U.S. soccer team’s Jewish trio


From the L.A. Jewish Journal:

Two Jewish soccer players from Southern California are on the U.S. team facing England during America’s first World Cup match, in Rustenburg, South Africa, on June 12. Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber, both 25, along with Chicago’s Jonathan Spector, 24, a defender for London’s West Ham United and the grandson of NBA star Art Spector, comprise one of the largest Jewish contingents on a single team in the U.S. squad’s history.

Friends since high school, Bornstein and Feilhaber have been on a shared journey to the World Cup, which includes stints with the UCLA Bruins and the U.S. Men’s National Team as well as a silver medal win during the 2005 Maccabiah Games. …

Feilhaber said that he and Bornstein “definitely had a special connection” because of their religion. Plus, he said, “it was easy being friends with him because he scored all the goals so I passed him all the balls.”

For his part, Bornstein, who still rooms with Feilhaber while on the road with the U.S. Men’s National Team,  said,  “When a Jewish holiday comes up, we recognize it and talk about it, but we don’t celebrate too many holidays together.” That is because Feilhaber spends the High Holy Days with his family. “My father is Jewish, and I have a connection with Judaism through my father and my grandparents. I know our history as a people and embrace being Jewish myself,” Feilhaber said. “Of course, my proudest moment as a Jew was having my bar mitzvah in front of all my family and friends.”

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