Bryan Gerzicich of Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona
Photo courtesy of Maccabi Haifa

American Exports: Gerzicich revels in historic Israeli title

AMSTERDAM — Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona midfielder Bryan Gerzicich reports both he and his club's city have been living the dream since the final whistle sounded in Monday's Ligat Ha'Al title-clinching draw with lead chasers Hapoel Tel Aviv.

The hosts were on the right side of a late penalty decision in their box, allowing them to hold a 16-point edge at the top with but five games to play.

"It was great," Gerzicich told by phone from Israel on Tuesday. "We were so happy because we played the whole season to take the championship and yesterday we finished with this."

Although they didn't seal the deal with a victory, Hapoel's league-best 20th shutout of the season seemed a proper way to send the town into celebration. Previously more well known for sad news, Kiryat Shmona now boasts the Israeli champs for the first time.

"Everyone was very happy," said Gerzicich. "We didn't win, but for us a 0-0 draw was good enough."

As for the Champions League qualifying invite that comes with their championship silver, the Los Angeles-born midfielder admitted he was still stuck in Monday night's glory daze.

"I haven't even had time to think about that yet," he confessed.

Gerzicich is the second American to win it all in Israel, following Leo Krupnick's title victory with Maccabi Haifa in 2009.

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