Virginia Men's Soccer Player Alecko Eskandarian Announces He Will Forego His Senior Year at UVa
Dec. 16, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia men’s soccer player Alecko Eskandarian (Montvale, N.J./Bergen Catholic) has announced he will forego his senior year at Virginia to pursue a professional playing career in the sport by entering Major League Soccer (MLS). Eskandarian has signed a contract with MLS and will await his selection in the upcoming Eighth Annual MLS SuperDraft on January 17, 2003 at the Kansas City Convention Center. The following statements were made by Eskandarian:
Alecko Eskandarian’s Opening Statement –
“I want to start by saying I am leaving school early, I have signed a contract to play in the MLS. It is pretty much a dream come true for me, I am really happy with my decision. This is something I have dreamed about as a kid growing up in New Jersey, when I was young and playing with all my friends.”
Q: How difficult was it for you to leave Virginia early?
A: “Leaving Virginia early was a tough decision, but it was not that hard of a decision because this is something I have been thinking about for a couple of years now. I felt like this was definitely the right time for me to leave. Everything I have learned and have taken with me from Virginia is priceless. The relationships that I made and the experiences I shared with my teammates, with my friends and with my coaches, with everyone – it has been great. I had the time of my life at Virginia and that is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Q: How beneficial were the people you surrounded yourself with at Virginia in this decision?
A: Everyone at Virginia has been great to me. I want to thank my teammates, my family and my coaches because they have all really helped me develop as a person and as a soccer player. I especially want to make a note to my coaches. I want to give them credit for taking a chance on me and recruiting me to come to Virginia in the first place. I was not really recruited that much coming out of high school, not a lot of kids in my area make it. I really want to thank the coaches for giving me an opportunity to come here and play and for having the confidence in me.”
Q: People have been asking you for quite some time about whether or not you were going to leave school early. Now that you have declared to forego your senior year, how do you feel?
A: “I feel good because this is something I have to do to take the next step in my career, so I am really happy about it. From here on out, I know what I have to do. I will now enter the MLS SuperDraft and take it from there. Being a professional soccer player is what I want to be and this is my chance to do it. I am really happy about finally getting this done. It is not going to be easy, I know I will have to work really hard to earn my position and to earn my spot. But it is something I want to do.”
Alecko Eskandarian’s Final Thought –
“I am really happy for the future and I hope I keep getting better and keep improving and take soccer as far as I can.”
“Some of the goals Eskandarian scored here at Virginia were just spectacular. They were some of the most spectacular goals ever scored in UVa history. There is no question in my mind that he is one of the most prolific goal scorers you will find. He’s got a real talent. Eskandarian is both a technical and a powerful player. He has great athleticism and he has the desire to keep getting better as a player, he really knows how to challenge himself. I am in full support of him in his decision to take this next step.”
Eskandarian played three seasons as a forward at Virginia for head coach George Gelnovatch and leaves the UVa men’s soccer program after establishing himself as one of the finest soccer players to ever play for the Cavaliers. He has etched his name into numerous statistical categories in the tradition-rich program at Virginia. Eskandarian started 56 of the 60 games he appeared in and recorded 4,565 minutes of playing time at UVa. For his career, he recorded 113 points, scored 50 goals (including 15 game-winners) and dished out 13 assists (including four game-winners). He also took 272 shots in his three seasons of play.
In 2002, Eskandarian set a new Virginia school-record for the most goals scored in a single season at UVa with 25. He also finished tied for second all-time at Virginia with 54 single-season points and finished tied for sixth with six single-season game-winning goals in 2002. Eskandarian’s 113 career points ranks him sixth all-time at Virginia, while his 50 career goals is fourth all-time at UVa and his 15 career game-winning goals is the third most in a career ever for a Cavalier. His 272 career shots taken is also the third highest total taken in Virginia school history.
Eskandarian has recorded numerous honors and awards in his three years as a Cavalier. In 2002 (as a junior), he was named the winner of the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Award.With his selection as the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner, Eskandarian became Virginia’s fifth men’s soccer player to be named in conjunction with either the M.A.C. Player of the Year award or to win the Hermann Trophy. His selection also marked the tenth occasion where a UVa men’s soccer player was selected for either award. Eskandarian was named a 2002 NSCAA/adidas Men’s Division I First Team All-American and was named the 2002 ACC Player of the Year. He was selected as a member of the 2002 All-ACC First Team and to the 2002 ACC All-Tournament Team. Eskandarian was selected to the 2002 NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team and was also chosen the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic and was named to both the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the 2002 Maryland/FILA Classic All-Tournament Team . He was named the 2002 Virginia State Player of the Year and to the 2002 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) First Team. Eskandarian was also named the ACC Player of the Week on three occasions.
