- Gonnie Ben-Tal
Raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Gonnie serves as one of Duluth FC’s center backs. Gonnie’s been putting in shifts on the backline since the age of 10, put there by a youth coach due to his height. Now, at 22 years of age, he’s always seeking clean sheets for Duluth FC to prove his abilities as a defender.
Football has been a part of Gonnie’s life for just about as long as he can remember. He credits his dad for always giving him ways to experience the game and being able to kick the ball around. He also sites Spanish Defender and beloved Barça one-club- man Carles Puyol as one of his idols growing up.
Ben-Tal has supported Maccabi Haifa, famous for being the first Israeli club to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage, for his whole life. A Champions League match against Bayern Munich in 2009 stands out to Gonnie as one of the first big matches he was able to watch in person. He also supports Chelsea in the English Premier League.
I was born in New York City, NY to a couple of Israeli parents. I moved back with them to Israel when I was two years old and I was raised in Israel. When I was 20 years old, I moved back to the U.S. to play college soccer. I’m going to start my senior year at Baker University, in Kansas. I played for FC Tucson from the PDL-USL during my first summer in the U.S. and I played for Duluth FC during my other two summers. I’m a center-back, love soccer, and love defending. I also have some experience in coaching as I was involved in coaching here in Hermantown, Minnesota during this summer, and as I was involved in coaching back in Israel during my last year before I came to college in the U.S. I’m excited about this defending camp; I hope we’ll be able to help the kids that attend this camp on their soccer journeys and more importantly, I hope we’ll have fun together!