ASHDOD, ISRAEL — Ashdod LC will compete internationally for the first time, when they join seven international men’s teams at the eighth annual New Years Cup, held from January 6-8, 2017, at Vasas Sports Center in Budapest, Hungary.
Ashdod’s participation marks the first time an Israeli club has competed in the tournament, and just the third time a homegrown Israeli club team has traveled abroad — Ashkelon LC has previously competed in tournaments in Belgrade and Brussels.
“This is a great opportunity for us to showcase what hard work and dedication can achieve,” said Andrew Copeland, who serves as Ashdod’s program director. “Our young men have been working tirelessly to improve at a sport that they’ve only been playing for about a year. We will without question be the youngest team there but I expect us to raise a few eyebrows with our athleticism, skill, and knowledge of the game.”
Joining the “Dolphins” in the tournament are Toblerone LC (Switzerland), Tribesmen Erlangen (Germany), Mitava LC (Latvia), Tricksters LC (Slovakia), the Vienna Monarchs (Austria), Poland’s Developmental Team, and the host Budapest Blax.
While the team lacks experience — the sport was established in the coastal city just over one year ago — several of Ashdod’s players have been quick learners. Alon Bechor has international experience at the 2016 FIL U-19 World Championships, where he helped Israel earn a #6 world ranking.
“Bechor has just continued to get better since he returned from Vancouver,” added Copeland. “I expect him, as well as Ofir Nissan and David Geber, who were regular call-ups during the IPLL season, to take leadership roles in Budapest. All three of these guys have a passion and competitiveness that allow them to continue to improve. They are becoming not only the top players in Ashdod but I believe in the entire country.”
The schedule for Ashdod’s January slate is expected to be released in the coming weeks, while Copeland plans to announce a travel roster by the end of the month.