Former LA Galaxy striker Alecko Eskandarian sheds light on Armenian soccer and the Armenian community in Southern California
The LA Galaxy and their supporters will get a firsthand look at Southern California’s robust Armenian community this Saturday when LA takes on reigning Armenian champions FC Shirak in a preseason friendly.
The match will be LA’s first against an Armenian opponent and is reportedly selling very well in the city’s vast community. One person who is quite familiar with Los Angeles’ Armenian populations in areas like Glendale, Burbank and Hollywood is former Galaxy striker Alecko Eskandarian who played for the team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons and is now an assistant coach with the NASL’s New York Cosmos.
“The great thing about Los Angeles is that somehow all of these Armenians migrated to the same part of town which is great for the spirit of community. I know that the parks in Glendale are always full of people playing soccer. It took the community a little while to follow soccer in the states, but they’ve really taken to MLS.
“The one thing that I can say about the Armenian people is that they are very supportive of their own,” Eskandrian added. “In my own experiences, I didn’t go to a single stadium in my career where at some point that an Armenian person that didn’t offer their support.”
In fact, Eskandarian readily admits that one of the reasons that he sought to return to Los Angeles area ahead of the 2008 MLS season after spending the previous year with Real Salt Lake was to have a chance to play in front of the area’s substantial Armenian community.
“It was one of the main draws in my decision to head to Southern California to play with Chivas USA and the Galaxy. There’s a huge Armenian community in Southern California and I have a lot of family in the area in places like Glendale. I’ve always strongly identified with my culture so it was very gratifying to play in Los Angeles in front of Armenian people,” said Eskandarian who attended an Armenian school until the eighth grade.
Eskandarian is only one of three notable Armenians to have played in United States including his father Andranik Eskandarian who starred with the Cosmos in the seventies, Galaxy original Harut Karapetyan and former RSL attacker and Pasadena City College attendee Yura Movsisyan. During Eskandarian’s career, the Armenian National Team was an afterthought internationally but nearly reached the final round of UEFA World Cup qualifying due to players like Movsisyan, now a star with Spartak Moscow and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Tickets are for the match against FC Shirak are $12 for Galaxy season ticket holders and $17 for the general public. For more information, go to www.lagalaxy.com or call (877) 342-5299.
Time Warner Cable Deportes will present the LA Galaxy vs. FC Shirak preseason match up. Live coverage will begin at 5:30p.m with a half-hour Galaxy En Vivo pregame show followed by a complete postgame analysis on Vamos Galaxy at the end of the match.
Time Warner Cable Deportes’ Samuel Jacobo will provide play-by-play commentary with Martin “El Pulpo” Zúñiga as lead analyst. In-studio coverage will be led by the network’s special correspondent, Enrique Aníbal Gutiérrez accompanied by guest commentators, Christian Bozzo, Steve Sampson and Francisco X. Rivera.