As a sophomore (2001), Eskandarian was selected to the 2001 All-ACC First Team and was selected as a NSCAA/Adidas Second Team All-American. He was named to the 2001 NSCAA/Adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team, selected Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) and named to both the 2001 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the 2001 Maryland/Fila Classic All-Tournament team.
As a freshman (2000), Eskandarian was named the 2000 ACC Rookie of the Year and a 2000 First Team All-ACC selection. He was selected as the 2000 Freshman of the Year and was a 2000 Third Team All-America selection by Soccer America. Eskandarian was named to the 2000 NSCAA/adidas First Team All-South Atlantic Region squad, selected as the 2000 Player of the Year in the state of Virginia and was a 2000 First Team All-State selection by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). He was also named to both the 2000 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament team and to the 2000 Maryland/Fila Invitational All-Tournament team.
Eskandarian helped guide Virginia to a record of 49-15-2 (.758) from 2000-2002, including an ACC record of 14-4-0 (.778) in conference play. In 2001, he helped UVa become the first school in ACC history to win all of its conference games by shutout after going a perfect 6-0-0 in ACC play. Eskandarian also guided Virginia to the three consecutive ACC Tournament Championship appearances and to three consecutive appearances to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship (including a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2000) in each of the three years he was a player.
Here is a statistical look at Eskandarian for his career at Virginia:
Year GP/GS Min Sh G A GWG/GWA Pts2000 24/22 1,858 102 16 6 4/3 382001 16/14 1,321 69 9 3 5/0 212002 20/20 1,386 101 25 4 6/1 54Totals 60/56 4,565 272 50 13 15/4 113
#11 Alecko EskandarianForwardJunior * 5-8 * 160Montvale, N.J. * Bergen Catholic
In 2002: Started all 20 games he appeared in as a forward … scored a team-high 54 points resulting from a team-high 25 goals to go along with four assists … scored a team-high six game winning goals … took a team-high 101 shots … the men’s Missouri Athletic Club (M.A.C.) Hermann Trophy Award winner … named to the NSCAA/adidas Men’s NCAA Division I All-America First Team … named the ACC Player of the Year … named First Team All-ACC … selected to the ACC All-Tournament team … named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Virginia Soccer Classic … selected to the NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team … named the Virginia State Player of the Year and to the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) First Team … named to the Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the Maryland/FILA Classic All-Tournament Team … named the ACC Player of the Week on September 2nd, October 21st and November 4th … scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Virginia’s 3-2 victory over #25 Kentucky in UVa’s season-opening match (8/30) in the Virginia Soccer Classic … scored two goals (including the game-winner) in Virginia’s 5-0 shutout victory over Hartwick (10/2) … set a UVa school-record for most goals scored in a single season with 24 when scored two goals (23rd and 24th of the year) in Virginia’s 4-1 victory over Duke (11/14) in the quarterfinals of the 2002 ACC Championship … scored a UVa single-season record 25th goal of the year in Virginia’s second round game of the 2002 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship against William & Mary (11/27) … scored the game-tying goal and recorded the game-winning assist in Virginia’s 2-1 victory over Rhode Island (9/1) in the Virginia Soccer Classic … scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Virginia’s 4-1 victory over VCU (9/6) and scored two more goals in UVa’s contest with Penn State (9/8) in the Maryland/FILA Classic … scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist in Virginia’s 4-0 shutout victory over N.C. State (9/28) … scored two goals (including one goal by converting a penalty kick) in Virginia’s 3-0 shutout victory over Marshall (10/2) … recorded two goals (including an unassisted game-winner) and added an assist in Virginia’s 5-2 win against Liberty (10/16) … scored the lone goal in a 1-0 shutout victory over #5 Maryland (11/1) … notched a goal a mere nine seconds into Virginia’s 2-1 victory over American (10/26) … collected a rebound to score in Virginia’s 3-1 victory over #18 Duke (10/20) … recorded a goal and an assist in Virginia’s contest against #4 Clemson (10/13) … scored a goal on a one-timer in Virginia’s 3-2 win over Old Dominion (10/23) … scored UVa’s only goal against #16 North Carolina (9/21) … scored a goal in Virginia’s 6-0 victory over Temple (11/8).
