Considered the Israeli defender of the future by national coach Avraham Grant, Ben-Haim has already appeared in eight international games. He is in direct competition with Shimon Gershon to partner Arik Benado in the heart of defense.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 31, 1982
Tal starred for the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth team in their successful 2000-01 campaign. They won a league and cup double with swagger and style.
In 2001-02 Ben-Haim was included in the Maccabi senior squad and made his debut against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Later in the season, Gadi Brumer suffered an injury and Ben-Haim was given his first chance. His competence and intelligence belied his youth and he captured the spot. Tal's excellence essentially forced Amir Shelah off the team. He helped Maccabi to the State Cup and made his international debut against Germany that same year. In the Israel League competition, he scored a goal and Maccabi finished third.
During the 2002-03 Israel League season, Tal formed an excellent partnership with veteran Gadi Brumer in defense as Maccabi Tel Aviv won their first title in seven years. The defender was one of a host of talented youngsters who led the team to success.
Ben-Haim was his usual solid self for Maccabi in 2003-04. He started 26 games and scored a goal while establishing himself as an Israeli international. Tel Aviv were unable to repeat their title, but finished second behind Maccabi Haifa.
The Israeli defender spent the summer of 2004 in England, trying out for English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers. His performances were top-notch and an impressed Sam Allardyce, Bolton's manager, signed Ben-Haim. Upon signing Tal said: "I hope to prove Mr. Allardyce and the fans right."
Tel Aviv, Israel
6'1", 165 pounds