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Former Sacramento Republic GK Josh Cohen leading Maccabi Haifa to 1st place

California native mounting title challenge in Israel.

Tottenham Hotspur v Maccabi Haifa: UEFA Europa League Play-Off Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Sacramento Republic FC are obviously in the middle of their offseason, so why don’t we take a moment to look at a former player’s exploits elsewhere?

Josh Cohen made a pretty big move to play for Maccabi Haifa from Sac Republic in the summer of 2019, of course, and the goalkeeper remains with the Israeli club, starting most of the time so far this season as The Greens have rocketed up to 1st place in the Israeli Premier League. At present, they have an 11-point cushion on Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2nd place.

In league play, Cohen has started 10 of 14 games so far this campaign, which runs into May. Seven of his 10 appearances have featured a clean sheet, so he’s doing his part to put Maccabi Haifa way up so far this season.

He’s also featured in four Toto Cup matches, a domestic cup competition, with another competition, the State Cup, set to kick off this month for Maccabi Haifa.

Cohen garnered headlines earlier this season with Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League qualifiers for the 2020-21 season. They reached the final playoff to get into the group stage, only to draw Tottenham Hotspur — one of the favorites to win the whole competition — in the one-game playoff. Spurs thrashed Maccabi Haifa 7-2, with Cohen in goal, and European competition was done for the year for the club.

Still, it’s remarkable for Cohen to have even reached that spot. He played college soccer at UC San Diego, which was Division II at the time and didn’t offer any athletic scholarships, and several good years in the USL gave him the springboard not to MLS but to a move to a European league. And there, the 28-year-old is a fixture in the lineup, playing the majority of the minutes so far this season for his club.

It appears Cohen’s contract ends at the end of the season, and it will be interesting if Maccabi Haifa re-sign him. He’s at a good age that he should remain at the top of his game for several more years, and his heritage means he does not qualify as a full foreign player in the league rules, so they don’t necessarily have to move on from him.

We’ll see what the rest of the season brings and if he can win the league title with Maccabi Haifa. We’ll keep an eye on Cohen’s progress from time to time.

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