Fuchs, Eli : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Fuchs, Eli

Fuchs was the first real Israeli soccer star. He was also, essentially, the first professional player during his country's infancy. The star player of Maccabi Tel Aviv's dominant teams in the late 1940s, early 1950s, Eli refused to work another job, as all his colleagues did and was known as a notorious lady's man, and a particularly lazy individual. Nevertheless, soccer fans of his generation insist that Fuchs was the greatest Israeli player of all time. Legendary coach Jerry Bet-Ha'levi wrote, "When the ball was at his feet, everyone else faded away. He was the greatest by far and his only sin was that no television camera was there to record his genius."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1924 - d. March 21, 1992

Career Highlights:
Discovered by Austrian sporting mastermind Egon Pollack, Fuchs found himself in Maccabi Tel Aviv's starting eleven at the age of 17 in 1941, helping the club to their third championship that year. After the World War II hiatus in Israeli soccer, Fuchs was the driving force behind Tel Aviv's 1946 Israel Cup victory. In 1947, they won the league and Cup "double," and that same year, Maccabi played MTK Budapest (probably the best team of its day) and managed a suprising 2-2 draw. Fuchs scored a goal and was asked to join Budapest but the Hungarians were denied his services by Maccabi.

In the 1949-50 season Maccabi Tel Aviv reached their peak, amassing 43 out of a possible 48 points, and scoring a record 103 goals in one season. Fuchs, who starred in an impressive victory over Partizan Belgrade in Yugoslavia that summer, then captained Maccabi to the 1950-51 and 1953-54 (another league and cup double) titles before his shockingly early retirement at the age of thirty (at the end of the 1954 season). Fuchs also captained the Israel national team in its first appearances as a sovereign state. Between 1948-1954, he appeared in nine international games for the Israel National team

After his playing days ended, Fuchs launched his coaching career. He took his first job in Maccabi Haifa in 1954 and built a solid side that did the bay city proud. He then moved over to city rivals Hapoel before taking on a coaching job in Cyprus and leading Omonia Nicosia to the Cypriot championship. Fuchs enjoyed his best coaching years in South Africa. After two championships with Port Elizabeth and one with Apollon, he returned to Cyprus with Olympiakos. There he took another championship and was soon appointed National Coach of Cyprus. Fuchs eventually returned home and coached a succession of local teams before finally retiring from the sport.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Career Dates:
Played: 1941-1954 Coached: 1954-1977

Defensive Midfielder in the Austrian mold. Played behind the playmakers in a "Central Runner" (Austrian terminology) capacity.

Physical description:

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