Israeli Stars Taking the Premier League by Storm
Yossi Benayoun’s move to Chelsea has been the popular “Israeli football story” of the past month, but let’s not overlook some youngsters and up and coming players also moving to the most visible league in the world…
Dekel Keinan is set for a medical at Blackpool after impressing the Premier League newcomers over the last few weeks on trial. Keinan is Israel’s in-form centre-back and will look to earn a starting spot in the Premier League.
Gai Assulin, the “next Messi” (or not) is still only 19 years old and is set to join Premier League club Blackburn. Sam Allardyce has a history with Israelis (he brought over Tal Ben-Haim to Bolton about 6 years ago) but Assulin is less Ben-Haim and more Benayoun. The tricky winger / attacking midfielder has yet to reach potential but this is his chance to truly perform and cement a career in European football.
These moves will bolster Israel’s chances for Euro 2012 qualification. If more and more players “follow Benayoun” to the greatest league in the world, the national team will surely benefit from this increased exposure, confidence, and of course – the training / improvement of those players abroad.
It’s amazing to me that the United States National Team, a country of 300 million with youth academies, expensive travel teams, and unlimited sporting resources, has only 3 outfield players in the Premier League: Dempsey (Fulham), Spector (West Ham), and Holden (Bolton).
And Holden has only appeared twice for Bolton, so does he really count?
Israel, a country of 7 million people – with almost no resources devoted to sporting endeavors, and a climate that kills the soil and deprives youth of playing on any surfaces even resembling grass, could have DOUBLE that number – with six Israelis featuring in the Premier League this year: Benayoun (Chelsea), Ben-Haim (West Ham), Assulin (Blackburn), Keinan (Blackpool), Cohen (Bolton), and of course Avram Grant in a managerial role at West Ham.
For now, Benayoun is the stud of the bunch – but perhaps in a year or two the likes of Keinan or Assulin will pave the way for others (Gal Alberman?) to come to the greatest league in the world and continue to raise the profile of Israeli soccer.
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the US, as a whole, doesn’t care about soccer, nor do we wish to. its a dull, uninteresting sport with little action and often no winner.
its perfect for the rest of the world, but hardly something that appeals to us. personally, if i want to watch a weird foreign game, i’ll find a telecast of Australian Rules Football, where at least they do something, and they score points.
soccer is like watching a track meet with no finish line… why bother? besides, all the flopping down every time a shadow touches you, with the fake pain and writhing on the ground is teh ghey. man up you sissies.
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