VANCOUVER, BC – Players like Steven Beitashour don’t become available too often.
A 26-year-old all-star right back with four years of Major League Soccer experience, Beitashour is the type of player every team would love to have. He even received a few offers from clubs in Europe.
For these reasons and more – such as the fact that he fits a positional need following the retirement of Young-Pyo Lee – the acquisition of Beitashour was a no-brainer for Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson.
“I think he’s arguably the best right back in the league,” Robinson told whitecapsfc.com. “When you get an opportunity to add a player like that, you don’t turn it down.”
Robinson referred to Beitashour as the prototypical modern-day fullback – an astute defender with a willingness to move up and down the wing and join the attack. A quick glance at Beitashour’s stats back up that appraisal.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound fullback has collected 16 assists over the last three seasons, which is more than any other MLS defender during the same time period. His 16 helpers also rank sixth among active MLS defenders.
“He’s a hard-worker who likes to close down and make the job uncomfortable for the left-sided player, but one of his main strengths is his attacking threat,” Robinson said. “He gets forward at every opportunity and his deliveries into the box are fantastic. Because of that, he fits perfectly into the way I want to play.”
A native of San Jose, California, Beitashour has spent his entire career thus far with the hometown Earthquakes, who selected him in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Even prior to that, he was plying his craft close to home at San Diego State University.
From Beitashour’s perspective, the expiry of his contract at the end of last season presented an opportunity to embark on a new challenge. He received a few offers from clubs in Europe, but ultimately decided that Vancouver was the better fit.
“It ended up working out for the best,” Beitashour told whitecapsfc.com. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m excited to be a part of the Whitecaps now and I’m looking forward to the future.”
It’s very possible that Beitashour’s immediate future could include an appearance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the Iranian men’s national team. Though he was born in the U.S., both of Beitashour’s parents are from Iran and he holds dual American-Iranian citizenship.
Last year, the 26-year-old ultimately decided to represent Iran, with whom he has made three appearances, and his ambitions to play in this summer’s World Cup played a major part in the decision.
“Any time you have the opportunity to play at the international level, it’s a true honour,” said Beitashour, who played 90 minutes in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game alongside Jay DeMerit. “Right now, the first thing I need to do is focus on my club team with the Vancouver Whitecaps. If I play well, good things will come.”
Beitashour, who participates in a number of Persian traditions, said he only learned of Vancouver’s large Persian community from friends and family members within the last few days. Though he doesn’t have any prior connections to the city, Beitashour said he’s looking forward to being a part of it.
“I just found out that Vancouver has a big Persian community … I’m excited now even more that that’s the case,” he said. “I hear great things about Vancouver, about the city, about the team. Hopefully I do well and then potentially be there for the long haul.”
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.