One of the most storied, and diverse, soccer teams in Israel is sending its youth side to the United States this week for a series of friendly matches.

Maccabi Haifa F.C.’s Under-19 team will take on its counterparts from the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and St. Benedict’s Prep/Cedar Stars, in addition to community engagements that will promote diversity, inclusion, peace-building and tolerance.

Maccabi Haifa is often held up as a symbol of Israeli inclusiveness with players representing a vast spectrum of society.

The New Jersey-Israel Commission is sponsoring the trip, in partnership with St. Benedict’s Preparatory School. The games are intended to highlight “sports diplomacy” in the next generation of global leaders, according to a press release.

Maccabi Haifa faces St. Benedict’s Cedar Stars on Tuesday afternoon at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, followed by a contest against the Union on June 10 at 4 p.m. at Chapel Avenue Park in Cherry Hill, N.J. The tour concludes on June 12 at 2 p.m. in Newark with a game against the Red Bulls. Admission to all three matches is free of charge.

This marks Maccabi Haifa’s first visit to New Jersey since 2013. The parent club won the Israeli Premier league championship in 2021, breaking a decade-long slump.

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