The below is a question and answer between New York Jewish Life and Kobi Moyal. It has been edited for space and clarity.
NYJL: When did you first know you wanted to be a professional footballer?
KM: Ever since I was five or six years old I knew that I wanted to play football, and I was going to make it my profession.
NYJL: Where is your family from in Israel?
KM: We are from a small city five minutes from Jerusalem.
NYJL: Do you have family or close friends based in New York? And is there any place in New York where you are looking to visit or spend time?
KM: No family, but I have a lot of friends in Manhattan and New Jersey, most of whom are Jewish. One of the first things I did when I got here was visit the grave of Rabbi Melovavich, who is a very important character in the Jewish community. It was very important for me to go there.
NYJL: The New York Cosmos have a tremendous history, boasting world-class players from Pele to Beckenbauer, and more recently Raul. Do you have a personal favorite among Cosmos alumni?
KM: The Cosmos have had amazing players over the last 45 years. Pele and Beckenbauer are incredible, but I would have related more to the Cosmos’ last Israeli player, Motaleh Spiegler, who was a team member in 1975.
NYJL: As a defensive midfielder, do you have a player you have styled yourself after? (We’re thinking of players like Daniele De Rossi, Xabi Alonso, Schweinsteiger or even from your youth.)
KM: I have been compared to Gennaro Gattuso. I really liked him when he played from Milan and watched him there. A more current player I like would have to Xabi Alonso, one of the best midfielders in the world. And of course, Claude Makélélé—he is also known as one of the best midfielders in the world, but he is of a different style and quality than the others. He changed the position.
NYJL: You have some caps with the Israel national team. Do you think Israel has a chance at international glory in the near future?
KM: In Israel the goal is always to keep developing and moving forward at the National Level. I really hope that we can do a good campaign and make it to the UEFA European Championship.
NYJL: On a lighter note, do you have a message for our readers about why they should support the growth of soccer in the United States, and more specifically support the Cosmos?
KM: In Europe and Israel, soccer has been the most popular sport for many years and generations. With that being said, I am aware that the growth of the sport in recent years has been tremendous. In the past, the focus has been on American football, basketball and baseball, but it really feels like in the last few years, soccer is becoming a big part of American culture. I hope that people will continue to take an interest in soccer—that the fan base will keep growing, especially for the Cosmos.
Cosmos’ next home game will be Tuesday, July 4, 7:30 p.m. against Indy Eleven, last season’s NASL Championship game opponent. July 4th will be American Heritage Night with free hot dogs and beer with purchase of $22 end-line seats. July 4th is also Shark Night presented by Discovery Channel Shark Week, with game day entertainment and giveaways. There will be a Fireworks Show following the July 4th game, whereby fans will be invited to watch the display of fireworks from the field. Tickets available at www.nycosmos.com.