It was a thrilling foot race right down to the wire — and when the contest was over, it was Israel that became a deciding factor in the outcome.
A soccer standout and player since age 8, Israeli Tal Bublil scored the winning goals against James Madison U., firing up his fellow Drexel U. Dragons (12-3-2) on their way to the soccer title of the Colonial Athletic Association with a 2-0 victory last week over the bedazzled Dukes.
On top of the title, Bublil earned the honor of CAA Player of the Week.
Pelé as Israeli? Just who is this header so ahead of the game?
Feted by the school, Bublil was already known for his fancy footwork as a defensive player from the Hapoel-Herzliya Club in his native Israel. But now everything seems to be taking a big bounce his way along University City at Drexel.
For his whole life, said the 24-year-old Bublil, a junior, “soccer was my first thing in priorities.”
The native of Kfar-Maas, in Petach Tikva, arrived here in August 2010 after serving in the army for three years.
Setting his goals wasn’t so easy: “Coming to the U.S. was the hardest decision I have ever made,” he said.
“I played soccer with the support of my amazing family,” he said, noting his parents come every season to watch a few games. “But I was looking for something else.”
Bublil had designs on building a new life, and majoring in interior design and architecture at Drexel seemed a natural way to structure a new experience.
But his field of dreams is truly soccer and he said he still aspires to play it professionally some day.
But first the slaymaster for the Dragons has to conquer the next round — post-season playoffs that begin on Friday as top-seeded Drexel hosts its first CAA Tour against Hofstra.
“We are coming with a positive attitude, willing to work hard on the field,” said Blublil. “We believe we are able to do it.”