DANNY VALENCIA, BASEBALL, ISRAEL
"Valencia was born in Miami to American-Jewish mother Mindy and Cuban immigrant father Mike, who converted to Judaism. He spent most of his childhood in Boca Raton, attended Spanish River High, played one season at UNC-Greensboro and transferred to UM. He played for seven major-league teams between 2010-18, most recently the Baltimore Orioles.
He had been approached since 2012 about playing for the Israeli team, but his MLB schedule didn’t allow it. In 2019, still in good shape and looking for a challenge, he accepted the invitation and began the process.
To compete internationally for Israel, athletes must be Israeli citizens. Israel’s Law of Return, passed in 1950 to make the country a refuge for any practicing Jew, offers an expedited path toward dual citizenship."
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