “Our goal is to field a men’s team in 2014 and for every FIL competition thereafter.”
In addition to facing Turkey, Israel will take on the Iroquois Nationals – ranked top-five in the world – on August 17 in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Philippines the following day in the same location.
Although the Philippines are not currently an FIL member, they have played against some stiff competition in South America, and can produce problems for Team Israel, especially on defense.
One position where the Israelis shouldn’t have much to worry about is at Forward with Matt Cherry.
The Dickinson graduate, and occasional Israel Team National Lacrosse player, was a first-team All-American, and broke his school record for assists, becoming the first Red Devil to surpass the century mark. Cherry ranks sixth all-time in career points, notching 60 goals this past year for a total of 163 points.
Israel has not yet announced its full roster for the August matches, but will do so following the official national team tryouts held at Netanya’s Wingate Institue from July 9-10.
The 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Men’s World Championship will be held in Denver, Colorado, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids.
The author hosts the weekly sports-talk radio show, “Sports Talk With The Sports Rabbi” every Thursday from 5-6pm on www.allnoiseradio.com.