As college roommates and backcourt running mates at Emory University, Michael Warech, Robert Schiller, andDavid Sherwyn were widely known as a threesome to be reckoned with on the basketball court.  Combining their skills to compete in several intra-fraternity and intramural championship games, the friends still fondly recall the intense competition and brotherhood their college games provided.  Thirty years later, their sons and daughter will be bringing their fathers’ legacy of competition, friendship and skill to Brazil as they combine their talents as members of the USA Team in the upcoming 12th Pan Am Maccabi Games.  Soccer standouts Jonah Schiller, a forward, and Jacob Warech, a central defender, will attempt to bring home the gold for the Juniors Boys’ Soccer Tteam, while Kayla Sherwyn will do the same for the Juniors Swim Team this December.

Warech, ranked by TopDrawerSoccer.com as a Top 20 Player to Watch in his home state of New Jersey, has participated in five JCC Maccabi Games previous to his appointment as a member of the USA Juniors Boys’ Soccer Team this appointment.   A starting varsity player since his freshman year at Morristown High School, representing his faith and his community is special for Warech.  He noted, “I’m extremely honored to be selected to participate in the [Pan Am] Maccabi games, which provides such a wonderful opportunity for Jewish athletes around the world.  This year, I’m also really excited to being playing alongside Jonah, who I’ve known since I was old enough to walk.  I can’t wait for the two of us to get on the field.”

For Schiller, representing the USA as a member of the Juniors Boys’ Soccer Team is the latest in a series of outstanding soccer accomplishments.  In July 2011, Schiller competed with 365 Sports in the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden with more than 200 teams from around the world.  Schiller’s club team in Jacksonville, Florida, the Ponte Vedra Soccer Club (Storm U16), is currently ranked 21st in Florida.

For Sherwyn, who will represent the USA as a member of the Juniors Swim Team, this is the latest step in a swimming career that began when she was seven years old.  As a freshman and sophomore, her Ithaca High School enjoyed undefeated seasons and two sectional championships.  The fact that she will be joining Jacob and Jonah, both of whom she has known since before she can remember, makes it even more special. Her father, Dave, is thrilled to see her achieve something that neither he nor anyone in their family has accomplished.

Jacob’s father, Michael Warech, couldn’t be more proud of his son’s accomplishments to date.  “Jacob is a great kid who works extremely hard and is very deserving of the recognition he has received for his soccer skills.  The fact that he has an opportunity to represent his country and play alongside Jonah just makes it that much more special.  And I know all five of us ‘boys’ will be elated to root for Kayla together.”

Jonah’s father, Rob Schiller, is excited to see Jonah compete internationally and emotionally moved by the continuation of a family legacy.  Rob, participated in the 14th Maccabiah Games in Israel, and in the 6th & 7th Pan Am Maccabi Games with the Open Men’s Squash Team and his father, the late Sheldon B. Schiller, began the tradition by competing in the 11th & 12th Maccabiah Games in Israel, and the 6th & 7th Pan Am Maccabiah Games on the Masters Squash Team.   This time, the Schillers plan to continue the father-son tradition of competing, as Rob will be a member of the USA Masters Golf Team in São Paulo.

The fact that the three former roommates and teammates will be there together to watch their children makes this year’s Games an exclamation point to 30 years of friendship, competition, reliance, and giving.  This winter, Warech, Schiller, and Sherwyn are looking forward to continuing their families’ tradition of athleticism, excellence and achievement.  No doubt they hope that thirty years from now, their children will have the privilege to do the same.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, the Pan American Maccabi Games and the Maccabi competitions in Europe and Australia, as well as a co-founder of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and excellence in sport.