Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pigskins In Jerusalem: Tackle Football Finds A Home In Israel

While soccer is still the national sport, Israelis are showing a fondness for American sports.  Last year we blogged about a film that documented the formation of an Israeli Baseball League.  Now with the start of the football season, the Israeli Football League (IFL) is ready for action.

The league got its start in November 2007 in a partnership with the Kraft Family, owners of the New England Patriots in the U.S. National Football League.  The league's website details its origins and serves as a base for keeping track of team standings and statistics. It tells about its history and plans for the future.  Here are some excerpts:
It has now been four years since the dream of tackle football in Israel really took hold. What began as a group of 25 enthusiastic and energetic Sabra athletes playing without pads in the Tel Aviv Sportek has grown exponentially into a thriving community of more than 600 players country-wide, with the demand for and interest in our sport growing stronger every day.
From four initial teams, to five the next year to seven last season, the IFL has steadily and consistently grown with a big-picture eye on the future. This fall, the league will continue to mature and showcase the expansion of this great and exciting game to the Israeli market as we introduce two new teams to our senior league as well as kick off our brand-new high school developmental league, IFL High.

Creating pockets of football throughout the country at both the youth and senior levels will allow us to extend our reach and exposure through grassroots initiatives and higher media coverage. It is our dream that within the next 10 years, football will join soccer and basketball as a top-tier sport in Israel, to the extent that every child will consider it a viable option to play from a young age.
Last week CNN reported on a game between the Judean Rebels and the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions.  Let's join reporter Kevin Flower down on the field as he interviews players and coaches in this league now playing its fourth season.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment