Milwaukee’s Rachel Dallet took a star turn as a soccer player at the 21st Maccabiah games in Israel this summer.
The mid-fielder scored a goal in the 89th minute to give the U.S. team a 2-1 victory over Israel’s national women’s team.
Dallet, 20, and her mostly east coast teammates took home the gold medal in the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition.
“It was awesome to represent the United States at the event,” said Dallet, a junior who plays Division 1 soccer for University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It was so cool that everyone is Jewish; there’s like thousands of them.”
The Maccabiah is a celebration of Jewish unity, culture and heritage through world athletic competition. The competition began in 1932 and is run by the World Maccabi Union.
Every four years, about 10,000 athletes, mostly Jewish, descend upon Israel for the games. The athletes come from roughly 80 countries, qualifying through try-outs a year earlier.
Dallet’s family and her aunt’s family came during two weeks in July to cheer her on. “It was wonderful,” said her mother, Becky Dallet of Whitefish Bay. “We got to watch her amazing winning goal.”
And that wasn’t her only big win. In its first victory of the Maccabiah, USA defeated Brazil 3-0 at Bayit VeGan field in Jerusalem. Rachel netted goals in the seventh and 46th minutes.
The Maccabiah experience was unforgettable, her mother said. “It was a chance for everyone to come together with a purpose in mind of enjoying sports. We were all Jewish and we were all connected, and it was amazing.”
This wasn’t Dallet’s first time competing at a Jewish olympics. Dallet was selected to play in the 2019 Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico City.
“That was a great experience, but the games in Israel are, like, ten times bigger, more teams, more fun,” said Rachel, whose final game was televised throughout Israel. “I was looking forward to this trip for so long and it was an incredible experience.”
Dallet started playing soccer at age four and competed through high school. She likes the people she has met and the competitiveness of the game. Her role models are Abby Wombach, Lionel Messi and Maghan Rapinoee.
She is a biomechanical engineering major at UW-Madison and says that soccer “is kind of like a stress reliever.”
UW-Madison Women’s D1 Coach Paula Wilkins writes of Dallet: “We think Rachel is one of the best players in the state. She’s very effective as she finds ways to score. She finds ways to create opportunities for other people. We’re excited to bring Rachel in as she has a high work rate, an ability to take players one-on-one and is a very dynamic player, especially in the offensive end.”