PHOTOS BY BILL GEMMELL
Eli Tiomkin:Four seasons, 59 goals.
Alter helping the Oakland University soccer
team finish second in the NCAA Division ll
tournament, Israeli standouts Eli Tiomkin and
Davi d Ankori are pondering their next moves.
STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
makes a head-up play.
li Tiomkin and David Ankoii aren't
sure what the immediate future holds
for them. The 25-year-old Israelis are
certain of one thing, however: Their
decision four years ago to leave their
home country to play soccer and get
an education at Oakland University
turned out to be a good one.
"It was the best decision of my life,"
said Tiomkin, who is from Raanana.
"I got a chance to play soccer, earn a
degree, experience a new way of life
and make a lot of new friends.
"When I was in high school, my par-
ents emphasized to me that my edu-
cation came first ahead of soccer. Well,
as it turned out, I was able to get my college de-
gree thanks to soccer. And I did better in my class-
es during soccer season here because I really had
to budget my time."
"It's been a lovely four years for me here at Oak-
land," echoed Ankori. He is from Rehovot, which
is about 40 minutes from Tiomkin's hometown of
This fall, seniors Tiomkin and Ankori were
among the leaders on an Oakland team which ad-
vanced all the way to the championship game of
the NCAA Division II tournament.
The eighth-ranked Pioneers fell 3-0 in overtime
to sixth-ranked Tampa (Fla.) in the title match,
which was played in steamy 85-degree conditions
in front of a Division II championship-game
• record crowd of 4,336 at Tampa's home field.
By finishing 18-2-2, Oakland tied school
records for most victories (18) and fewest de-
feats (2) in a season.
The Pioneers were 63-14-8 over the past
four years, and they earned berths in the Di-
vision II tournament four times. They made
two appearances in the Final Four, losing 3-
1 to Tampa in the semifinals in 1992.
Tiomkin, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder who
played striker, ended his Oakland career
with 160 points on 59 goals and 42 assists.
He owns the school record for points, and he end-
ed up one goal shy of that school record. He was
the first Pioneer to lead the team in scoring for four
Ankori (6-1, 170) was a defensive-minded mid-
fielder who also saw action on the back line.
Tiomkin will graduate from Oakland in April.
A marketing major with a minor in international
business, Tiomkin boasts a 3.28 grade-point aver-
age. Ankori is an accounting major. The 3.0 stu-
dent plans to graduate next summer.
Both Israelis would like to continue their edu-
cation in graduate school at Oakland. Other pos-
sibilities for the future include playing indoor soccer
professionally in the United States and coaching
soccer. They have each played soccer competitive-
ly since they were 9, and they don't want to give
up the sport just yet.
"I already miss it," Ankori said.
Tiomkin and Ankori have roomed together at
Oakland since they were freshmen, continually
helping each other adjust to their new surround-
ings. They first met in Israel a few weeks before
they headed to Oakland, becoming friends before
they became roommates.
Eli Tiomkin was the first
Oakland player to lead the
team in scoring four
A third Israeli joined Tiomkin and Ankori on the
Oakland soccer squad this fall.
Freshman goalie Amir Tal (6-3, 180), a former
under-16 national team netminder from Tel Aviv,
ended up as one of the top goalies in Division II.
His 0.52 goals-against average during the regular
season was the third-lowest in the division.
Like Tiomkin and Ankori, Tal found the style of
soccer in the United States to be much more phys-
ical than in Israel.
"In Israel, if you're playing goalie and somebody
touches you when you're going for the ball, the ref
blows his whistle," Tal said. "Here, they won't call
anything unless you get clobbered." El