July 29, 2013
Former Loyola University Maryland men’s soccer midfielder Gary Weisbaum helped the U.S. men's soccer team win its first-ever gold medal in the men's open division of the 19th-annual Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Americans defeated Argentina in penalty kicks, 4-2, in the gold medal game on July 29.
The Games kicked off Wednesday, July 17 with a gala opening ceremony on at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres honored the 9,000 athletes representing 71 countries, the largest number of competitors ever at the ‘Jewish Olympics.’
The United States finished with a 2-1 record in pool play, tying Mexico and Uruguay with six points. The USA opened play with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay, but won against Denmark, 5-0, and Mexico, 3-2.
In the quarterfinal round of championship play, the United States used a 4-0 halftime advantage to down Germany, 7-0, and advance to the semifinals, where the Red, White and Blue knocked off Canada, 5-0.
“[Representing the U.S. is] a lifetime dream,” Weisbaum said. “I grew up in a Jewish household, in a kosher home, I went to Jewish day school, I know Hebrew, and I have family members who made aliyah. Being able to represent your country as well as your religion is a special feeling.”
To read an entire story on Weisbaum and other local Baltimore athletes that competed at the Maccabiah Games, click here.