Backline - Then and Now

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Backline - Then and Now
Eski: 'We brought
soccer to this country'
MLS has redesigned its Web site,
MLSnet.com, for the 2001 season.
CNNSI.com is producing the Women's
United Soccer Association's Web site at
its new address, www.wusa.com.
The site, which launched in early April,
includes player features, interviews and diaries.
They also contribute recipes (Julie Murray's
chicken broccoli), daily menus (Mercy Akide likes
her food hot) and conditioning tips (Tisha
Venturini likes to roller blade during the
The new-look MLSnet.com features columns
by former Dallas Burn coach David Dir, the new
co-host of ESPN2's "ExtraTime," and former
Providence Journal sportswriter Doug Chapman.
The site has added a Spanish-language section
with selected features in Spanish. MLS has also
started a weekly newsletter, "90 Minutes." One
of the best features of MLSnet.com is its multime¬
dia section. The old "Theater" section features
video clips of each week's top plays.
The United Soccer Leagues have once
again moved their Web site.
Their new site, launched in partnership with
umbro.com, is at USLsoccer.com. It was up for the
start of the USL season in early April. The site has
expanded news on the USL's five leagues,
including the A-League. It features a bulletin
board for USL fans and a poll.
Eskandarian, one of
the many New York
Cosmos with World
Cup experience,
now follows his
son's career at the
University of
Andranik Eskandarian won two NASL
titles as a steady defender with the New
York Cosmos from 1979 to 1984. Born in
Iran of Armenian parents, "Eski" joined the
Cosmos after playing for Iran at the 1978
World Cup. The 49-year-old, who became
a U.S. citizen in 1984, has settled in Bergen
County, N.J., where he operates two soc¬
cer stores — Eski Sports Shop and
Birkenmeier Sports Shop — with fellow
Cosmos alum Hubert Birkenmeier.
SOCCER AMERICA: How did you get into the
sporting goods business?
this business, Hubert started in 1982, when we
were still playing for the Cosmos. In 1985, when
Cosmos was going out of business, they were sell¬
ing the players to indoor teams. My contract went
to San Diego, which I didn't go to because I had
two kids here going to school and I didn't want
to move. Hubert's contract went to Chicago, and
he went because he was a single guy and it was
easy to go. That's when we made a deal. Now
he's back and helping me. We are great friends,
we are like brothers.
SA: Do you think that with MLS establish¬
ing a foothold now, it is important for people
to remember the NASL and its players?
AE: For me, it's a memory, and I'm not look¬
ing to make a name anymore — none of us are
— but for the MetroStars and MLS people, we
brought soccer to this country. We worked hard
for the kids ... in New Jersey. I remember you
could go 15 or 20 miles without finding a soccer
field, and now you can't go one mile without one.
SA: Tell us about your sons.
AE: Alecko is doing excellent. He had a great
year at Virginia, with the opportunity to start as a
freshman. And Ari is graduating in May from
Villanova. Alecko is right now in Chula Vista,
training with the U-20 national team.
SA: Did you go to many of Alecko's games?
AE: Yes, it's a six- or seven-hour drive, but I
went to almost every game. I coached him from
when he was 6 years old in the club system, so
this was kind of my retirement from coaching.
SA: Does that allow you to spend more time
with your wife?
AE: To be honest, my wife, Anna, is crazy for
soccer. This year we didn't have any kids in high
school — she would go and watch high school
We are true soccer fans. Not only to watch
our sons play, we watch everybody.
— Will Kuhns
Soccer America
April 30, 2001
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