Beitashour with the Iranian national team in 2014
|Full name||Steven Mehrdad Beitashour|
|Date of birth||February 1, 1987|
|Place of birth||San Jose, California, United States|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|2005–2009||San Diego State Aztecs|
|2007–2008||San Jose Frogs||9||(2)|
|2010–2013||San Jose Earthquakes||87||(2)|
|2014–2015||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||56||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 December 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of May 30, 2014
Steven Mehrdad Beitashour (// BAYT-u-shur; Persian: مهرداد بیتآشور; Persian pronunciation: [mehɾdɒːd-e beit-ɒːʃuːɾ], born February 1, 1987) is an Iranian footballer who plays for Toronto FC and the Iranian national team as a defender, having previously been called up to the United States national team.
Steven Beitashour was born to Edward and Pari Beitashour in San Jose, California. He has an older brother, Tony, and two sisters, Tina and Stephanie. His parents are both from Iran and moved to the United States in the 1960s. His father, an electrical engineer, played soccer for San Francisco State University before working for Apple. Beitashour is of Christian Assyrian descent from his father's side and his mother is a Persian Muslim, enjoying support from both communities in the United States. He has Iranian-American dual citizenship, and is married to his wife named Karlie.
College and amateur
Beitashour graduated from Leland High School in 2005 where his number 3 jersey was later retired, becoming only the second Leland athlete after Pat Tillman to have a jersey retired. Steven was the captain of his high school's varsity team and was their leading goalscorer his junior and senior years in the number 10 role. He was a four-year letter-winner and was a two-time offensive player of the year before being a divisional first-team selection. In his graduating year at Leland, Beitashour received the inaugural Pat Tillman Award, given to a Bay Area student for outstanding achievements in both athletics and academics.
He went on to play four years of college soccer at San Diego State University after receiving a scholarship, redshirting his freshman season. He majored in communication with a minor in biology at San Diego State University, choosing it over several schools including San Jose State University, University of California, Santa Cruz and Notre Dame de Namur University. Coach Lev Kirshner moved Beitashour to the right-back position in order to utilize his quick speed and one-on-one defending abilities. In his senior year at State, Steven earned an all-Pac-10 honorable mention. During his late college years, Beitashour also played for the San Jose Frogs in the USL Premier Development League. He graduated from San Diego State in December 2009.
San Jose Earthquakes
Beitashour was drafted in the second round (30th overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes, the local team that he supported as a young ball boy, becoming the second Iranian (after Khodadad Azizi) to play for the Earthquakes. He made his professional debut on April 10, 2010 in a 2–1 win against the Chicago Fire, and scored his first professional goal on April 24, 2010 against Chivas USA. Beitashour was selected for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game and played the full 90 minutes against Chelsea in the 3–2 win. The Earthquakes won the 2012 MLS Supporters' Shield with Beitashour starting in all 33 of his regular season appearances and leading the league with 110 crosses that season. Following the Supporters' Shield title, Beitashour featured for the Earthquakes in the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League. He provided 16 assists in his last 3 years with the Earthquakes, more than any other MLS defender during the same time period.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC acquired Beitashour for an undisclosed amount on January 27, 2014. On March 8, Beitashour played his first match for the Whitecaps in their season opener against the New York Red Bulls, providing a secondary assist to Kenny Miller in their 4–1 win. Beitashour was named in the MLS team of the week after his performance against the LA Galaxy on April 19. On April 26, he provided a game-tying assist to Sebastián Fernández in the last minute of the match against Real Salt Lake. Beitashour was nominated for the 2014 MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich. On September 27, he provided a game-winning assist to Pedro Morales in a 2–1 win against Real Salt Lake. On October 10, the Whitecaps won the 2014 Cascadia Cup with a 1–0 win at the Seattle Sounders. The Whitecaps also qualified for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League as the best Canadian team of the regular season.
Prior to the start of the 2015 MLS season, Beitashour was the Whitecaps' players union representative. On March 14, 2015 in the second game of the Whitecaps' 2015 season, Beitashour provided an assist to Octavio Rivero during the 86th minute in a 1–0 win over the Chicago Fire. On July 29, 2015, Beitashour and his Whitecaps teammates attended a charity event for children in Nanaimo. On August 26, 2015, the Whitecaps won the 2015 Canadian Championship to qualify for the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League.
Beitashour was traded to Toronto FC during the 2015–16 off-season for TFC's second round selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He made his debut for Toronto FC in a 2–0 win over the New York Red Bulls on March 6, 2016.
- College career
|2005||San Diego State Aztecs||Pacific-10 Conference||Redshirt|
- Senior career
|Season||Club||League||League||MLS Cup Playoffs||Cup|
|2007||San Jose Frogs||USL PDL||7||2||3||—|
|USL PDL Total||9||2||3|
|2010||San Jose Earthquakes||MLS||8||1||0||0||0||0||1[a]||0||0|
|2014||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||27||0||2||0||0||0||0[b]||0||0|
Statistics accurate as of match played August 18, 2014
Since Beitashour has Iranian Citizenship through Jus sanguinis principles, he is eligible to play for Iran. Beitashour was born in the United States and is an American citizen; he thus had the choice of either playing for Iran or the United States.
When asked about his choice in a 2012 interview, he stated:
"I think it's a great position to be in to have two options, to say the least... I've just got to keep playing well here [for the San Jose Earthquakes]. I think that's the main thing, and good things will come from that."
Iran national team coach Carlos Queiroz began to recruit eligible players from the Iranian diaspora to reinforce the squad. In June 2012, it was reported that Queiroz was interested in inviting Beitashour.
"Steven has built his case over the last couple of months and talking with Frank Yallop [Beitashour's coach at Earthquakes] and getting his information was the most important step... We are pleased to bring him in. He will be welcomed here and he’ll see it is a very positive and comfortable environment where he can settle in with no problems. We are curious to see him in the couple training sessions that we have. It’s not much because we have two and a half days to prepare for a game, but obviously I’d love to see him over a longer period of time. It will be curious to get his first impression."
On October 5, 2013, Beitashour was called up to the Iran national football team by Carlos Queiroz to be part of the preliminary 27-man squad for a 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification match against Thailand. It was initially unclear whether Beitashour would accept the invitation. Two days later, it was confirmed that Beitashour had accepted the call-up and would join the squad in time for the match on October 15. He made his debut in Iran's 2–1 win over Thailand, coming on as a sub for Mahini in the 76th minute. His first assist came to Gucci against Thailand in the away leg on November 15, helping to seal their place in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. On June 1, 2014, Beitashour was named to Iran's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. He was an unused substitute in all three matches and was not called into Iran's squad for the 2015 Asian Cup.
- Vancouver Whitecaps
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