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Maccabi USA Selects Pransky to Coach USA Under-18 Team at World Maccabiah Games

2016 is going to be a busy year for Yeshiva University men’s soccer head coach Josh Pransky. Not only will he and the Yeshiva University Maccabees work to try and follow up the record breaking success of the 2015 season, he will also be at the helm of the Maccabi USA U18 Soccer Team. As the head coach for the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel, Coach Pransky and Maccabi USA Assistant Coach Justin Greenberg will be spending 2016 building the team that will try to take home the Gold at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. Pransky most recently coached the Maccabi USA U16 Team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Chile this past winter.

At the last World Maccabiah Games, which took place in Israel during the summer of 2013, the Maccabi USA U18 Team went to the championship game and took home the silver medal.

“This is a huge honor and very humbling,” Pransky said. “Expectations are high for this team; they have always competed well and we intend to put together a similarly strong team.”

Maccabi USA will host two national tryouts in January 2017; one in Philadelphia and another in Los Angeles. After the team is selected, Coach Pransky plans on hosting a training camp in the U.S. during the spring of 2017. Following that, the team will travel to Israel early in the summer to train together until the World Maccabiah Tournament starts.

Coach Pransky and Coach Greenberg, a Maccabi USA veteran who worked alongside Pransky in Chile, have their work cut out for them in finding the best players from around the country to bring to those January tryouts. There is no doubt that they know some of the talent they can bring from the tournament in Chile, but they are not sitting back and relaxing. In the first few days after being appointed, the coaches have already been busy making contact with players and coaches from around the country.

“It is our job to find and recruit the best Jewish athletes from around the country and then to put the puzzle together. Coaching this sort of team is unique because you don’t spend nearly the amount of time with the players as you do when you coach in college or in a club. Hopefully some of the players from the team that went to Chile can make an impact, but we expect to find many new players too,” Coach Pransky said.

“’I’m excited, “ Coach Greenberg said.”Josh and I will be working with a tremendous group of talented young men. We expect to have a very strong crop of talented young players vying for position to be part of this team.”

At Yeshiva, Coach Pransky is familiar with Maccabi USA products. Leon Aboudi, Agustin Cygiel and Julian Ribak all played for Maccabi USA at the World Maccabiah Games. As a senior, a sophomore and a freshman, all three players were consistent starters in Yeshiva University’s historic soccer season in 2015.

When he reflects on his last Maccabi experience, Coach Pransky is using the lessons he learned to build an even stronger unit this time. “In Chile we competed hard in every game. The results didn’t fall our way, but we have some very talented players to build on. With the proper lead up to this tournament, we should be challenging for top honors. Chile was a huge thrill and an amazing experience; I can only assume Israel will be even better!”

Of course for Coach Pransky, it has never been just about the results, and it won’t be this time either. “One of the humbling aspects of coaching this age group is that they are at a very impressionable time of their lives. It is a massive responsibility. These experiences can help mold their character in a concrete way. If you are willing to see it as such, soccer is a great way to build character. You can test yourself in a stressful or frustrating environment, analyze, fix and then retest yourself with an almost identical experience. Life doesn’t usually provide opportunities like that. At a tournament of this caliber, halfway across the globe, these tests can feel exponentially greater and therefore exponentially more rewarding. It is very exciting to get a chance to be part of the experience.”

Coach Greenberg has a similar viewpoint, “The experience of traveling to Israel for the Maccabiah will undoubtedly be compelling and transformative for the group of us. The golden nugget of the Maccabiah is in the experience these kids will have. Soccer can play a powerful thread in the building of character and this type of competition—where spirit meets sport—will have a powerful impact.”

Asked what he looks forward to most, Coach Pransky did not hesitate. “For these young men, this tournament is way more than just a few soccer games. They will have the chance to meet members of their kin and culture from all over the world. In the most special place on Earth no less. They will bond in a very intense and unbreakable way with each other, too. I think we all look forward to the massive responsibility of helping them gain the most they can from this experience and adding a positive, well rounded experience they can grow from.”

Coach Pransky and Coach Greenberg with the Maccabi USA U16 Team in Chile at the 2015 Maccabi Pan American Games.

Credit YUMACS.com

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