Olim league kicks off in Tel Aviv
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The first JC Olim League, created by the Olim communities around Israel, comprises nine teams with Jewish footballers from all over the globe represented.
This summer saw three new teams enter the league and the pre-season hype and uncertainty ended as the league kicked off on Saturday night in Tel Aviv and Ashdod.
Playing at the floodlit Tel Aviv University pitch, league veterans Jaffa FC hosted new boys Aviv City FC. This hard-fought curtain-raiser was won comfortably in the end by Jaffa. Having weathered some early pressure, Josh Berkeley put Jaffa ahead from the edge of the area. This was swiftly followed with another from Berkeley and a third goal from Rannie Madmon following a great run down the left from Elias Sandler.
There was no let up in the second half as Berkeley converted a penalty to make it 4-0, allowing Tito Elias and Stephen Caffrey to control the game. Berkeley claimed his fifth of the season to put Jaffa 6-0 up before Caffrey rounded off the scoring with another long-range special. Aviv City claimed a late consolation through Roy Morik, the team's first ever league goal.
Thirty miles south, fellow newcomers Ashdod established themselves as a force to be reckoned by humbling last season's runners up Jerusalem 6-1.
"Credit to Ashdod, they are a well organised, cohesive unit," Jerusalem FC's Richard Patter. "However the scoreline does not reflect the many chances we created. Their keeper made some outstanding saves and we just could not find a way past him. It was a learning experience but with the strong characters we have in our team I am sure we wil bounce back."
The next round of matches sees current champions England FC take on the newly merged Modi'in and Beit Shemesh team and also the league's first Northern Israel derby featuring Netanya against Ra'anana.