Mexico coach Jacques Pass 150.
(photo credit: Helena Onykal)
Fourteen victories over the past four Maccabiah Games.
This is the record of Mexico soccer coach Jacques Pass.
His dynamic team, helped by a great boost from the fans who kept cheering throughout the game, almost made it to this week’s Maccabiah men’s soccer final. The Mexicans led Argentina until the 81st minute of the semifinal, but two late Argentinian goals sent them to play for the bronze medal.
A few months ago, it seemed the Mexican soccer team wouldn’t make it to the Maccabiah.
Its primary issues were that it had no funds and lacked training.
But the Jewish community of Mexico City donated generously, and Pass started training and preparing his players for the 19th Maccabiah.
Considering the team had only 90 days to train, Mexico had an excellent tournament.
The side’s goalkeeper is Eli Saadia – formerly of Beitar Jerusalem and Ashdod’s junior team – who reminisced about his days in Israel.
“The Beitar crowd was very devoted, they always bring a lot of emotions to the field, they always treated me well and I’m grateful. If I have a chance to play there again I’ll be delighted.”
The Mexicans showed a wonderful spirit throughout the tournament. They defeated Great Britain – the Maccabi Europe champion – 2-1 a thrilling quarterfinal that went to overtime.
In the aftermath, Pass noted that “we have great players in our team and I think that Dan Rosenfeld, a goalkeeper from our junior team, is the best of the best.”
Pass’ primary job is as president of Johan Cruyff’s strategy and consulting firm, which works with Latin American soccer clubs.
“We provide consulting services to Latin American clubs and players, we worked with Rafael Márquez, Ex- Barcelona FC, Jared Borgetti from Bolton and football clubs like Chivas and Americana,” Pass explained.
Pass said he also has close ties with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“We have a strategic deal with Maccabi. We recently sent them Isaac Schuach for trials from Americana FC.”
When asked on his opinions about Israeli players, the coach pulled no punches.
“Israel is a country with amazing motivation, they do it in high tech start-ups, they believe in themselves and build themselves and they succeed.
You need to do the same in [soccer], don’t copy other people’s [soccer]. They need to do their own thing and that will unleash their potential.
“When you train, you need to consider the weather. You can’t have an English training plan in a hot Mediterranean country, but rather take examples from Italy and Spain.”This is an official Maccabiah report. For more information, please visit www.maccabiah.com