Pile on the pounds for Chanucah
Most Jewish footballers up and down the land are taking a well-deserved break over the festive period.
No doubt, their managers hope that they do not over-indulge on doughnuts, latkes and Chanukah gelt or go binge-drinking during end-of-year club celebrations. After all, no-one wants to go into 2012 struggling to squeeze into their kits or under armour.
One team that will have no such problems are FC Team. They have just returned from a trip to La Manga in Spain, where manager Mitch Young put the players through their paces at a winter training camp.
No sooner had they got off the plane, they were straight into action, against Muleno CF. Star striker Richard Salmon gave them a dream start but tired legs played a part as they were eventually beaten 3-1.
Young said: "Muleno were simply amazing. They passed the ball and moved so quickly and elegantly. We were chasing shadows for nearly 90 minutes."
The next day was spent unwinding on the training ground, where James Korn claimed the title as penalty king during a shootout, followed by some pamper time in the spa and plunge pool.
Victory was to follow against a La Manga Staff XI the next day with match-winner Craig Edwards and man-of-the-match Gideon Moss earning the plaudits.
It was just as well that they won as Young gave his troops the hairdryer treatment following a heavy night out.
Young said: "Everyone was out until the early hours partying and have breached club rules. They were caught on camera by the Spanish press and will be docked a weeks wages!"
FC Team lost the final match 6-3 against Soho CF, who brought on two substitutes that changed the game. Young described them as "simply unplayable". Star player Shai Davidi (2) and Edwards netted for the visitors.
Reflecting on another successful trip, Young said: "This was our fourth tour in six years and once again, everyone bonded and got on really well."
* The challenge is on to find the best Jewish five-a-side team in the country. Matt Keston has taken over the reigns from Josh Colman to organise the JUEFA Cup, organised by UJS.
This year's event, taking place at Powerleague Mill Hill on January 2, is set to be the biggest yet with 31 teams confirmed.
It comes on a weekend when there is no MSFL or MJSL football and there are some great prizes up for grabs in a competition for male and female footballers aged 16-30.
The top male team will win a trip to Israel, while golden girls will battle it out for a trip to Europe.