Israel’s football team playing Spain in first international game

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s national football team will compete in Spain in its first official international game.

The Israelis will play the Spanish national team on Sunday in a bid to qualify for the International Federation of American Football’s B-Group International Tournament in 2016.

All the players on the Israeli club compete in the nine-team Israel Football League.

A notable newcomer on the national team is former University of Michigan quarterback Alex Swieca, who played in the IFL while attending the Young Judaea year course in 2011-12.

“These are football players. It’s a pretty tough bunch,” IFL Commissioner Betzalel Friedman said in a statement. “They’re not fearful, just proud.”

Security for the team, which is traveling to Europe as an official state delegation, will be provided by the Shin Bet security service.

With the help of New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, there has been a big push in recent years to develop American football  in Israel.

The International Federation of American Football is made up of teams from more than 70 countries worldwide, including Middle Eastern lands such as Egypt, Turkey and Kuwait.

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