June 8, 2010
Two Jewish SoCal Soccer Players Head for World Cup
(Page 2 - Previous Page)
Bornstein’s relationship with Judaism also stems from his father, a Jew born into an Orthodox family in New York. While Bornstein did not have a bar mitzvah and doesn’t consider himself observant, he did grow up celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Passover with relatives. And he credits his experience representing the United States in the Maccabiah Games in 2005 with reinforcing his Jewish identity.
“It was an amazing experience. I loved it, and not just because I got to play soccer in Israel. It made me realize how fulfilling and enriched Jewish culture really is, ”
Bornstein said. “I was able to explore my Jewish identity in the Old City, at Masada, at the Dead Sea. I definitely want to return some day.”
Feilhaber said playing during the Maccabiah Games was an unbelievable feeling.
“I competed with the best Jewish players in the world in a great environment and I was able to visit places that I had only previously heard about. Because of my family’s history, the Holocaust Museum [Yad Vashem] was the most memorable moment of the trip for me,” he said.
More memorable moments could well be in store for the duo in South Africa.
According to Mike Woitalla, who has covered the United States for Soccer America Magazine since its first of six straight appearances in the 1990 World Cup, “Both Feilhaber and Bornstein could make valuable contributions to the U.S. World Cup campaign. Feilhaber is a skillful, creative midfielder who is capable of dictating the rhythm of the game and making defense-splitting passes. Bornstein is an outside back who contributes to the attack with his blazing runs down the wing.”
Overall, soccer experts think the United States has a good shot — at least in the first round.
“The U.S. is in a very favorable first-round group, so they should at least advance to the round of 16,” said Steve Goff, the Washington Post’s soccer columnist. “Beyond that, however, we can’t expect the U.S. to reach the quarterfinals as they did in 2002, which was the exception rather than the rule. But another first-round failure, as happened in 2006, would be a huge disappointment and a big setback for the program.”
Feilhaber and Bornstein hope to prove the skeptics wrong.
“I think we have a good chance in the World Cup if we are playing our best football at the time,” Feilhaber said. “I think our team is good enough to beat anyone on any given day. England will be a very tough team to beat.”
1 | 2