Starkovs started playing football in Madona where he played for the local Olimpija Madona playing for which he was selected the best forward of the 1969 Latvia Leather ball tournament. In 1975 Starkovs joined FK Daugava Rīga. In 1978 Starkovs went to FC Dynamo Moscow but it wasn't the right team for him, so soon Starkovs was back in Riga. However his best years were still to come - in 1980s Starkovs was one of the best snipers of the Soviet first league, scoring over a hundred goals for Daugava.
After his success as the national team coach, he joined Spartak Moscow winning the silver medal of the Russian league in 2005, but in April 2006 he was forced to quit due to total obstruction from the team's fans and a conflict with former team captain Dmitri Alenichev.
Starkovs returned to Riga and in 2007 took over the Latvian national team which was struggling under Jurijs Andrejevs.
In 2009 he accepted the offer to coach Skonto FC and in January 2010 became the manager of the team as Paul Ashworth - the previous manager - left. His return was very successful and he managed to win the league with Skonto FC. In January 2011 he left Skonto FC, signing a contract in Azerbaijan with FC Baku. After signing the contract it was stated that he would continue managing Latvia as he did before.
On 15 July Aleksandrs Starkovs left as coach of Latvia (manager).