While hundreds of American athletes are eagerly anticipating the beginning of the Olympics in London this month, another Team USA is preparing for a different international competition.
Tryouts for the 19th Maccabiah Games, which will be held in Israel in July 2013, are already beginning across the country—including several in Los Angeles.
Held every four years in Israel, the all-Jewish Maccabiah Games prides itself on being the third-largest international sports competition—behind the Olympics and the Pan American Games—with more than 50 participating countries.
The United States will send 79 teams in approximately 40 sports to the 2013 games, including seven basketball teams. Basketball teams will compete at different age levels, from 15 to 45, and up.
Basketball Chairman of Recruitment and Outreach Brian Schiff pointed out that the U.S. delegation has fared well in recent years, earning four gold and two silver medals in the 2009 games.
Splitting the masters’ team into a 35-and-up team and a 45-and-up team will give the United States another chance to go for gold, Schiff says.
“We’re not looking for the 12 best athletes on every team,” Schiff said. “We’re looking for the 12 players who will make up the best team.”
Past Team USA participants included a number of college and professional players, such as Davidson forward Jake Cohen and Big 5 Player of the Year Zack Rosen, who is currently playing summer league with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Tryouts for the Men’s Open Team (18 and up) will be held at Milken Community High School on Aug. 4 and 5. The Men’s Youth Team (15 and 16) will hold tryouts at Milken on Aug. 19.
Schiff says tryouts are open to anyone interested.
“We’re hoping to get as many people as possible to try out,” he said. “This is an unbelievable opportunity to represent the country, and you get a lot more out of the games than just athletics.”
Tryouts for Juniors Boys’ Baseball will be held Aug. 5 at Simpson-Hartunian Field in Encino. Masters Tennis (35 and up) tryouts will be held Sept. 10 at MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles.
To register for tryouts in basketball or in other sports, visit maccabiusa.com, click on “Sports,” and then click on “Sports Explorer.”