PORTLAND, Ore. — Following the U.S. Women's National Team's victory in the women's world cup last week, Portland State women's soccer goalkeeper Abbie Faingold has a chance to contribute to another international win as she was selected to compete for the Maccabi USA team at the 14th European Maccabi Games in Berlin later this month.
Faingold was selected as one of 16 players on the open women's soccer team, which will begin competition with its first group game against Sweden on July 29.
"I am so honored to be representing my country at the national level through these games," Faingold said of her selection to the team. "I think that this is an opportunity of a lifetime and not many people can say that they have competed at the international level. Additionally, I would like to thank my coaches at PSU, specifically [head coach] Laura Schott, for their support throughout my decision to participate in these games."
The European Maccabi Games are Europe's biggest Jewish sports event, and takes place every four years in different European cities. In 2015, 36 countries will compete at the games across 19 disciplines.
Four countries will compete in the open women's soccer competition between the U.S., Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. Those four team will play a round robin group stage, before the teams with the first and second most points after the group stage play in the Gold Medal game, while the other two countries play each other for the Bronze Medal.
Each individual game will follow FIFA rules, and will be competed over 45-minute halves. Games that are tied at the end of 90 minutes will count as draws during the group stage, while two 15-minute extra time periods will follow in the medal rounds, culminating in penalty kicks if necessary.
Outside of the competition, the games also hope to encourage Jewish pride in its participating athletes, and strengthen bonds within the Jewish community.
This year's edition of the games also takes on added meaning as it will be the first time the games will take place in Berlin, nearly 80 years after the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which German Jewish athletes were banned from competing in during the reign of the Nazis.
"This is a very important trip for all these athletes competing in Berlin. Not only are we all coming together to compete at a high level, but we are also coming together to learn, celebrate, and appreciate our Jewish heritage," Faingold said. "The fact that it takes place in Berlin makes it even more of an emotional and special event due to the events that took place 80 years ago. Basically all of the athletes' families were at some point affected by the Holocaust. My grandfather was interned at Auschwitz during WWII, so this is a great chance to learn more about the history behind what he had to go through before being liberated."
Faingold had to raise some money as part of her participation in the games, but has already met her personal fundraising goal. However, those still interested in donating to Faingold for the games can do so here, or they can donate to the entire Maccabi USA team at the group's website.
Full Schedule for Maccabi USA Women's Soccer
|Aug. 4||10:00||Hindenburgplatz||Bronze Medal Game|
|Aug. 4||13:00||Stadion am Wurfplatz||Gold Medal Game|
Times local to Berlin and subject to change