For three years, Joe Uddeme played soccer for the Baltimore Maccabi team, traveling to Detroit and Wayne, N.J., as well as participating in the 1992 Baltimore games. Today, this father of two is bringing his expertise and a love of the game – he also played for Pikesville Middle and Pikesville High Schools and intramural at Towson University – to the next generation. This year, Uddeme will be coach of the Baltimore Jr. Maccabi soccer team. The 2018 games, for athletes, ages 11 and 12, will be held in Baltimore on May 6 at the JCC, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

What do you remember about your Maccabi days?

I remember meeting so many new people and traveling to new places. For years, I kept in touch with the family that I stayed with from Wayne, N.J. I also played in the first Maccabi games ever held in Baltimore. I still remember the pride I had for our city. We were the ambassadors and had the opportunity to show off our town.

I see you coached Maccabi soccer teams for the Mini Maccabi games (ages 9 and 10) and this year you are coaching the junior team.

Yes. I love giving back and teaching soccer skills. This year we plan on having two soccer teams, an A and B team. We already have a lot of kids and are looking to add some more.

Three words to describe your coaching philosophy.

Help The Kids. Seriously, I want each player to establish one skill that makes them better. It could be a soccer skill or it doesn’t have to have anything to do with soccer. It might be as simple as learning how to be on time or the importance of helping others.

Your son will be on your team. What’s it like coaching him?

Awesome. There is nothing better in the world. I have so much fun watching him gain soccer skills and interact with his friends.

I understand you had a Big Brother.

I lost my father when I was 8. I was then raised by a single mom who worked two jobs and did everything to provide for us. I was the baby of four and she reached out to [Jewish Community Services] Big Brother Big Sister for a Big. Since then, my Big Brother has been a part of my life.

Tell me about him.

He’s basically set the stage for how committed I am to the Jewish community and how important it is to give back. Having a Big Brother was so good for me. I don’t know where I would be without him.

What’s your goal for Maccabi?

When I was on Maccabi, I discovered what’s important in life and developed a deeper connection to the history of the Jewish people. It grounded me growing up and helped shape who I am as an individual – someone with strong Jewish values.

More than 700 Jewish athletes from 15 JCCs across the Mid-Atlantic will be competing. To learn more, go to jcc.org/teens/jcc-maccabi-experience/jr-maccabi.