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Efraim Domb, known as ‘Coach Efi’ in girls soccer, dies at 64

Efraim Domb of Smithtown, a business owner who

Efraim Domb of Smithtown, a business owner who devoted much of his free time to coaching, training and refereeing girls soccer across Long Island, died after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 64. Credit: Domb family

Efraim Domb, a door installer who had played soccer in his native Israel and devoted much of his free time to coaching, training and refereeing girls soccer on Long Island, died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Smithtown. He was 64.

He was “Coach Efi” on the soccer fields he frequented across the Island and was especially well-known in the New Hyde Park area, where he volunteered for many years.

“Everybody that ever saw a soccer ball in these communities knew my husband,” said Claudia Domb, his wife of almost 41 years.

Domb died on June 28. He had been at home, under hospice care, as his condition worsened. He was surrounded by his children and other family at the time of his death.

He was born in Haifa, Israel. From age 18 until he was 24, Domb was in the Israeli Air Force. He joined the air force academy after high school and served in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 as a helicopter mechanic, his wife said.

It was in Israel that Domb developed his passion for soccer. He spent countless hours watching the sport, talking about it, practicing it and, eventually, playing for the Hapoel semiprofessional league.

Domb met his future wife when she was in Israel visiting from Queens, and they married when he completed his military service. The first of their three daughters was born in Israel. He was working for a locksmith company that offered him a chance to work in their New York City branch.

The young family moved to Little Neck, Queens, in 1979. By the early 1980s, Domb had gone into business, opening door installation companies. Known at one point as Doors and More, his business specialized in installing specialty doors for stores and institutions.

The Dombs moved to New Hyde Park in 1988. Through the next 18 years that they lived there, he became involved with the New Hyde Park Wildcats Soccer Club, first as his daughters played soccer and then as a volunteer, coach and trainer. In his later years, he focused on refereeing. The Dombs moved to Smithtown in 2005.

In a memorial note posted on the club’s website, the organization states how it felt about Domb: “If you knew Efi and didn’t like him, there must be something wrong with you . . . Efi taught you about the simplicity and beauty in life.”

“He was very passionate but also very patient,” said Margaret Peros, a Manhasset resident whose husband coached with Domb. “He was so wonderful with the kids for their self-esteem.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Yael, of Kauai, Hawaii, Ilana, of Great Neck, and Emily, of Smithtown; brothers, Chaim Domb and Chezi Domb, both of Israel; and three grandsons. His mother, Hana Alon, died in Haifa, Israel, some weeks after her son’s death.

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