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Guy Michaeli’s Soccer Journey

Guy Michaeli sign 4
WRITTEN BY Noah Ohayon

In January, 18-year-old Maccabi USA alumnus Guy Michaeli signed a three-year contract with the Israeli professional soccer club Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C. His signing makes him the only Israeli-American on the team’s 20-player youth team and just the second American to sign with Israel in the most recent transfer window. The Dallas-born striker has always been a fan of the club so his signing was not only a professional achievement but also personally significant.

Michaeli started playing soccer when he was four. In his early teens, he played for the Dallas Texans and helped the club win the 2021 U-16 Dallas Cup, the oldest international youth soccer tournament in the country, whose alumni have combined to play in more than 500 FIFA World Cup matches. In 2021, Michaeli was also named the Elite Clubs National League U-16 player of the year. 

While he played for the Texans, Michaeli discovered he had an unusual talent for soccer.  “When I was 14 or 15,” he said, “I realized this could be my future, and I could do things with it.”

Before his 16th birthday, Michaeli was recruited by the Sporting Kansas City Academy (SKCA). It was a significant milestone as it meant that it might be possible for him to eventually make the team’s Major League Soccer (MLS) squad without having to go through the MLS draft process. 

Meanwhile, on the SKCA U-17 team, Michaeli scored on three consecutive weekends, including a hat-trick against rival Minnesota United FC. Within a year, Michaeli was promoted to the Academy’s second team, one level below the professional MLS team and scored one goal in 12 games against older and more experienced players.  

Also during Michaeli’s years at the Academy, he represented the U.S. at the 2022 Maccabiah in Israel and helped its U-18 boys’ soccer team earn a silver medal. Despite losing to Israel, 3-0, in the championship game, Israeli scouts took notice. “During and after the Games,” he said, “youth academies in Israel wanted to bring me in, but I was [only] 16.” Still, he said, “the Games got my name out there in the Israeli soccer world.”

On December 9, 2023, Michaeli announced his commitment to play for the University of Michigan, a Division-1 team. Less than a month later, however, Michaeli changed tacks and signed with his favorite team, Hapoel Tel Aviv. It is a three-year deal with a fourth-year option. He is currently playing for its youth team but can advance to the club’s first team. Also, he said that this contract with Hapoel Tel Avivmakes it eligible for me to still go to Michigan. Right now, the door is still open to go to Michigan.”  

After Michaeli’s signing, the professional director of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer, Chen Sol, said, “Guy is a very talented player with a great future ahead of him. [He also] understands the great history and tradition of the club.”

Right now, Michaeli is taking full advantage of the opportunity to play professional soccer. He is trying to improve and gain valuable experience.

Until then, fans can watch Michaeli in action when Hapoel Tel Aviv youth team games are streamed on Israel TV’s sports channels. 

Noah Ohayon is from Dallas, Texas, and is a Journalism and Media Studies/Human Resource Management student at Rutgers University.

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