Unity: for Morry Steinbach, Maccabi USA and the Games put on by the Maccabi Movement represent unity, not just among Team USA, but for “Jews all over the globe in a manner by which a rally or fundraising dinner simply cannot achieve.”
At the 2015 European Maccabi Games in Berlin, Germany, Morry Steinbach made the Maccabi transition from player to coach. Prior to being the Head Coach for the Youth Men’s Soccer team in Berlin, Morry was a Masters Soccer player at the 2005 and 2009 Maccabiah Games. He learned about the Maccabi Movement as a young boy living in Israel in the 70s, and during a successful career as a Soccer player at the University of Maryland, he was contacted by Al Albert, five-time Soccer coach with Maccabi USA. Although the timing for the 1991 Maccabiah Games was not right for Morry, the seed was planted. In 2005, the time was right, thus beginning his Maccabi journey.
(2005 Masters Soccer, Morry Steinbach is number 8, front row, center.)
For Morry, being in Berlin represented something different and powerful. Not only was it his first time coaching for Maccabi USA, but “being in Berlin was so meaningful. Our boys learned so much about Jewish history as it pertains to the Holocaust,” exclaimed Morry. “We visited meaningful memorials, said Kaddish at Track 17, and heard a Holocaust survivor speak.” His athletes, most of them 17 and 18 years old, shared the same sentiment regarding the significance of these European Maccabi Games.
On the last night of the Games, Morry and his team gathered for one final dinner together before the Closing Ceremony. At one point during the meal, he stopped the chatter to ask everyone a question: What was your favorite memory from the last 10 days? “Of the 15 kids on our team, only 3 mentioned something soccer related as their favorite memory,” recalled Morry. “I said to the guys, ‘this trip had its desired effect. Yes, the soccer was important… but not nearly as important as continuing to build your Jewish identities and creating long-lasting friendships.’”
Morry’s Maccabi experience is set to continue, as he has been appointed the Head Coach of the Youth Men’s Soccer team for the upcoming Pan American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile, from Dec 26, 2015-January 5, 2016. “I am compelled to stay involved with Maccabi USA because it has given me far more than just athletic experiences,” said Morry. “I tell all those who ask me if they should get involved that these Games provide lifelong memories, friends, and a deeper connection to Judaism, and that they should do everything in their power to get signed up right away.”
Maccabi USA is currently seeking Jewish Soccer players, born in 1997 or 1998, to represent the United States at the Pan American Maccabi Games on the Youth Men’s Soccer team! For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 267.627.5647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.