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Avi Cohen, 54, soccer player

AVI COHEN AVI COHEN
Associated Press / December 30, 2010

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JERUSALEM — Avi Cohen, a former Liverpool defender who became the first Israeli to play in England’s top soccer league, has died. He was 54.

Mr. Cohen died yesterday of injuries incurred in a motor- cycle accident last week. Extensive brain surgery did not succeed in saving his life.

Mr. Cohen was among the first Israeli players to sign for a major European team when he joined Liverpool in 1979. He made 24 appearances and scored one goal for the club before returning to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

He also played for the Scottish club Rangers in 1987-88 and was a longtime captain of the Israeli national team.

His son Tamir currently plays for Bolton in the English Premier League. Mr. Cohen leaves his wife and three children.