Player & Alumni Profiles 

Meet the players and the alumni in the AFI League who play for or played for the teams you love. 

The league continues to grow every year and today there are more than 2,000 active players. Each one has a story. Each one contributes to the sport’s popularity and growth in Israel.

Player profile: Dani Eastman 

Men’s tournament MVP Dani Eastman (left) with IFAF tournament director Martin Cockerill.

Daniel Eastman shared his journey from an American teenager passionate about football to a key player and coach in Israeli football. Here’s a look into his career, influences, and aspirations.

Daniel Eastman moved to Israel at the age of 13 and quickly became involved in the local football scene. “I heard about a small club league in Jerusalem,” Daniel recalls. “A kid in my neighborhood invited me to join. My first game was at Kraft Stadium when I was about 14. I was excited because football was something I thought I’d have to give up after moving to Israel.”

Daniel’s love for football only grew from there. He played in various flag leagues and, by the age of 16, was part of the national flag team, traveling to Germany for his first international competition. “I’ve been with the national team for over 13 years now, and it’s been an incredible journey,” he says.

While playing flag football, Daniel’s father, an avid supporter, was approached by Steve Leibowitz about starting a high school tackle league. “My dad asked if I wanted to play tackle football, and I jumped at the chance,” Daniel explains. “I played two years of high school tackle before joining the Men’s League in 2013.”

Daniel’s involvement in tackle football has been extensive. He has played in the Men’s League ever since and has been a vital part of its development.

Even before moving to Israel, Daniel was a football enthusiast. “I played every Sunday with my older brothers,” he reminisces. “We had intense games, and I even got thrown into a tree once. It was like a scene from a comic movie.” Despite not having played in any official leagues in the United States, Daniel’s passion for the game was evident from a young age.
Over the years, Daniel has accumulated many memorable moments. “The first time winning a championship was great, and winning our first international tackle game was incredibly special,” he shares. However, coaching has provided some of the most rewarding experiences. “Winning as a coach is different. You see the kids’ growth, their struggles, and their victories. Winning the gold medal in Italy with the U17 team and a championship in Modiin are moments I’ll never forget.”
Playing for the national team holds significant meaning for Daniel. “When I was younger, I didn’t fully grasp the gravity of representing Israel,” he admits. “Over time, I realized how important it is. You might be the only Jewish person someone ever meets, and that comes with a responsibility. It’s an honor to compete and represent the country, especially in today’s world.”
Daniel credits his father, whom he affectionately calls “Pops,” as his biggest influence. “He’s been my coach since I was little,” Daniel says. “My mom has also been a great coach to me.” Additionally, he acknowledges Jonathan Tekac, the current head coach of the Men’s National Team, as a significant mentor. “He’s an incredible leader and communicator.”
Daniel’s current goal is to help Israel compete in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. “It’s a dream I never thought possible,” he says. “Our immediate goal is to place in tournaments that will allow us to qualify. Representing Israel in the Olympics would be the pinnacle of my career.”

Daniel shared his excitement for the future and his gratitude for the support he’s received throughout his career. “Football has given me so much, and I’m excited about the possibilities ahead.”

Aryeh Bauman, an experienced player from Israel’s American football scene, shares reflections from years of playing football in Israel and its profound impact on his life.

Aryeh recalls starting out at a young age, around 16 or 17, joining the AFI league with Big Blue. Over the years, he became a fixture in the league, participating in numerous Holyland Bowls despite more losses than wins. Aryeh Bauman, primarily a defensive lineman and tight end, played for teams like Big Blue, Jump Pomerantz, and Pizzeria Efrat—the latter being his squad’s first and only championship win.

Moving to Israel in ’87, sports like softball, baseball, and football became his lifeline. They helped him settle into new surroundings, first in Jerusalem’s German Colony and later in Efrat. Football, in particular, provided a structured outlet for his energy and a community of like-minded individuals.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from football, he emphasizes the values of determination and discipline. He recounts a valuable lesson about “hurting people legally” within the game—a concept that taught him how to face opponents head-on while adhering to the rules. Meeting his idol, Lawrence Taylor, was a highlight, reinforcing the ethos of playing within the rules yet with fierce intensity.

Throughout his career, he played alongside esteemed teammates like Yona Michan and Ron Dermer, who later became involved in Israel’s emergency cabinet. The camaraderie and competitive spirit on the field left lasting impressions, shaping his outlook both in sports and beyond.

Now residing in Na’ale near Modiin, he balances his passion for football with a career in high tech. Since ’08, he’s been involved in helping startups expand into international markets, a role that challenges him in new ways.

Looking ahead, he encourages fellow alumni and newcomers alike to rediscover the joy of football. Whether dealing with health challenges or simply looking for a way to reconnect, he believes there’s always a place on the field. His message is clear: the sport isn’t just about winning or losing—it’s about the connections made and the memories forged. 

In the world of Israel’s American football, Aryeh Bauman’s journey stands as a testament to the enduring power of sports to unite communities and inspire personal growth. His commitment to the game continues to shape both his life and the lives of those around him.


Stay tuned for more player and alumni profiles.

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