Just minutes after being named Maccabi League Player of the Year, Daran Bern dropped a bombshell on his Redbridge Jewish Care teammates - by telling them that he is leaving Jewish football. Playing in his first full season in the league, Bern, 24, tormented defences as the east Londoners clinched their first league and cup double. He finished as the team's top-scorer and topped the Premier Division goal charts. He scored the opener in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final that RJC went on to win 2-1 in extra time.
Having made his mark in the MSFL, Bern has decided to join a group of friends playing for Lindsey Street in the Harlow Sunday League next season.
Bern said: "It was a really difficult decision as we've had a fantastic season. I'd like to thank my teammates as the team bonded so well and were like a family.
"We've also got a fantastic manager who never has a bad word to say against anyone. I was also delighted that my parents came to watch every game. My dad thinks I should stay with Redbridge so I will register and play on the odd occasion as I love the boys."
RJC swept the board in the major individual awards. Midfielder Ben Sollosi, who will join Bern at next month's European Maccabi Games in Vienna, won Young Player of the Year.
Keeper Dan Lee, who is also preparing for the EMG, won the Safe Hands award, while Sam McCarthy won Manager of the Year.
Speaking about the team's success, West Ham fan Bern said: "Redbridge is a fantastic club. They should use this season as a stepping stone as I believe they can go a lot further. The treble should be the aim next season."
He capped a memorable season with two goals for the MSFL Rep Team. Bern said: "It's the best award I've ever received. To get voted by my peers is right up there. I can't ask for any better."
Looking ahead to the Euro Games, Bern added: "Our aim is gold. Training is going well and there is very good ability throughout the squad."
Sollosi, from Chigwell, also had a memorable first season in the top-flight. "It's a big honour to win the award as there are some big names on the trophy.
"We have a great team. It was really good playing alongside an experienced player in Danny Hakimi who sits in the middle of the pitch, allowing me to get into the box.
"I've been driven to play well every week. The big one was the win over Neasden on the first weekend of the season. It set us up and gave us belief."
Sollosi is looking to complete a treble with a medal in the Open futsal competition in Vienna.
"It will be tough but we have a good squad. To get the gold would be brilliant," he said.
The majority of divisional awards went to players from title-winning teams with Blizzard Storm defender Adam Speck the exception.
Scottish official Warwick Blake retained the title of best referee.