Flag Football: National team to play at worlds

Meanwhile, the national women's team is traveling to Le Havre, France, for the largest European flag football tournament of the year.

flag football 298.88 (photo credit: )
flag football 298.88
(photo credit: )
American Football in Israel is proud to announce that the national flag football teams will compete at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Flag World Championships next month in Quebec, Canada. This week, the national women's team is traveling to Le Havre, France, for Flag Oceane, the largest European flag football tournament of the year. The gold medal eluded the Israeli women at Le Havre two years ago, when the team won all of its games except the final, losing to Team Quebec. The national team, coached by Yonah Mishaan, came in first place at its last major international tournament, the 2007 Big Bowl in Germany. AFI is, for the first time, sending a second team, the Yossi Fuchs-coached Jerusalem Wolves, to Flag Oceane. Mishaan was optimistic ahead of the teams' departure for France. "We have worked hard all year and we're ready," said Mishaan, adding, "Our goal is to win Flag Oceane to prove to ourselves that we are ready to face the best teams in the world." Israel is one of seven countries to qualify for the women's world championship in Quebec. The other countries competing for the title will be the USA, Canada, Mexico, Austria, France and Japan. The national men's team will be one of 13 squads at the world championships, in addition to Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Canada, the USA, Thailand, France, Mexico and Korea. The world championships, which are sponsored by the NFL-recognized IFAF, are July 24-28 in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The Israelis could find themselves at a slight competitive disadvantage due to the fact that most of the players are observant Jews. "We are the only team that will be staying in Montreal instead of at the tournament site (about 40 kilometers away)," explained AFI President and delegation head Steve Leibowitz. "Our teams must be close to kosher food and synagogues, and we are squeezing all of our games in on Friday and Sunday. The Canadian organizers have been very understanding of our teams' needs." In addition to a busy tournament schedule, the Israeli squads are planning a number of community visits in Montreal. Leibowitz said, "Montreal's Jewish community is warm and accommodating. We are planning to meet a lot of people and promote our country and our sport when we visit the JCC, day camps, synagogues and the B'nai Brith. We also plan to accept home-hospitality for Friday night and Saturday Shabbat meals." The national teams are sponsored by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his wife Myra, and by Fieldturf, while the Jerusalem Wolves are sponsored by Hart Hasten. The Krafts were in Jerusalem last week and attended team practice at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. Robert Kraft told the players, "The special thing about football is that it is a game about team and not individual egos. You really play like a team." Kraft later joined the teams in a huddle and recited the "Shma Yisrael" prayer and blessed the team with success.