(Courtesy of yumacs.com) Former Yeshiva University men’s soccer head coach Josh Pransky and current assistant coach Jesse Goldberg led the United States U18 boys’ soccer team to the gold medal at the 14th Pan American Maccabi Games, in Mexico City. The USA earned the gold by outscoring Argentina in the final game, 4-3, in penalty kicks after the score was tied, 0-0 at the end of full and extra time. Pransky served as the head coach for the gold medal-winning team, while Goldberg assisted in the coaching duties.
USA began its quest for the gold against host Mexico, at the Centro Deportivo Israelita Soccer Stadium, in front of 3,000 fans. USA took a 1-0 lead and never looked back. From there, USA went on to defeat Peru (4-0) and Venezuela (3-2). The United States then battled Argentina to a 1-1 tie, securing them a spot in the gold medal game. While the U.S. U18 team did lose to Brazil in the final match of pool play, it did not impact the team’s position since the Americans already secured a berth in the championship match.
Before heading to the finals, the boys made sure to give back, as they volunteered with USA Maccabi doctors to give out eyeglasses to over 400 people in Huixquilucan. “Aside from being monumental in coaching this team to gold with me, Jesse (Goldberg) was influential in getting extra people and many extra children into the vision screening,” Pransky said. “He was a true role model for all of us that day!”
Heading to the gold medal game against Argentina, USA was in good standing as they held the No. 1 seed. It was a hard-fought match, as both teams could not find the back of the net during regulation time. During the extra session, the two teams battled hard, leaving the score at 0-0. Penalty kicks would determine which team took home the championship. USA took advantage by outscoring Argentina, 4-3, to earn the gold.
“This was an extremely talented team, but the exceptional thing was that these guys were successfully able to frame frustrations (both on and off the field) as challenges and then make them opportunities to build on success after success,” Pransky said. “I’m very proud of this group of young men.”