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Philadelphia, PA, June 21, 2016 – Jay Gelman, Open Women’s Softball Chairman for the 20th World Maccabiah Games USA Organizing Committee, is proud to announce the appointments of Nicole Arias and Emily Bliss as Head Coach and Assistant Coach, respectively, for Team USA’s Open Women’s Softball team at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games. Arias, currently an Assistant Coach for Princeton University’s Women’s Softball team, is a three-time Maccabi USA alumna, winning three gold medals. Bliss played Softball collegiately for CSU Bakersfield, rotating between five different positions, and is a two-time Maccabi USA alumna with two gold medals. Arias and Bliss were teammates on Team USA’s Open Women’s Softball teams at the 2007 Pan American Maccabi Games and the 2013 World Maccabiah Games.

“I am excited to lead the next generation of Jewish Softball players to the homeland of Israel,” Arias said. “My goal is to not only have my team leave Israel as gold medalists, but more importantly, to leave the Maccabiah with the lifelong friendships they will create with their teammates and Jewish athletes from around the world.” Remarked Bliss, “While winning a gold medal is fantastic, I hope to give these women an experience that will not only last them a lifetime but also strengthen their love for Israel.” Team USA’s Open Women’s Softball team members will be part of the overall 1,200+ member USA Team.

Maccabi USA is seeking qualified Jewish athletes to represent Team USA in Softball at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in the Open Women’s division, ages 18-35. Tryouts will be held in the Chicagoland area on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

The 20th World Maccabiah Games are the world’s third largest international sporting event and will consist of over 9,000 athletes from 75 countries participating in 42 different sports. To learn more about the sports and age divisions offered, please visit our website.

The Maccabiah Games are more than an international sporting competition; it is a celebration of Jewish culture, unity and pride. ISRAEL CONNECT, Maccabi USA’s unique cultural and educational program takes place for seven days prior to the start of the Games. All Juniors, Youth, Open and Paralympic athletes participate in the program where they have the opportunity to tour historical and religious sites, take part in cultural identity seminars and train with their teams, all while developing lifelong relationships.

For more information, please contact Jay Gelman at 610.513.4400 or via email at

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, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor 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.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA is a U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The organization is one of 38 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.


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