Last week, A.S. Ramat Hasharon held an open training session and a toast to the season ahead, giving fans a chance to meet the 2023-24 squad.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to say hello to everybody, the fans have come to meet the layers at our first practice. We have all the group together and all the staff,” the team’s professional manager, Eli Rabi, said to the players, staff and fabs. “I bless you for a happy new year and good success for the team.”
Rabi, the veteran coach who joined the team in an administrative role in 2020 and coached the team last season after Daniela Reuven departed midseason, shared how he’s seen the team grow over the years.
“I remember when I stared here three years ago, now we have eight or nine people. Every year we have more people around and the staff is much bigger. In the beginning, Stav [Rabi from the management team] and I were alone. Now we are a little bit more and I’m happy for that.
“I love this team, I love this community, I love what I do with you and I wish you all the best.”
New head coach Roie Levin, who was an assistant coach last season, also said a few words.
“I just want to use this amazing chance to say thank you to the management and everyone for the amazing chance to be the head coach of this amazing organization,” Levin said. “For the players, I just want to say that when we start to be the team, before basketball, we think about what kind of human beings you are. We will be the best team that we can be – not only basketball-wise, because this team is going to be together in so many airports, driving, flying, playing two times a week.
“There will be lots of ups and downs. When you have ups and downs, you want to have good people around you, people who will bring good vibes to the room and share their feelings, because we are one unit. I think we have built the team in the right way. The potential of the players sitting here is amazing and I’m so proud of the team we have built.”
Levin also used the opportunity to officially announce the team’s captain for the new season, small forward Ofir Kesten Raz. It has special meaning for her and the team, given that her mother, Orly Kesten Raz, captained the team in her playing days.
“I also want to use this amazing chance to present officially Ofri Kesten as our captain, “Levin said. “She is continuing from last season here. She has grown up in Ramat Hasharon, she is from here, she is from the city and for us it was very natural that she would be the captain.”
After the event, Yaara Yitzhaki, the veteran guard who spent the last three seasons with Maccabi Bnot Ashdod, spoke to The Sports Rabbi about the excitement for the upcoming season.
“First season here and it’s exciting,” Yitzhaki said. “I believe that we will have a successful season, we have an amazing team. We would love to see many supporters come to our games, in Europe but mainly in Israel.”
“All the EuroCup games,” Yitzhaki said of the games she’s looking forward to the most this season. “I want that we will get through to the next stage, I want for us to get far. No game is more important than any other for me – all games are important.”
In addition to Kesten Raz and Yitzhaki, the squad includes Danielle Kreinin, Dor Saar, Rotem Schuster, Ebony Simionovich, Leila Deluty, Kseniya Malashka (Belarus), Maya Caldwell (USA) and Natalie Kucowski (USA).
Ramat Hasharon’s will start their final preparations for the upcoming season in the preseason Athena Winner Cup competition against Elitzur Holon in Holon on Monday at 19:00. The local Athena Winner League season will get under way on October 16, with Ramat Hasharon hosting Maccabi Haifa. Ramat Hasharon will begin their EuroCup campaign a few days earlier on October 12, hosting Spain’s Lointek Gernika Bizkaia on October 12.