Throughout the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Iran national team defender Steven Beitashour has been sharing some of his experiences in Brazil with whitecapsfc.com as part of “Beita’s Brazil Blog.” Read his first and second entries.
Today, Beitashour answers some fan-submitted questions.
How do you stay focused and motivated even though you didn’t play the first two games?
Anything can change at any given time. I’m a competitive person, so I’m working hard every day trying to still convince the coach to give me a chance. We still have another game and hopefully we win and get to the next round, then we’ll have at least another game after that. But for now, I’m just working hard every day at practice and doing whatever I can to help the team.
You hear the saying, “Practice how you play.” If you take down the level, I think it will show in the game. We have to make sure we give it 100 per cent every day in training, so when we go into the game it’s not a shock. We definitely want to push each other and make each other better. That’s how I can help the team right now. From the Austria camp to here in Brazil, we’ve been really working hard and I think a lot of people took notice of that in the game against Argentina. I don’t think we were as surprised as others, but I think we got a lot of respect from people that said, “We’re proud of you guys and you showed the world who you are.”
Have you received a lot of messages from people back home?
I’ve definitely gotten a lot of support over social media. It’s one of those things where I kind of feel like I’m letting people down because so many people expect me to play. And I expect to play as well. As much as I’m letting myself down by not playing, it’s tough to see them sad as well. But I’m truly appreciative and grateful for all the messages of support. It means a lot.
Do you have a roommate in Brazil? Which teammate have you become closest with?
We have our own rooms here in Brazil but Daniel Davari was my roommate in Austria. We were together for three weeks there and we’re next-door neighbours right now so we’ve become really close. He doesn’t speak Farsi so I translate everything for him in English. And of course, we speak English to each other. He loves the NBA, so we always talk about basketball and we watched the finals together. He’s been to America before and he loves it, so we’re talking about when he’s going to come out and visit me. It’s a good relationship. We’re definitely best buds on the team. Really, I’m friends with all of my teammates, but I mostly hang out with Daniel, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Ashkan Dejagah, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
How many of your teammates speak English? What language does the coach speak to you guys in?
Surprisingly, a lot of the guys on the team speak English. I can think of probably 10 just off the top of my head and a few of them are practicing. They say some Farsi words that I don’t know and I’ll say some English words to teach them. We help each other out.
The coach speaks to the team in English and we have a translator who then says it in Farsi. It’s actually nice because I get to hear the instructions twice. So it’s good, I can’t mess up! For all the other guys I’m sure it’s a little weird. If the coach says something funny, for example, only the people who understand English will be laughing. Then the translator repeats it and everyone laughs. It’s pretty funny for me. It also helps me improve my Farsi. So it’s good, I enjoy it.
There has been a lot of talk about the fact that you’re an American-born player on the Iranian national team. Do you think about that at all or do you try to zone it out?
I know a lot of people and reporters keep asking me about that. I guess it’s still interesting to them. For me, that’s done. This is my team. This is who I’m with and hopefully we can make it to the next round. That’s what I’m focused on.
Iran, who are currently third in Group F with one point, will play their final match of the group stage on Wednesday against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. PT. Iran could advance to the next round with a win.