Name: Mati Yelen
Team: Inter Aliyah A
Originally from: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Favourite Team: River Plate
Football Idols: Javier Mascherano
Interesting Fact: You will never see Mati in his match shirt when warming up for a game. A superstition that he'll never give up on, Mati has to warm up in a different shirt to the one he'll wear for kick-off!
''I started playing 5-a-side soccer when I was 7 years old, representing Maccabi Buenos Aires. At that time we played indoors on a hard court, it was only years later that we started playing on grass courts. I played in that team for 20 years in a row, all the way until 2 years ago, when I made Aliyah and moved to Israel.
''Years ago, in one of my visits to Israel, I told myself that I would like to live here for a few months, just to see how it feels and how the experience is. I always liked the country and felt a special connection with Israel.
Mati supporting his friends before an Inter Blue match
''During COVID, I realised that it was the perfect time to jump on my curiosity and try it. Here we are, almost two years later, and I am still here!!
''After making Aliyah, I first worked for 5 months in a early staged start-up and for the last year I've been working at Cyrebro, a cybersecurity company, together with Inter Blue's captain and my good friend, Nico Grinberg.
Mati enjoying some mate on the bench!!
''One of the things I didn't want to lose by moving to a new country was having soccer as part of my weekly routine; training, matches, etc. When I came to Israel, many Argentinean friends were already playing in Inter Aliyah and it made sense to join them in this special club.
''I started in Inter Blue, where most of the Argentinian gang play, but have since moved up to the Liga Gimmel team where I will play this season.
Mati (back row, fifth from the right) prior to a Liga Gimmel game
''We are many teams, with people from many countries, and that makes it so special. It's not just about going to play, it's meeting new people every day, learning new stories and enjoying the sport.
''For most of us who played or are playing with one of the teams, Inter Aliyah is a big family, that's simply how we feel it.