After a pair of call-ups from the United States, the Whitecaps right back is focused on playing in this summer's tournament with Iran.It’s been a busy year for Steven Beitashour. The defender was traded from longtime club San Jose Earthquakes to the Vancouver Whitecaps in January. The 27-year-old also hopes to be a member of Iran's World Cup squad, after earning his first call-up from the Asian side this fall.
The move to Vancouver took some by surprise, as the Whitecaps acquired Beitashour for allocation money after a spell in San Jose which saw him develop into one of the best right backs in MLS.
However, the lifetime San Jose native has taken well to his new location in Canada.
“I think i'm transitioned now, I got a place and there is no more hotel living,” Beitashour told Goal. “It's nice just to relax a little bit and then to just focus on the games. I like it a lot, it's a beautiful city and my teammates are great.”
Vancouver saw its share of changes ahead of the 2014 season. Longtime assistant coach Carl Robinson took over head coaching duties from departed manager Martin Rennie. Beitashour has been in a key pickup for the first year coach, adding a wealth of experience.
Beitashour's performances at right back over the years had many calling for his inclusion on the United States national team. USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Beitashour to a roster twice in recent years, but he did not participate in a match.
It began to seem unlikely that Beitashour would feature prominently for the country of his birth in the immediate future. With his parents born in Iran, Beitashour still had a chance to play in the 2014 World Cup.
Iran national team coach Carlos Queiroz expressed interest in Beitashour last year. In October, he accepted his first call-up for the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers.
“I've moved past that and i've focused on Iran,” Beitashour said of his past United States call-up. “I'm just trying to give my best and hopefully get onto the World Cup roster.”
Beitashour seems to be in the good graces of Queiroz ahead of this summer's World Cup, but knows that consistent playing time and form are most important for success.
“Continuing to play well is the main thing, I think you have some bad games, then it can hurt your chances,” said Beitashour. “Coach Queiroz will have a tough time picking out the squad, we want to bring our best players over there and show the world we can play.”
Vancouver has started Beitashour every game at right back so far in this short MLS season. The team has a 2-2-2 record through its first six games, and the consistent playing time will bode well for his World Cup chances come June.
Iran will face a tough test with Group F opponents Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Nigeria. Making it out of the group seems unlikely, however Beitashour feels confident in his team's ability.
“I think they are doing a great job over there, they're calling us in and we have a couple great games to prepare us for the World Cup,” Beitashour explained.
With a chance to play on the world's biggest stage, there is no doubting the effort Beitashour has been showing on the field lately. The defender seems grateful to represent Iran.
“They've been great to me; I love it every time I go over there. The people are so welcoming and I really enjoy every chance I get to play for them.”
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