- Social Welfare
Birnbaum completed high school early from Northwood High School to attend Cal at the early age of 17. He is majoring in Social Welfare and currently has an overall GPA of 3.0 and garnered an honorable mention in Pac-10 All Academic status both as a sophomore and junior. Because ofBirnbaum’s strong work ethic, he “walked this summer” and will enjoy an early graduation in December 2012 with an optimistic outcome for invitations to MLS Combine opportunities and subsequently the MLS draft.
Birnbaum continues to be a leader on and off the field at Cal as he was elected Captain as a junior and again as a senior. His work ethic is demonstrated through continuous improvement and overcoming obstacles from an injury during a critical time in his quest for excellence as part of the U.S. Youth National Teams. With the Cal team, he organizes and runs meetings year around as well as practices throughout the summer. He is the ultimate team player and is humbly aggressive in his approach to soccer, building relationships and as a spokesperson for the sport of soccer and the NCAA.
Birnbaum and his family continue to support the Northwood area philanthropies and the Orange County community. He recently presented a moving eulogy as a representative of the “Kids in Irvine” for a prominent woman in the community. He is viewed by the community as a collegiate athlete that is well-regarded for his sense of family raised by a single mother, his compassion and dedication for the youth soccer programs as a coach/mentor and his overall common sense/maturity to do the right thing.
Birnbaum represented the USA in both the U18 and U20 National Teams throughout the States as well as in Mexico and Portugal. He most recently brought home a Silver Medal at the USA Maccabi Pan-American Games in Brazil in 2012. He claimed the 2011 Jewish Sports Review first-team All American status for the second straight season, and as a junior captain earned a spot on the 2011 All Pac-12 first team. Birnbaum was fortunate to be part of the first USA team as a finalist in the 2008 Milk Cup facing Manchester United and had the privilege of being part of the first USSF Development Academy named to the Starting XI. Birnbaum has a total of 9 points at Cal for his assists, particularly during set pieces. As a strong central defender he appreciated the defensive guidance provided by the Cal coaching staff and shared a vision with A.J. Soares during their run of winning the Pac 10 title and reaching the elite 8 in the NCAA tournament in 2010.