A lifelong athlete and fervent soccer player/supporter, Ori Hoffer was unaware that Maccabi USA fielded Masters-aged Soccer teams at the International Maccabi Games.  One night in 2014, while playing with his over-40 team, Howard Glancy, two-time Maccabi USA alum, approached Ori asking, “You’re Jewish, right? You should play for the Maccabi team!”  As Ori puts it, “My first thought was, are you kidding me? Maccabi is for Olympic-level athletes like Mark Spitz. But then he mentioned that there was an Over-45 division, and to say my interest was piqued is an understatement, to say the least.”

Ori

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, soccer has always been in Ori’s lineage.  His grandfather, Eugene Hoffer (pictured below), was a professional soccer player for Hapoel Palestine in Israel (pre-1948).  “I will never forget kicking my first soccer ball with him in the basement of our house when I was three years old,” Ori recalls.  As a member of Hapoel Palestine, Ori’s grandfather traveled to the United States for a “Good Will Soccer Tour.” Ori sees his impending participation at the 2015 Pan American Maccabi Games as a sort of extension off of his grandfather’s tour.  “I see my participation in the Maccabi Games as a continuation of that,” said Ori. “It will be our chance to share some more goodwill with one another, and to show the rest of the world the joy and peaceful energy Jewish people can bring.”

Ori Grandfather Good Will Flag

Prior to the Pan American Maccabi Games, the Masters 45+ Soccer Team has made it a point to get together as often as possible. This began with a training camp in Fort Wayne, Indiana, earlier in 2015, and continued through a tournament in Casa Grande, Arizona. Despite the uncooperative nature of the weather in Fort Wayne, the training camp was very successful in Ori’s mind.  “One of the most important things we had to do was build team chemistry,” said Ori. “It was great to be together and run through a number of training exercises without the pressure of trying to win tournament games.”

As this will be Ori’s first participation at a Maccabi Games with Maccabi USA, he is unsure what to expect.  One thing is for sure; Ori is pumped. “I’m excited for the chance to be around Jewish athletes from across the hemisphere,” exclaims Ori. “Beyond my new friends from this team, I’m not really surrounded by Jews in my daily life.  Spending this time with thousands of Jews who share the same heritage is amazing and something I am really looking forward to.”

O45

 

 

Previously:

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

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