ASHKELON, ISRAEL — Ashkelon LC made a strong opening statement on Wednesday by tabbing midfielder Seth Mahler, and forwards Mitch Goldberg and Yotam Drori as franchise players for the opening season of the Israel Premier Lacrosse League.
“I think we have a strong team for this inaugural season and I’m really excited to see these three players, who all competed for Israel in Denver this past summer, back on the field for Ashkelon,” said Ashkelon LC head coach Howard Offit. “I’m looking forward to see how Mahler and Goldberg take Drori and the entire Ashkelon team under their wings. It’s going to be an action-packed summer.”
Mahler, a 2010 graduate of Whittier College, makes an obvious choice for the club. The 27-year-old right-hander, who has resided in Ashkelon for the last two years, has led the development of the clubs’ youth programs to astounding levels. Mahler has been a key cog of the Israel men’s national team since 2012, where he competed in the European Championships as a developmental player. At last year’s World Championship, Mahler was selected for the blue-and-white’s men’s Championship team, appearing in eight games in Denver.
Goldberg, who recently wrapped up his Sophomore season at the University of Richmond, joins Ashkelon LC after a 29-goal year with the Spiders. The six-foot-four-inch tall native of Damascus, Maryland, was a member of Israel’s developmental team in Denver last year, and is likely to take a strong role for the “Fighting Alephs” as both a team leader and an offensive juggernaut.
Drori, an unlikely franchise tab for Ashkelon given his age and limited experience, will be on “double duty” for the Alephs for both the Premier Club and the U-19 squad following his selection today. The 16-year-old forward has only been playing the sport for two years, but has seen exponential growth in his development as a result of the Daniel & Wendy Kraft Lacrosse Scholarship and his time in the United States last summer.
Ashkelon will host the IPLL All-Star Game, when the Israel men’s national team faces off against the Birthright/USA All-Stars on June 28th at Ashkelon New Municipal Stadium. Ashkelon LC opens their regular season slate against Haifa LC on July 6th in a neutral-site game in Ashdod.