The world’s third-largest international multi-sport sporting event – the Maccabiah Games – is held in Israel every four years and sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.
Also known as the "Jewish Olympics," the Maccabiah Games brings Jewish athletes together from around the world to compete in a two-week Olympic-style sports festival.
Maccabi USA (MUSA) is accepting applications for the Junior (U-19) rugby 7s team that will compete in the 19th Maccabiah Games in July 2013. American rugby players of Jewish descent (either parent) born in 1995 or 1996 are eligible to apply.
The 12-member squad will train together and tour historic sites in Israel before representing the United States in the U-19 rugby 7s competition. Teams from Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, Israel and South Africa are expected to compete for the Gold medal.
The MUSA rugby team has a storied history. The 15s team has medaled in every Maccabiah Games since rugby was introduced in 1985, including a gold medal performance in 1997.
The 19th Maccabiah Games will debut Open and Junior (U-19) rugby 7s competitions for the first time in the competition's 80 year history. The decision was made to include rugby 7s on the heels of the IOC's historic inclusion of rugby 7s in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
Many Maccabi athletes have also represented the United States in the Olympics and on national teams. Recent Maccabi alumni include Olympic gold medalists Jason Lezak, Kerri Strug and Lenny Krayzelburg. The MUSA rugby team is no different, having produced USA Eagles, Collegiate All-Americans, and senior All-stars including USA Sevens National Team player Zach Test.
The MUSA Junior 7s team will be coached by Jacob Liberman, head 7s coach at the University of Texas and 2001 Maccabiah Games silver medalist. Junior Maccabi athletes will train in a high performance environment alongside the Open athletes and coaches. The MUSA Open teams are coached by former USA Eagle and 1997 Maccabiah Games gold medalist Shawn Lipman. Coach Lipman has assembled a world-class coaching staff and player pool to help the United States reclaim the gold medal.
"Junior Maccabi athletes competing in the 2013 games will have a clear path to the senior team," said Liberman. "These athletes have a special opportunity to connect with their Jewish heritage, train with current and former Eagles, play rugby against top international competition, and hopefully bring home a gold medal. Really its a once in a lifetime chance."
The Junior Maccabi 7s team will not have a try out. A national committee will assist coach Liberman with regional selections. The committee includes USA Eagle Dallen Stanford (West coast), Collegiate All-American assistant coach Aaron Manheimer (Midwest), and New York Rugby Club head U-19 7s coach Rosalie MacGowan (East Coast).
Interested players should apply online at www.maccabiusa.com and email Coach Liberman at
. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS September 15, 2012.
The Maccabiah Games do not feature a women's rugby competition at this time. However, Maccabi USA is collecting contact information for female Jewish rugby players in order to gauge interest in future competitions. Please email Coach Liberman and Maccabi USA rugby chairman Jeff Simon at
if you are a female rugby player of Jewish descent interested in competing in future Maccabiah competitions.