Providence, RI- Brown University men's soccer senior midfielder Mike Manella recently represented the United States at the 12th Maccabi Pan-American Games hosted in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The competition began on December 26th, 2011 and concluded with the closing ceremonies on January 2nd, 2012. Along with 450 other Jewish athletes, Manella participated in this international tournament hosted every four years.
Manella competed in six games over nine days as he helped Team USA make their run to the medal rounds. Participating as a defender and a midfielder on both the left and right sides, Manella was able to gain valuable experience playing against international competition. While the team lost only one game in their group play matches to Argentina, they finished second in their group after defeating Canada, Israel, and Chile.
After advancing to the medal rounds, Team USA ousted the top-seeded Venezuelan team 4-1 in their semi-final match to face the host country Brazil in the final. The Americans and Brazilians fought to a 1-1 score line until a late second half strike from a Brazilian forward off the post and into the net proved to be the deciding goal. Manella and Team USA took home silver medals in Sao Paulo.
After the competition, Manella traveled to Rio de Janeiro to continue his work as a Brown University Royce Fellow for Sport and Society. Manella has been studying youth soccer development around the world, and Brazil was the first country he has visited for his project.