The wait is finally over. Over the last nine months, there have been some excellent performances in the JC MSFL but in the end only 11 players could make Danny Caro selects his team of 2012.
There were few better keepers than Sam Castle of London Maccabi Lions A. He commanded his area and was one of only three stoppers to keep eight clean sheets in what was an encouraging season for the team. A combination of excellent handling, great agility and superb kicking sees him pip Hendon’s Russell Corin and FC Team’s Ed Bloom to the post.
Oakwood’s Jonny Beilin claims one of the full-back slots after a wonderful campaign. He played a key role in the Division One championship winning team which also reached the final of the Peter Morrison Trophy. Oaks joint-manager Alex Schock said: “Jonny’s a great example. He just gets on with the game and lets his football do the talking.”
Camden Park’s Mike Khalastchi was an absolute rock at the heart of defence in Division Two. Camden’s Nick Kagan commented: “He was integral to our flowing style of football. His distribution was consistently excellent and he popped up with five crucial goals as well.”
Hendon United A’s players’ player of the season, Josh Lipman, is an absolute shoo-in. Both he and teammate Greg Corin are the leading contenders to win the JC MSFL Player of the Season accolade and Lipman was one of the major reasons behind Hendon’s treble success. Hendon boss David Garbacz said: “Josh is strong, powerful, quick and highly inspirational.”
Jonny Ellis had an exceptional first season with Brady Maccabi A. One of the finest passers in the league, the free-scoring defender wears his heart on his sleeve and his winning mentality inspired the team to excellent runs in both cup competitions.
Moving into midfield, former West Bromwich Albion star Nicky Plotnek wooed the crowds on a regular basis for Shirley Park in Division Three. He registered 12 goals in 13 games and averaged two assists per game. His fleet-footed skills left defenders in his wake and once he returns from Israel, where he represented the Olim League Representative team, I expect several top-flight teams to try and snap him up.
Hendon boss David Garbacz believes midfielder Greg Corin is “the most naturally gifted players in the league.”
The left-footer scored some hugely important goals and produced numerous assists, with dribbling skills and balance a joy to behold.
Brady B captain marvel James Joseph led by example every week as his team ran away with the Division Four title. An absolute powerhouse in central midfield.
Hotshot Jamie Kent was back to his best as Brixton Old Boys A clinched the runners-up spot in Division One. He fired 24 goals and was prominent in impressive cup wins over Neasden and Redbridge.
The Maccabi League’s golden boot winner Glenthorne United B player-manager Craig Sandford swapped double winners Redbridge Jewish Care A for Division Three and ended up scoring for fun.
Redbridge marksman Adam Bolle wins my award for Best Newcomer. The former Leyton Orient academy striker terrorised defences with brute force and a keen eye for goal.
DANNY CARO’S JC MSFL TEAM OF THE SEASON
SAM CASTLE (London Maccabi Lions A) – kept four consecutive clean sheets and eight overall in an outstanding campaign in nets
JONNY BEILIN (Oakwood) - "Jon has had a wonderful season peaking with an inspired performance in the Morrison semi-final against South Manchester. He's a great example of just getting on with the game and letting his football do the talking"
MIKE KHALASTCHI (Camden Park) - "an absolute rock at the back all season, integral to the team's flowing style of football, his distribution was consistently excellent and he popped up with five crucial goals as well"
JOSH LIPMAN (Hendon United Sports Club A) - "has run Greg very close. Fabulous season as centre back and spine of the team. Immensely strong powerful and quick and highly inspirational. The best defender in this league bar none"
JONNY ELLIS (Brady Maccabi A) - a leader of men, captain Ellis hates losing. He lifted Brady to another level in his debut season. Brady boss Josh Rosenfeld told JC Sport: "His leadership skills are fantastic and he is a quality centre half." He also caught the eye in central midfield against Raiders and chipped in with several important goals
NICKY PLOTNEK (Shirley Park) - "the former West Brom man is one of the best midfielders across all divisions in the MSFL, without doubt. He bagged 12 goals in 13 games and averaged two assist per game. Stats aside, with Nicky's experience of playing at a higher level, he has excellent professional attitude for the game week in, week out and to know he’s available and on the teamsheet on a Sunday, his Park teammates are fearless
JAMES JOSEPH (Brady Maccabi B) - "at just 22, Brady's captain proved his skill and match-winning ability on countless occasions this season, including a 40-yard volley against Temple Fortune, a 30-yard screamer against FC Team and a four goal haul - guiding his team from 2-0 down to a 6-2 victory - against Athletico Finchley. Joseph has been the driving force behind Brady's debut championship winning season"
GREG CORIN (Hendon United Sports Club A) - "has been on top form all season scoring some hugely important goals in the process and numerous more assists. Dribbling skills and balance a joy to behold. The most naturally talented player in this league bar none"
JAMIE KENT (Brixton Old Boys A) - the top goal-scorer in Division One. He's back to his best. Premier Division teams better watch out next season!
CRAIG SANDFORD (Glenthorne United B) - the JC MSFL Golden Boot winner. A winner, a predator, a fox-in-the-box and a leader of men. Eyebrows were raised when he left Redbridge Jewish Care A but he let his football do the talking week in, week out to lead the team to the only perfect record in the league
ADAM BOLLE (Redbridge Jewish Care A) - the son of former Team GB and Wingate & Finchley manager Jon has got the lot in his locker. Big, strong and with a keen eye for goal, he terrorised defences week after week and looks a strong contender for the 2013 Maccabiah squad