Twenty-seven-year-old Roy Abergil did not begin playing organized soccer until he was 20.
Why such a long wait for the Beercheeva, Israel, native?
Upon graduating high school, he served a mandated three years in the Israeli Marine Corps. An experience the 27-year-old striker says changed his life.
“It was a crazy experience; it was just something else,” Abergil said. “It makes you a man out of a kid. I’ve been through some tough experiences during my time in the service. It gave me a new perspective on life and how to handle things,”
This perspective drove Abergil to the United States, where he said a change of scenery was truly needed.
“After the military, I was ready for a change,”he stated. “A coach reached out to me after watching a video of me casually playing soccer and invited me to a tryout at Colorado Mesa University. The rest is history,”
So at 20 years of age, Abergil transitioned from the life of an Israeli soldier that never played organized soccer, to making a collegiate soccer team.
But he wasn’t finished.
There was some skepticism when Abergil first arrived on the campus of CMU. Will he be able to play at a high level? How is his conditioning? Does he have the awareness and skills capable of cracking the starting XI?
Abergil quickly put all of that to rest.
In just three years, he scored 48 career goals, netting a school-record 23 goals his senior year. He even broke his own record for most goals in a season (14) that he set the year before.
Abergil’s exceptional play earned him first-team All-American honors as well as RMAC Player of the Year laurels.
Similar to the end of his military tenure, he was ready for the next step.
“I saw guys that scored 13 and 14 goals get an opportunity to go to the MLS.” He said. “I knew I would receive my chance to play at that level, especially seeing as I outscored nearly every college player in the nation,”
But that opportunity never came.
“I didn’t receive much interest at all,” Abergil said. “I believe I got one call from a USL Championship team, but nothing came from it. I was ready to walk away from the game altogether,”
Disappointed, to say the least, he was back at the drawing board.
“I contemplated going back to school. I was only one semester away from receiving my MBA, so I saw this as an opportunity to complete that,”
Finding himself at a crossroad, Abergil didn’t know which direction he was going in next.
Then, he received a phone call. . .
“It was my father. He said that a coach from the Israeli Premier League saw my college highlight tape and wanted to sign me,” Abergil stated. “My father ironed out the details, all I had to do was to accept the offer.”
Growing up in Israel, it is every child’s dream to play in the Israeli Premier League, which is the top of the mountain. Abergil happily accepted.
“I was super excited; I was so close to giving up on the game of soccer. However, I was not only granted another chance to chase my dream but at the highest level,” Abergil said.
He signed with Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC a few weeks after their training camp had begun. Due to his late arrival, Abergil was forced to work with a conditioning coach before he could take the practice field.
“I was practicing by myself at first. I wasn’t fit enough to compete; however, I didn’t get discouraged because I remembered where I was just weeks prior,”
After a few weeks with the fitness coach, Abergil was ready to compete. He joined the club in full stride and was in the process of cementing his place in the starting XI.
Then adversity struck again.
“Right before the first match, I partially tore my ACL and meniscus. The season was over for me, and I was released shortly after that.”
Abergil never had an agent negotiating on his behalf, just a devoted father determined to get his son an opportunity.
Once again, Roy Abergil was back at square one.
“I couldn’t even get a tryout after my injury. Mind you, I didn’t have an agent to do the dirty work for me, so I was stuck without another chance. I had several teams advise me to go down to the second or third division,”
He was skeptical about the move to a lower division. He had gone from the nation’s second-leading goal scorer to Israeli Premier player, to potentially finding his lone opportunity in the Israeli third division.
It took a toll on him.
But he never succumbed to the adversity. He faced it head-on.
“I ended up joining a second division team (Kiryat Gat) near the end of the season,” he said. “They helped me recover and I got to appear in the final six games,”
In the final six games, he tallied two goals and two assists in limited action. Simply put, Abergil knew his skillset hadn’t deteriorated.
With that particular chapter closed, Roy had a choice to make.
“I had the chance to go back to the Kiryat Gat, however, I was over soccer at that point. I was so close to quitting,”
Abergil had nearly made his mind up, he had fought the good fight and gave it all he had. He had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Then one afternoon, he received another unexpected phone call.
“I received a call from Jon (Pearlman) offering me a contract to come to play for a new professional team in Arizona,”
Some will say it is divine intervention, others will say Abergil’s series of events was pure luck.
Roy Abergil has his own perspective on his life story.
“I am not a person who believes in luck, I don’t believe in it at all. I’m a firm believer that if you work hard, you will get what you deserve. I had worked extremely hard up until that point in my life. I’ve always believed in taking a risk and sacrificing things for something better to come,”
Whether he scores 30 goals this season or three, there is one thing that is undeniable about Roy Abergil.
He is determined.
He won’t complain about his circumstances. Instead, he will find a solution.
Because that’s what he has done his entire life.