(Other than the most obvious one, that Israel actually has a Lacrosse team, thanks Issac!)
This weekend, Israel’s national lacrosse team will debut its official international play at the 2012 European Lacrosse Championships in Amsterdam. For those of you who just found out that Israel has a Lacrosse team, here are a few fun facts:
1. Scott Neiss, founder of Israel Lacrosse, came up with the idea during his Birthright trip in 2010
Neiss visited Israel in 2010 and found out that Lacrosse hadn’t made it over to the Holy Land yet. Thanks to a few contacts at the Federation of International Lacrosse, he was able to establish the team. Neiss, an Oceanside, N.Y. native, made aliyah in 2012. He is currently the executive director of Israel Lacrosse. In the past, he was the chief executive of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and North American Lacrosse League (NALL).
2. There are currently two men’s club teams, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
(Israel Lacrosse Facebook)
According to the official website, “the squads are currently meeting 1-2 times weekly, year-round, in preparation for exhibition play and international competition this summer.”
3. Jerusalem is the current and first ever “Zimmerman Cup” champion, after beating Tel Aviv 12-11 last August
(Israel Lacrosse Facebook)
The MVP of the game was Rutgers’ Adam Goldberg, who scored four goals. The game was held at the Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. The “Zimmerman Cup” is named after Jordan Zimmerman, CEO of Zimmerman Advertising.
4. Last summer, Israel became the 42nd member of the Federation of International Lacrosse
The FIL is the world’s premier Lacrosse organization. By joining the federation, Israel Lacrosse gained eligibility to participate in the Men’s World Championship, which will take place in July 2014 in Denver. National Team Tryouts will be held in 2013.
5. Israel Lacrosse was granted permission from the Ministry of Culture and Sports to represent Israel in the 2012 European Lacrosse Championships in Amsterdam
Lacrosse also became an official Maccabiah sport.
6. There are 43 players on the squad, comprised of members of the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem teams, and also Jewish players from other countries.
7. Israel’s #25 Robby Dunn-Bernstein has an epic Star of David tattoo on his right arm
8. There is also a women’s team, which practices in Tel Aviv
The team will also be participating at the European championships, but only in exhibition matches.
9. Israel Lacrosse’s coach, Bill Beroza, is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame
Beroza was a goalie, a star college player and a member co-captain of the World Championship USA team in 1982.
10. The Lacrosse team holds “youth clinics” all over Israel, where they introduce the game to local kids
Players help the kids understand the game, run drills and play. So far, more than 25 clinics have been held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Kfar Yaheskal and other locations. Thanks to the clinic, more than 1,000 kids were handed Lacrosse sticks. This week, Israel Lacrosse worked with local Dutch youth of Maccabi Nederlands and taught them Lacrosse.
11. Which is great news, because before Israel Lacrosse came along, most Israelis associated Lacrosse with this:
(NSFW – profanity)