Former UC San Diego soccer standout Josh Cohen is making his mark on the international scene, helping to lead his club to an Israeli Premier League title.
Maccabi Haifa FC logged a 3-2 win over Hapoel Be’er Sheva FC on Sunday on the final day of the season.
Cohen, a goalkeeper, helped Haifa to a 24-5-7 record this season, posting 16 shutouts. He successfully stopped four of five penalty kicks during the season.
His individual play stood out as well as Cohen was voted Player of the Season.
Cohen’s team won the IPL championship for the first time since 2011, and has won the IPL title 13 times in club history.
They advance to the UEFA Champions’ League qualifying round next month.
Cohen, 28, graduated from UCSD in 2014. In 2013, the Sunnyvale native made the soccer coaches’ All-America First Team and became the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Most Valuable Defensive Player for the second year in a row.
Cohen played for the United Soccer League in the U.S. with Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC and Sacramento Republic FC.
Three years ago, he earned the USL Championship All-League Second Team honors and became a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year.
He joined Haifa after Sacramento sold his contract during the 2019 season.
Cohen joined Tritoncast, a UCSD podcast last year, and compared the U.S. game to his current league.
The biggest difference, he said, is the mental side. “It’s more demanding here,” he explained. “and (there’s) a mentality of you have to be sharp always.”