Israeli flag football MVP Donny Eastman..
(photo credit: AFI COURTESY)
Israel flag football notched its best-ever accomplishment winning silver medals in both the men’s and women’s European Championships played last weekend in Copenhagen.
Host Denmark established itself as the dominant flag football country in Europe winning both gold medals.
The Israeli women had an outstanding opening round, including a win over Denmark. In the gold-medal game, the blue-and-white suffered a letdown losing 33-6. Yael Freedman won the tournament MVP award to go along with the World Championship MVP award she was given three years ago.
The Israeli men won all its games in the tournament except when facing Denmark. Convincing wins over Sweden, Norway and Great Britain propelled Israel into the final. Defending-champion Denmark proved too strong, outlasting Israel 39-19.
Two years ago in Spain, Israel left the European Flag Football championships without a medal, after finishing fourth in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
This was the second European silver medal for the Israeli women to go along with two bronze medals. This was the first medal ever won by the Israeli men.
The second-place finish means that both Israeli teams have now qualified for next year’s World Championship, which will be played in Panama.
The Israeli women are sponsored by the family of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The Kraft Family has sponsored the team since its founding in 2003. The late Myra Kraft was the founding sponsor of the team and the players honor her memory by wearing the letters “MHK” on their sleeves.
The Israeli men’s team is once again sponsored by New York businessman Ira Kleinman. Kleinman’s sponsorship is based on combining his loves of football and Israel.
The national teams are organized by American Football in Israel. The AFI is a member of the Ayelet organization of Israeli non-Olympic sports. There are about 2,000 players across Israel who play in organized flag and tackle football leagues under the auspices of the AFI federation.