Raising their game

Wonderful week for rising Jewish stars

A milestone week for some of the Jewish communities young rising stars.

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images, via Perth Glory
Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images, via Perth Glory

LAST week was a memorable one in terms of milestones achieved by several young and immensely talented Australian Jewish footballers, for whom the sky is now the limit. Central defender Jacob Muir, 20, had his one-year A-League Men contract with Perth Glory extended until 2025.

The Carmel School graduate has earned seven A-League Men starts so far this season, and in his first season, he played in the last five consecutive regular season matches, having risen up the ranks of the Glory’s academy system.

Perth men’s head coach Ruben Zadkovich has been impressed by Muir’s progress, and believes he has enormous potential.

“Jacob is a very bright prospect for this club,” Zadkovich said.

“He is still honing his craft defensively, but is a natural ball-carrying centre-back, who is versatile and comfortable under pressure, especially in possession.

“He has great vision and awareness, and his passing range and techniques are rare in a player in his position and of his age.

“I have a very strong belief in both his ability, and his character.

“We are delighted to extend his deal.”

Fellow Jewish A-League Men player, 18-year-old Sydney FC defender Jake Girdwood-Reich, was subbed on by head coach Steve Corica in the 84th minute of the Sky Blues 1-0 away win against archrivals the Western Sydney Wanderers last Saturday night.

Three days earlier, Girdwood-Reich was named in a 23-man Young Socceroos squad which will fly to Uzbekistan this Monday to prepare for the 2023 AFC U20 men’s Asian Cup.

The Young Socceroos will play three pool games from March 1-7 against Vietnam, Iran and Qatar, and if they reach the semi-finals, they will qualify for the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup.

A third Jewish Australian player in the A League Men, 20-year-old striker Zac Sapsford, played in five matches off the bench for the Wanderers, before a leg injury kept him off the field in January.

Sapsford was special guest speaker at his old club, Hakoah FC’s official 2023 season launch last Sunday night.

Zac Sapsford (centre) was the guest speaker at the Hakoah FC’s official 2023 season launch.

It was also a proud week for the club, with former Hakoah FC player Oliver Jones making his A-League Men debut off the bench for the Macarthur Bulls in a 2-1 win over Wellington.

Meanwhile, Moriah College student and 2023 Australian Schoolboys captain Aden Green, made his Australian Joeys debut in the 2023 Antalya Youth Cup in southern Turkey earlier this week.

Green was on the bench for the Joeys’ opening 0-0 draw against Czechia, but was picked in their starting side, as a mid-fielder, for their second match against Morocco on Monday night (Australian time).

The Joeys won that hard-fought match 2-1, and Green starred by scoring Australia’s first goal in the 43rd minute.

Teammate Xavier Smith’s corner deflected off the crossbar into Green’s path, and he made no mistake heading the ball into the goal from close range.

The Joeys’ last game in the tournament was due to be played against Uzbekistan on Wednesday night (Australian time).

And in girls’ football, Moriah College student Erin Gordon has been selected to play for the Australian Schoolgirls in their upcoming tour of the USA, commencing in late March.

It’s another step forward for Gordon, who made her Junior Matildas debut in mid-2022 in the ASEAN Football Federation U18 Women’s Championships in Indonesia – a tournament Australia won.

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