Celebrating Jewish American Women's Soccer Players in history
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate six Jewish players from USA women’s soccer history.
Jewish soccer players have played a big part in the sport’s history in America. Whether it’s DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Turner representing the USMNT at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar or Sara Whalen winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup in the United States, Jewish soccer players have always been represented at the game’s highest levels.
Thanks to efforts from those likes of Yael Averbuch West, Jewish women should continue to represent the United States and the game as a whole for years to come.
Are there any Jewish soccer players in the NWSL?
No Jewish American soccer players are currently performing in the NWSL. However, the league has two Jewish general managers -- Yael Averbuch West of NY/NJ Gotham FC and Camille Ashton of the Kansas City Current.
Current Female Jewish American Soccer Players Worldwide
There are no confirmed active Jewish American women’s soccer players playing in international leagues. However, with the growth of the NWSL and the popularity of the U.S. Women’s National Team on the rise, that won’t likely be the case for much longer.
Famous Jewish Women’s Soccer Players
Former defender Sara Whalen has the most appearances for the USWNT team with 65, while fellow defender Yael Averbuch West has 26.
Celebrating 6 Jewish American Players in Women's soccer history
Years Active: 1994 to 2002
Teams: Connecticut Huskies (NCAA), Long Island Lady Riders, New York Power
Awards: Women’s World Cup Championship (1999), Olympic Silver Medal (2000)
Born in Natick, Mass., to Jewish parents, Whalen was a star defender at the University of Connecticut. She was a three-time All-American and 1997 NSCAA Player of the Year.
Whalen joined the newly-formed Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001 as a member of the New York Power. A serious injury in 2002 ended her playing career at age 26.
For the USWNT, it was a different story. Whalen was part of the victorious USWNT squad at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup -- a crucial win in the history of U.S. women’s soccer. She also won a silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Yael Averbuch West
Years Active: 2002 to 2018
Teams: North Carolina Tar Heels (NCAA), New Jersey Lady Stallions, Sky Blue FC, Western New York Flash, Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC, Washington Spirit, FC Kansas City, Reign FC
Awards: NCAA Championship (2006, 2008), NWSL Championship (2015)
Born in New York City and raised in Montclair, N.J., in of a Jewish family, Averbuch West played her college soccer at the University of North Carolina. She was a three-time First Team All-American and two-time NCAA champion.
The defender had a nomadic club career, but that didn’t stop Averbuch West from cracking the U.S. Women’s National Team lineup. While she didn’t play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, she is arguably the most prominent Jewish American soccer player, thanks to her outspokenness. She also played 26 times for the USWNT.
Today, Averbuch West works as General Manager for NJ/NY Gotham FC in the NWSL. She is an active voice in growing the game of soccer among women and young Jewish people.
Years Active: 2008 to 2018
Teams: Stanford Cardinal (NCAA), Pali Blues, Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC, Western Sydney Wanders, Sky Blue FC, Fiorentina, Orlando Pride, Houston Dash, Valerenga
Awards: Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (2015), NCAA Championship (2011)
Born to South African Jewish parents in Newport Coast, Calif., Ashton stayed in her home state for school and starred for the Stanford Cardinal.
She helped Stanford win its first-ever NCAA championship and scored the winning goal in the 2011 NCAA College Cup.
Ashton has played professionally in Australia, Sweden, Italy, and the United States. She is now is the General Manager of the NWSL’s Kansas City Current.
Years Active: 1995 to 2001
Teams: UCLA Bruins (NCAA), Washington Freedom
Awards: Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (2010)
The Los Angeles-born Lieberman stayed close to home for college by attending UCLA. She was a Second Team All-Pac-10 selection in 2005 and helped lead the Lady Bruins to their first two Pac-10 championships.
Lieberman started coaching after a brief professional career in the Women’s United Soccer Association with the Washington Freedom. After a few assistant coaching stints, she is now the head coach of the University of San Diego Toreros.
Years Active: 2013 to 2017
Teams: USC Trojans, Kapparbergs/Goteborg GC
Awards: Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (2018), NCAA Championship (2016)
Born and raised in Newport Coast, Calif., Levin played at the 2013 Maccabiah Games for the USA Soccer Team. She is also the younger sister of another member of this list, Camille (Levin) Ashton.
Savannah starred at USC from 2013 to 2016, helping lead the Trojans to the 2016 NCAA championship while earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team. She had a brief professional career in Sweden after graduation.
Years Active: 2007 to 2014
Teams: University of Pennsylvania, ASA Tel Aviv University SC
Awards: Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (2022)
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Friedman starred locally at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a two-time First Team All-Ivy member and an NSCAA Scholar All-America during her time at Penn.
Friedman was a three-time Israeli-league champion while with ASA Tel Aviv University SC, helping them qualify for the Champions League. In 2014, she was named the league’s MVP.
Parameters of rankings
Rankings were determined based on four factors -- the number of USWNT appearances/caps, the quality of the club/college the player represented, outstanding achievements at the club/college level, and other notable achievements each player accomplished.
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