JERUSALEM – American Football in Israel (AFI) is proud to announce the
first-ever international tackle football game to be played on Israeli soil, with
the newly-formed blue-and-white National Team set to take on the Division III
Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders out of Watertown, Wisconsin, USA, on
Thursday at the Baptist Village in Petah Tikva.
The game, which will be
covered on television by SPORT ONE, also marks the debut of 11-on-11, 100-yard
football in the Holy Land, with the five-year-old, 10-team Kraft Family Israel
Football League playing 8-on-8 on a 60-yard field.
“As a developing
football nation, we’re thrilled and honored to play hosts to a Division III team
out of the United States,” said Israel head coach Yonah Mishaan.
the culmination of years of hard work, on and off the field. The opportunity to
take what we have built in our local league and expand it to the international
level is something that will hopefully make an impact in Israel for years to
“We welcome the entire Maranatha delegation and thank them for
making the trip. We are excited for a great game.”
In addition to
Mishaan, the Israeli coaching staff is comprised of coaches from within the IFL.
Big Blue’s Avigdor Yonah and Judean Rebel’s Betzalel Friedman are coordinating
the offense, Haifa’s Ori Shterenbach is handling special teams, while coach Jon
Sharon of the reigning-IFL champions Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres is taking charge of
the defense along with Maranatha alumni Jay Armstead, who has been a coach with
the Haifa Underdogs for the past four seasons.
Alan Hearn, Jonathan
Yifat, Raviv Doron, Michael Ross, Avi Eastman and Rusty Guin round out the
staff. Michael Verbois and Shana Sprung are the team trainers.
members of the blue-and-white squad were selected through a tryout process by
the coaches from the pool of players within the IFL, with the requirement that
they have Israeli citizenship.
Maranatha has sent a delegation of 27 to
Israel, including players and coaches. Over the May 6-19 mission, the
student-athletes will see many sites of biblical significance, including the Sea
of Galilee, Bethsaida, Caeserea, Massada, the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Mount of
Olives, Gethsemane, the Wailing Wall, Bethlehem, Via Dolorosa, and the
There will also be a number of clinics run by the Maranatha
players and coaches and a BBQ at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem two days prior to
the May 17 game for both teams to get to know each other off the
This is the third overseas trip for Maranatha’s football program,
following ventures to France (1995) and Ireland (1998).
played lopsided games against club teams on those trips; the competition this
time is expected to be much stiffer. Coaches Terry Price and Curt Malmanger and
their wives and coach Phil Price are among the delegation.
Football in Israel (AFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to the development
of the sport of American Football in Israel, was officially recognized by the
International Federation of American Football as a member in April of 2006. AFI
currently operates a 10-team adult tackle football league, an 8-team high school
tackle football league, a 55-team men’s flag football league, a 15-team women’s
flag football league, a 10-team high school flag football league and many
countrywide after school football clinics for youth of all ages.
are more than 2,000 athletes playing American football in Israel
For more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit
net or www.ifl.co.il