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Sept. 23, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Student Athlete-of-the-Month showcases athletes who have demonstrated excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom. The September Male Student Athlete-of-the-Month, third year Alecko Eskandarian, has displayed a strong work ethic in his academic and athletic endeavors. An economics major from Montvale, New Jersey, Alecko is attending Virginia on a full scholarship.

Q:You are originally from New Jersey. How did you end up at UVa?

A:I’m from northern New Jersey and have played soccer all of my life. Craig Reynolds, UVa’s assistant Men’s Soccer coach, was one of my regional team coaches when I was sixteen and he helped recruit me. Virginia is one of the top soccer schools in the country and is also well known for its academics, which helped make my decision to attend school here easier.

Q:What were you doing this summer to prepare for the upcoming season?

A:I was actually working a lot. I trained on my own at home but I also went to Europe for some training. In July I was training with some professional teams and that really helped me step up my game. Playing a level above makes you work harder. I was also on the US Olympic team and we were in England for two weeks in August playing some games. This summer gave me time to focus on my game and I’m in the best shape of my life.I’m better prepared now than ever before.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence in soccer?

A:My dad. He was a professional soccer player and passed the game on to my brother and me. I have pictures of me when I was really little with a soccer ball in my hands. I started playing organized soccer when I was about 5 and just haven’t stopped.

Q:And who has influenced you most in school?

A:My elementary school teachers. I had my moments with every teacher and they all stressed the importance of academics. They made me enjoy school and taught me to always be honest with myself.

Q:How did you feel being named ACC’s first co-player of the week for the 2002 season?

A:It was an honor. I am very happy I got recognized for my efforts. I try not to take the awards too seriously though because I don’t want them to affect my game. I go out on the field and have fun so I try to think of an award as an added bonus.

Q:How has your rigorous soccer schedule affected your course work?

A:I have no time! Actually, I was on academic probation after my first semester here at UVa because I lacked time management skills. I learned a lot from my mistakes first year and time management is key. Whenever I have a lot going on, I just buckle down and do my best to get it all done. I basically have a set schedule and I try hard to stick to it.

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