Throughout the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Iran national team defender Steven Beitashour will share some of his experiences in Brazil with whitecapsfc.com as part of “Beita’s Brazil Blog.” In the first installment, Beitashour takes us through his first few weeks in Brazil.
Everyone knows Brazil is known for its soccer. And to be in Brazil for the World Cup is something special. I think it was the landing that really got me. Right before landing, just seeing the country was one of those memories I’ll never forget.
We arrived in Sao Paulo the first week of June. The flight was long. I’m used to it, going from the U.S. to Iran, but I know some of the other guys on the team were pretty shocked how long it was. It was probably 16 and a half hours. There was a lot of sleeping, guys playing cards, watching movies and that kind of stuff. I think most guys would rather be anywhere than inside a plane, but it’s always good to get some team bonding in.
Every time that I get called in to the national team, I just get closer to the guys. The more you hang out with someone, the more comfortable you become with them. It’s getting better every single time. I feel blessed to have such great teammates here.
I think it took us a while to adjust over the first few days in Brazil because of the travel. And the coach understands that it takes a toll on the body and on the mind, so those first two days were really tough.
As for the city itself, it’s nice. People always ask, how’s this place? Did you get to see that? But I tell them when I come to any different city or country, I see the hotel and I see the soccer field. I don’t see much of the city. We’re here to work, not for a vacation.
We wake up, go to breakfast, head out to the training facilities, and then we’ll have our first training session. After that, we’ll have lunch and get a couple hours to relax and do whatever at the training session. They have a lounge area where we can hang out together and play pool, ping pong, foosbal and that kind of stuff. Then our second training session starts at roughly 3:30 p.m. We don’t get back to the hotel until around 7 p.m.
We’ve really just been preparing for Nigeria. We’re not getting carried away with the hype or anything like that. Of course, with the games underway, we notice more traffic and it's a lot busier outside. Once you see all the fans and craziness it starts to hit you. But right now, we're just doing everything we can to prepare for Nigeria.
Beitashour and the Iranian national team are set to take on Nigeria in their first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Monday, June 16 at 1 p.m. PT.