My husband loves soccer.
Back in high school, he made varsity as a Freshman. He is very proud that he scored the first goal that his school has ever scored in the playoffs. His team was a bunch of small Jewish boys playing against lots of other macho schools so you can imagine that it would get to his head. When he went to Yeshivah after high school, he was over the moon that there were tons of guys from England and Australia who shared a passion for soccer like he did and got to play every day (when they should have been learning, might I point out). When I met my husband at NYU, it didn’t take long for me to see how crazy about soccer he was, though he didn’t really get a chance to play throughout college. At one point he joined the intramural soccer league at NYU (they even made it to the championships!), but somehow it never worked out for me to see him play. Fast forward to present day—ever since we made Aliya he has been dying to play, after all, were in a land where soccer is the game of choice, not basketball or football. Yet for some reason, he had not made it to a field or even seen a soccer ball.
When it came time to decide what to do for his birthday, I decided to branch out from our usual romantic evening together and plan him a soccer game with his friends! Easier said than done. It was getting cold outside and since the game was going to be at night I really wanted to find an indoor place for them to play. Now, I love Israel and my choice to move here, but boy does her bureaucracy give you a run for your money. After hours of phone calls and still no luck, I turned to a friend to help me out. We drove around one night looking for big stadium lights, indicating that there was a field— we were back to even wanting an outdoor field, just something that we could reserve— and went about asking the people playing how they reserved it and who they talked to. At one of these fields, we noticed an indoor gym with a pickup game going on. We walked in and went over to a player on the side and asked how we could go about reserving the place. He asked me what I was trying to do and I explained how my husbands loved to play and I am trying to arrange a soccer game for him. He looks at me, hands me his business card and says, call me in the morning, well figure it out. He was the deputy mayor of Modiin. So that was that.
At the same time as all of this, I was planning the after-party and that’s my jam. I was obsessing over color schemes, decorations and of course the menu. I decided to go with a meat-heavy menu because it was a guys party and the hubby loves the meat. They were also going to be very exhausted and starving after the game so I didn’t want just some light snacks or desserts. I am Joodie the Foodie after all and have a reputation to protect. I came up with a bunch of appetizer items and decided that would be the perfect combination between filling and party food.
COCKTAIL FRANKS IN PRETZEL BUNS
CRANBERRY CHICKEN SKEWERS
HASSELBACK PASSION FRUIT SALAMI
There was also garlic bread but it didn’t get its chance in the limelight. I decided there needed to be some healthy and lighter foods so I included:
RICE WRAPPED VEGGIES
Dessert was simple, just some B&W popcorn and green fruit salad, see what I did there?
Once the menu was planned out, it was decoration time. I was very nervous about making a soccer themed party look childish rather than mature, so I carefully thought out how I could decorate. I decided that a color scheme with a few actual soccer items was the way to go so I obviously went with white & black with hints of greens. I set out to my local dollar store, though here its shekel store, and I was pleasantly surprised at all the goodies I found and got lots of ideas just from walking around. I went home with my haul and basically went into party planning mode for two days straight until the party happened. The night of the party I picked the hubby up from the train station and took him to the gym we had reserved. I brought him his gym bag and told him to go change and he walked out to all his friends waiting with a soccer ball, ready to play. It was perfect.