GB Open Football stars: The verdict

By Danny Caro, July 28, 2009

Having won silver in the Open football competition, Danny Caro profiles the GB stars

1. Andy Goldman – the big Hamilton FC stopper played every moment of every game at the 18th Maccabiah. While many believe that it is not right for someone to represent Great Britain once every four years, it is fair to say that he is the best Jewish keeper around. While his language on the pitch is colourful to say the least, he makes the big save when it matters most, commands his box and kicks with authority. He’s the real deal. He also saved two penalties in the final shootout. DC’s Tournament rating: 9/10

2. David Soutar – Souts made many fans and friends in Israel this summer. He was here, there and everyone and never went missing. He tackle with authority, got up and down well, and popped up with a vital goal in the win over Brazil. Strong in the air, the versatile Crowborough Athletic player also started one game at left-back. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10

3. Guy Morris – my GB Player of the Tournament. One of the first names on Jonathan Kestenbaum’s teamsheet, an automatic choice. Morris is a leader of men. He won every header, every tackle, every 50-50. Rumour has it he even won the poker on the team bus! His giant throw-ins caused problems at the other end and he must be the lynchpin that English and GB football is based around for the next few years. He is the Jewish John Terry with much more upstairs. It was a crying shame that his penalty was the one that meant Argentina won the cup. DC’s Tournament rating: 10/10

4. Craig Ellis – Not far behind Morris was Wingate & Finchley’s gentle giant Craig Ellis. My Man-of-the-Match in the final, he risked life and limb against the Argies, using every sinew of energy and strength in the game of his life. He led by example when GB had their backs to the wall and played with style and grace. Hours of dedication at the gym in the run-up to the Games ensured that he was in prime physical condition. A winner in every sense of the word. DC’s Tournament rating: 10/10

5. Guy Helman – the only Welshman in the village, Helman became Mr Reliable. He didn’t sulk if he didn’t start and showed the right attitude. A real team player in every meaning of the phrase. Like so many others, hardly put a foot wrong and didn’t deserve to finish second best. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10

6. Jonathan Kurrant – the tiger of the team. He was instructed to win back the ball, and more often than not he did. You could see his big match pedigree in the positions he took up and his high profile development at Charlton has turned him into a quality customer. Head coach Les Reed sang his praises after the final and told me that Kurrant is one of the boys who should be playing at a higher level. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10

7. Sam Sloma – captain marvel got the ball rolling in the final with a coolly taken finish. His headed winner against Israel took some of his teammates by surprise but he proved that he is the man for the big occasion. Struggling with injuries before the Games, Sloma improved with every game and led by example. He deserved gold. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10

8. Scott Shulton – the other player recommended by Les Reed to play at a higher level. Recently released by Wycombe Wanderers, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Football agent Lee Earl predicted that he would take the Maccabiah by storm, and after an unspectacular start, he wasn’t wrong. He ran himself into the ground every game and gave defenders a torrid time. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10

9. James Gershfield – having excelled at the European Maccabi Games in Rome two years ago, much was expected from Gersh. He didn’t make the same kind of impact but was a regular starter and didn’t let anyone down. He kept things simple, worked his socks off and showed good commitment throughout the competition. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

10. Paul Hakim – proven goal-scorer finished as GB’s top man in the goal department following strikes against Argentina, Brazil and the USA. Hours on the training ground paid off. He really looked the part and it’s hard to believe that he won’t be playing Saturday football next season. He linked up well with Sloma and did lots of damage running into the channels with penetrating runs down the GB right. DC’s Tournament rating: 9/10

11. Mitch Hahn – a solid tournament from the first man from JC MSFL Division Four to grace the competition. Showed great composure to score a penalty in the final and he repaid the faith shown in him by the management who started him in the majority of the games. DC’s Tournament rating: 8/10


Danny Berliner – the management and keeper Andy Goldman sang his praises for his attitude and commitment. The Lions and Hendon keeper will be remembered as the Theo Walcott of the squad. He came, he saw and will undoubtedly be one for the future.

Michael Sacks - Wingate & Finchley giant started some and came on in others. Clearly a man for the big stage, he never looked out of place and added to the team's steely determination. Will undoubtedly be a leading candidate to lead the team's challenge in 2013. DC's Tournament rating: 7/10

Alex Levack – did not get as many playing minutes as he would have wanted but did not let the team down. Showed his bottle to score in the final shootout and the silver medal is due reward for his services to Jewish football. His trophy cabinet at home is twice as big as him! DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

Danny Berg – there has never been a more popular squad member than Bergy. The life and soul of the changing room, he will treasure his medal with pride. Versatile is his middle name and his cameo displays proved that the management have faith in his qualities. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

Ben Lauffer – like Levack, he was a bit-part player, which came as a surprise given his impact in Rome two years ago. He was battling against Kurrant to play the holding role but when he got a chance he didn’t let anyone down. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

Michael Warwick – did well when given the opportunity. A wing wizard put in some telling crosses and showed great composure down the left. He set up some goals and was a valuable member of the squad. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

Daniel Stanton – not what you term as an impact player but Stants has great tactical awareness and that is what messrs Kestenbaum, Winston and Reed saw when they named him in the squad. He does the simple things well, is elegant and always seems to have time on the ball. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

Matt Stock – looked a little off the pace at times and was unable to show his turn of foot after being outmuscled by his marker time and again. It appeared that the management seemed unsure whether to start him or use him as an impact player. In the end they were caught in two minds and when he was used, I felt he was played too deep. But you can’t fault his effort levels. DC’s Tournament rating: 7/10

GB Scorers

3 - Hakim
2 - Sloma
1 – Kurrant, Soutar

Last updated: 5:15pm, July 29 2009