Israelis Named Tournament MVPs at IFAF World Championship of Flag Football

Donny Eastman, Yael Freedman garner honors even though national teams fail to take home medals.

Steve Leibowitz

The Israeli national flag football teams finished out of the medals in the seventh edition of the IFAF World Championship of Flag Football.

In a highly unexpected development, the other teams selected Israeli players as the tournaments Most Valuable Players in both the men’s and women’s competition. Both Donny Eastman and Yael Freedman dazzled the other teams with their receiving and running skills, and each went both ways on the gridiron much of the tournament as they stayed on as outstanding defensive players as well.

A record 33 teams from 21 countries took part in the competition, which was played in Grosseto, Italy after being taken out of Israel last month and postponed to this week, due month-long rocket attacks on Israel during the Gaza war. 

The Israeli men had the better result, reaching the quarterfinals after finishing the group stage with an impressive record of 6-2. Eventual tournament gold medalist Team USA knocked Israel out of medal contention. In the 5-8 placement games Israel knocked off defending world champion Austria before losing a close contest for fifth place against European champion Denmark and finishing the tournament with a record of 7-4. 

In the men’s tournament Team USA took the gold medal, the silver went to Mexico and the bronze to Italy. On the women’s side the gold medal was won by Canada, Team USA captured silver and bronze went to Austria.