Ber­man pitches up in hall of fame

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY ANDREW PENTOL

HAV­ING rev­o­lu­tionised Bri­tish soft­ball as a player and coach, Mac­cabiah stal­wart Mark Ber­man will re­ceive the ul­ti­mate ac­co­lade when he is in­ducted into the in­au­gu­ral Bri­tish Soft­ball Fed­er­a­tion (BSF) Hall of Fame at next month’s an­nual meet­ing.

Born in Ohio, but now liv­ing in Gold­ers Green, the fa­ther-of-two told JC Sport: “It will be a huge hon­our when I’m fi­nally in­ducted and I will be ded­i­cat­ing it to all those I have played with, against, coached or man­aged.”

Head of a Lon­don-based global ad­vi­sory com­pany, Ber­man, 54, was ea­ger to de­velop the sport in Bri­tain hav­ing played and coached in the US.


“I was al­ways a firm be­liever that Bri­tish teams could suc­ceed with the right sup­port,” re­flected the man who led the first Bri­tish soft­ball team at the 1997 Mac­cabiah Games.

“Af­ter re­turn­ing from Is­rael I ap­proached the fed­er­a­tion who gave me the man­date. We didn’t win a lot at first, but grad­u­ally built a net­work of play­ers and by 2001 were beat­ing the best teams in Europe.

“We con­tin­ued to progress over the next few years, ris­ing to third in Europe and also qual­i­fied for the 2004 World Cham­pi­onships where we achieved an of­fi­cial world rank­ing of nine.”

Af­ter a 10-year as­so­ci­a­tion with the BSF, Ber­man an­nounced his re­tire­ment at the end of the 2005 sea­son, but was soon back in the game as tech­ni­cal ad­viser to the Is­raeli women’s na­tional soft­ball team who are hop­ing to qual­ify for next year’s Bei­jing Olympics.

“An ac­quain­tance who set-up the Is­raeli fe­male team was im­pressed with my work for the Bri­tish squad and wanted me to do the same with Is­rael’s women,” he re­ported.

Cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing the Lon­don-based Bar­bar­ians, Ber­man, who has been in­volved in the sport for 35 years. “It has a good profile around Europe, but does not get the sup­port and fund­ing it de­serves in Bri­tain,” he main­tained.

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