Champion Soccer Star Scores Winning Goals in the Classroom

Date: October 2017
<CENTER><B>Champion Soccer Star Scores Winning Goals in the Classroom</center></b>
Idan Tal is not only a soccer coach, but a life coach

At the height of his career as a professional soccer player, Idan Tal sparred on the field against such legends as David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane, with the roar of 100,000 fans swelling the air. Today, 42-year-old Tal is to be found on the Boys Town Jerusalem Kaswell Sports Field amidst the (roaring) groups of teenage players he carefully coaches. As the newest member of the school’s physical education faculty, Idan Tal couldn’t be happier. “Teaching is tiring and demanding, but I never believed I could get so much satisfaction in return.”

“I remember where I came from – I was ‘energetic’ like them – and I lacked direction. Today I’m trying to reach out to each boy and give him the tools to build his character. That’s what builds champions.”

Nor did the well-known Israeli soccer star (named Player of the Year in 2004-5), today a religious Jew, ever believe that his life journey would take so many sharp turns. “Although my grandparents were observant, I didn’t grow up in a religious home. Sports were always my passion. I advanced to the Israeli National Soccer Team for over nine years and played on major teams in Spain and England before I retired several years ago. Along the way, I discovered my Jewish heritage and then began a new career in teaching.”

BTJ's physical education director Doron Deutch received the rookie teacher with open arms. Says Tal, “Doron is an exceptional teacher and a pro in every way. I’m learning from him, and learning from my students as well.” Idan Tal stresses that he is committed to teaching his BTJ students far more than sports techniques. “This classroom can give kids lessons for life. Discipline is a crucial element of sports, as is positive thinking and respect for others. Our Jewish sages have long taught the connection between a healthy soul residing in a healthy body, which is the goal we aim for.”

“Teaching is tiring and demanding, but I never believed I could get so much satisfaction in return.”

Since first entering Boys Town Jerusalem, instructor Idan Tal is surrounded by his enthusiastic 7th – 11th grade students at every step. “I remember where I came from – I was ‘energetic’ like them – and I lacked direction. Today I’m trying to reach out to each boy and give him the tools to build his character. That’s what builds champions.”



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