May 2, 1968 —
Jeff Agoos is not a handsome man. A perennial top pick on UglyFootballers.com (that's UglySoccerPlayers for us Americans), he could pass for a modern-day mulleted Golem. But Jeff Agoos is a Jew, a Jew who played in Maccabiah Games long before he graced the field at the World Cup.
Of course, "graced" is probably not the best word to use with Agoos, for he was anything but graceful. In fact, he could be the personification of the Jewish athlete stereotype: not fast (in fact, terribly slow), not tall (a mere 5'10", very short for a central defender, but then again taller than most "regular" Jews), not very skillful. But for all those negatives, he was smart (what he was lacking in skill he made up in his ability to dissect the game), he was a leader (captaining both his club and sometimes the national team), and he was a winner (taking home more domestic championships than any other American player).
So, yeah, Jeff's living the stereotype. Minus the mullet and you could almost bring him home to mamaleh — "He's such a mensch, but that punim? Feh."
September 4, 2006