Tackle football league to kick off in Jerusalem today

The inaugural season of the four-team Israel Football League kicks off this weekend. The nine-game regular season gets under way at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem at noon Friday, with Big Blue Jerusalem hosting Dancing Camel HaSharon. On Saturday, Real Housing Haifa hosts Mike's Place Tel Aviv at Kibbutz Ein Hashofet. Opening week will have two games, and there will be an average of one game per week until the end of the regular season in early March. The playoffs and championship games will be played in mid-March. The teams are located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Sharon. The preseason games demonstrated that the players were ready for their first season, IFL commissioner Eric Amkraut said. "The players are getting better each time they take the field," he said. "We are still beginners, but the level of play is gaining in skill level with every game we play." American Football in Israel president Steve Leibowitz expressed confidence that the fans will not be disappointed. "For the first time ever," he said, "Israeli players and teams are putting on the pads and helmets and Israeli fans will be able to see the world's most exciting and hard-hitting game."