The Jewish Link and Drink Up would like to recognize Ilana Gilad as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The Yeshivat Frisch 10th grader has been a leader on and off the field/court for years. She started playing Teaneck rec soccer at 7 years old. Went on to play on FC Teaneck Fury, the most winning FC team for Teaneck ever, and was a team captain. She led her Noam soccer team to the championship scoring three goals including the winning goal in overtime. She was also a member of the Noam basketball team, winning two championships. At Frisch she has played outdoor soccer, varsity softball, JV basketball— and been a member of the championship team this year—and JV soccer, where she was named team captain. She averaged two to three goals per game and had many assists in attempts to have other players score. She’s enthusiastic and an amazing team motivator. Ilana was often conferring with Kelly Vincent, JVsoccer coach, to discuss game strategy, team conditioning and team motivation. When asked about Ilana, Coach Vincent told The Jewish Link, “Ilana is a talented and hardworking soccer player and has shown off both her skills and her constant uplifting attitude on the Frisch JV soccer team the entire season. She earned the title as captain and helped to lead the team to victory by scoring four goals and working nonstop during the game against Ma’ayanot.”
Ilana, congrats on the championship and for being recognized as this week’s Sportstar of the Week! Who is your role model and why?
I would say my biggest role models are my parents. Every day they work from 6:30 in the morning to wake me up for school or get on a train all the way to the end of the night. My mom is always helping me with everything I need and giving me great advice. My dad is always motivating me to keep pushing and to always stay positive. They both work very hard and inspire me to do the same. I could not ask for better parents and I am very grateful and blessed to have them by my side.
What is your favorite sport?
My favorite sport is soccer. I’ve played soccer for quite a while and my very first team was on rec soccer on team Emerson. And since then I’ve played for the FC travel soccer team, the Noam Knights and now the Frisch Cougars. I fell in love with soccer at a young age and I enjoy playing it a lot.
What is your pregame routine?
I don’t particularly have a pregame routine but I do like to wear a specific pair of socks as my good luck. They are a gray pair of Adidas socks and I make sure to wear them when I play any sport. I also like to listen to music beforehand because it gets me relaxed and ready to play.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
My biggest sports accomplishment would definitely be the fact that I was named captain on my travel team and now have also been named captain of my high school team. I was very honored and very grateful.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
My favorite athlete is Alex Morgan. She has always been a soccer star and I have looked up to her for a while. I enjoy watching her play and lead her soccer team. I remember watching her when the USA women’s soccer team was playing in the championship one year and I was so excited, I invited my friend over and got all dressed up!
What is your favorite sports memory?
My favorite sports memory is for sure when my Noam Knights soccer team won the championship in seventh grade. We were a team of mostly seventh and sixth graders and the rest of the teams who we were playing against were mostly eighth graders, so it was tough competition. We played Solomon Shechter in the championship and it was very intense. It went into overtime and we managed to win 5-3! It was great.
What is your earliest sports memory?
My earliest sports memory would either be playing on an MGBL team for basketball or the Emerson soccer team.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?
My favorite thing to do when I’m not playing sports is work out or sleep. I enjoy working out to feel accomplished however I do get lazy sometimes and sleep a lot. Shabbos is the best time because I can read and sleep!
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
The best thing about being a Sportstar for me is that I can be proud of myself for all the hard work I’ve done. This season was definitely challenging and to see that all of the working out and practicing has paid off is really amazing. Winning a championship is definitely a great feeling but to remember the journey that led up to that moment and to appreciate what it took to get here is very satisfying and fulfilling.
Please send nominees for an upcoming Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].