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U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Meet the three Jews on the World Cup squad

Marc Tracy
June 11, 2010
U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber.(U.S. Soccer)
U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber.(U.S. Soccer)

In an excellently titled blogpost (“Our Cup Runneth Over”), Ron Kaplan reports that there are not one, not two, but three Jews on the U.S. squad, which plays its first game in the 2010 World Cup Finals tomorrow, in South Africa, against England.

They are:

Jonathan Bornstein
Benny Feilhaber
Jonathan Spector

What else can I tell you about these guys? Well, not much. If you want a “Soccer Jew” (“that intellectual, kvetchy, Granta-reading guy who also happens to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of Ronaldinho’s every kick”), I suggest you head here.

I can tell you, via Kaplan, that Feilhaber’s paternal grandparents fled from the Nazis to Brazil—another country where they play soccer—and that Spector’s grandfather, Art Spector, was the first player ever drafted by the Boston Celtics.

I can tell you they are all experienced, each having at least 25 caps (that’s soccer-talk for “international appearances”—don’t worry, I had to look that one up, too).

I can tell you that Bornstein and Spector are defenders, while Feilhaber is a midfielder.

I can tell you that Spector must be legit, as he plays for the English Premier League’s West Ham United, while Feilhaber plays for a storied Danish squad whose name I’m not even going to attempt to copy and paste. And Bornstein plays in America, for a Major League Soccer team named after goats, whose head coach manager is also the head coach manager of the U.S. national team.

I can tell you that Tablet Magazine’s official team is the United States, and also whichever team is playing North Korea (which will include Brazil, Portugal, and the Ivory Coast—appropriately enough, the DPRK was placed in this year’s Group of Death).

Above all, I can tell you that The Scroll will, throughout its World Cup coverage, be referring to this arguably beautiful game as soccer. After all, football doesn’t start for another three months.

Our Cup Runneth Over [Kaplan’s Korner]
Related: Plotz Like Beckham [NYO]

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.