Name: Sebastian ‘Ita’ Israel Rodriguez
Originally From: Montevideo, Uruguay
Position: Central Midfielder
Squad number: 8
Team He Supports: Club Nacional de Football
Football Idol: Enzo Francescoli
Did You Know: Ita’s father, Gustavo Israel, and uncle, Ruben Israel, are professional football coaches back in South America, having both played professionally as players themselves in their native Uruguay.
‘’Throughout my entire life, I received a Jewish education in many areas, whether at home celebrating the festivals with my entire family, completing my primary and secondary studies in a Jewish school or participating in a youth movement called Maccabi Tzair.
‘’At the age of 18, I was given the opportunity, along with my whole group of friends, to come to Israel for a year to get to know the country and live in different cities around Israel. It was during that year (2014) that I fell in love with this place, and ever since, my desire was to make Aliyah, which I eventually did in mid-2016.
‘’Today, 4 years since making Aliyah, I can definitely say that my expectations have already been exceeded. In two semesters time, I will be finishing my university degree in Communication and Marketing at the IDC University in Herzliya and for 8 months now, I have been working at Israel Experience as a leader of tourist groups arriving from all parts of South America.
‘’One of the things that worried me the most before coming to Israel was where I would find the right place for my greatest passion, football. Back in Uruguay, I played together with my friends for a Jewish team in Montevideo called CISU and I was concerned I would not be able to replicate that. After six months of living in Israel, I began to follow Inter Aliyah closely on social media and in August 2017, I tried out for the team and the coaches at the time Jerry (Jerome Katz) and Schumi (David Schumann) selected me to play in the first team.
‘’Since joining Inter Aliyah I can say that my life in Israel changed in a very positive way. Beyond the competition and the sports framework, at Inter Aliyah I found a family. People from all over the world with different backgrounds gather together in the same team and compete in the fifth division of the Israeli Football Federation. Each player has their own unique way of seeing football, based on their home countries and cultures, but sharing the same passion.
‘’My first season was amazing and my teammates voted me as the Player of the Season. My second season was more difficult due to some injury issues and I was forced to sit out half of the season. The team has improved a lot from year to year, and today we have a very strong squad, with some former professional players from different parts of the world and a coach with first division experience. This season, we are very confident of going up to the fourth division of Israeli football, which would be a fantastic achievement.
‘’I recommend all Olim to become part of Inter Aliyah, as a player or just as a fan, as it is an institution that brings so much to those coming to Israel and helps to build a strong community, which for me has become a family.