Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Fast Forward

Colombia Soccer Coach Jose Pekerman Quits

(JTA) — Jose Pekerman has stepped down as the coach of the Colombia national soccer team after leading the South American country back to international prominence, including two World Cup appearances, during his nearly seven-year run.

Pekerman, 69, an Argentine who was the only Jewish coach or player  participating in the 2018 World Cup, decided not to renew his contract after it expired Aug. 31.

The veteran coach led Colombia to the knockout stages of the past two World Cups after a 16-year absence from the tournament. In June 2016, he guided Colombia to third place in the prestigious Copa America competition, which was held in the United States.

“I’ll always check on how Colombia is getting on, not just in football but also as a country, as a people,” Pekerman said Tuesday at a news conference. “I’ll always be part of this country and I hope the success continues.”

Last year also marked his record ninth World Cup as a coach.

Colombian Football Federation President Ramon Jesurun praised Pekerman’s performance, and star player James Rodriguez tweeted “You will always be my best teacher.”

Sólo puedo agradecer por todo lo que diste a Colombia, nos devolviste la FE y la ilusión de ser los mejores. Me has hecho creer que soy mejor de lo que pensaba. Con tus consejos crecí a todo nivel. Te deseo lo mejor para lo que viene José. Serás siempre mi mejor maestro.

— James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) September 4, 2018

Pekerman was born in Villa Dominguez, Argentina — otherwise known as Moises Ville — a small town in the Santa Fe province settled by Eastern European and Russian Jews in the late 19th century. He has lived much of his life in the Jewish neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Villa Crespo. His grandparents were Ukrainian immigrants.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.