In 2001: Recorded 1,321 minutes of playing time after starting 14 of the 16 games he appeared in … finished second on the team with 21 points resulting from a team-high nine goals with three assists … posted a team-high five game-winning goals … named First Team All-ACC … selected as a NSCAA/Adidas Second Team All-American … named to the NSCAA/Adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team … named Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) … selected to the 2001 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team … named to the 2001 Maryland/Fila Classic All-Tournament team … scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Virginia’s 4-2 victory over American (9/7) in the 2001 Maryland/Fila Classic … posted the game-winning goal 1:49 into overtime in Virginia’s 1-0 overtime victory over Duke (10/20) … posted the game-winning goal when he scored a goal off of a free-kick in Virginia’s 2-1 victory over Mercer (10/17) … scored UVa’s third goal of the contest on a one-timer and assisted on two goals by teammate Ryan Gibbs in Virginia’s 7-1 victory over UNC-Greensboro (10/30) … scored UVa’s first goal of the season in Virginia’s 2-1 victory over Liberty in the 2001 Virginia Soccer Classic (8/31) … recorded the game-winning goal when he chipped-in a five yard shot set-up by teammates Kyle Martino and Jonathan Cole in Virginia’s 1-0 victory over Wake Forest (9/17) … posted the game-winning goal when he received a cross from teammate Kirk Dinnal and fired a one-timer for score in Virginia’s 2-0 victory over East Carolina (10/24) … scored the game-tying goal in UVa’s 2-2 tie with UCLA in the 2001 Virginia Soccer Classic (9/2) … assisted on Steve Totten’s goal in Virginia’s 3-0 shutout victory over Maryland (11/4) … lettered.
In 2000: Recorded 1,858 minutes of playing time after starting 22 of the 24 games he appeared in … posted team-highs with 38 points, 16 goals and six assists … four of his goals and three of his assists were game-winners … took a team-high 102 shots … named the ACC Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-ACC selection… named the ACC Player of the Week (9/4) after he scored three goals and recorded one assist (seven points) in his first two games as a Cavalier … named the 2000 Freshman of the Year and was a Third Team All-America selection by Soccer America … selected to the Soccer America Team of the Week (9/13) … named to the NSCAA adidas First Team All-South Atlantic Region squad … named the Player of the Year in the state of Virginia and a First Team All-State selection by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) … named to the Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament team … named to the Maryland/Fila Invitational All-Tournament team … scored a goal in Virginia’s 5-0 victory over Lehigh in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (11/19) … by scoring his 16th goal of the season against Lehigh in UVa’s 5-0 victory over the Mountain Hawks in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship, he became Virginia’s all-time leader in points scored by a freshman (38 points) – broke current head coach George Gelnovatch’s school record record of 37 points scored by a UVa freshman – his 16 goals also tied Gelnovatch’s record mark of 16 goals scored in a single season by a freshman at Virginia … scored two goals (including the game-winner) in Virginia’s 3-1 victory over Elon (10/18) … scored the game-winning goal after Ryan Trout crossed a pass from mid-field in Virginia’s 3-1 victory over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (9/24) … scored his first collegiate goal in his Virginia debut when he netted UVa’s first goal of the season in a 3-2 victory over South Florida (9/1) in the Virginia Soccer Classic … scored two goals and added an assist in Virginia’s 7-1 victory over Jacksonville (9/3) in UVa’s second game of the Virginia Soccer Classic … posted the game-winning assist when he sent a corner kick to teammate Jonathan Cole, who then headed the ball into the Duke goal in Virginia’s 3-0 victory over Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals (11/10) … recorded his 15th goal of the season in Virginia’s 2-0 shutout victory over Providence (10/29) when he gathered a cross from teammate Jacob LeBlanc and fired a shot from 12 yards out … scored UVa’s first goal of the game (his 14th of the season) in Virginia’s 4-1 victory over American (10/25) … recorded his second game-winning goal of the season when Sheldon Barnes sent a pass to him that he gathered and beat VCU’s goalkeeper in Virginia’s 1-0 overtime victory over VCU (9/20) … scored both of Virginia’s goals against William & Mary (9/27) … scored his 11th goal of the season when Ryan Trout sent a cross that he chipped-in from 10 yards out in Virginia’s 3-2 victory over Clemson (10/15) … dished-out two assists, including the game-winning assist on Ryan Gibbs’ goal in Virginia’s 2-0 victory over Maryland (11/3) … recorded his first collegiate game-winning assist when played a ball upfield to Ryan Gibbs, who then scored the game-winning goal in Virginia’s 2-0 victory over Wake Forest (9/16) to give UVa it’s first ACC victory, first shutout and first road win of the 2000 season … scored two goals, including the game-winner, and tallied an assist in Virginia’s 6-1 victory over N.C. State (10/1) … scored his 10th goal of the season in UVa’s 3-2 double-overtime victory over James Madison (10/4) … lettered.
High School: Selected as the 2000 Gatorade National Player of the Year … named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas All-American … chosen as the NSCAA/adidas New Jersey State Player of the Year after leading the state of New Jersey in scoring with 66 goals and 15 assists through 25 games during his senior year … named a first team All-State selection by the Associated Press in 1999 … is a three-time All-State selection … two-time team Most Valuable Player (MVP) and was twice named to the NSCAA All-East team … played soccer on the 1999 U.S. Under 17 National team for coach John Ellinger … participated on the 2000 Olympic Developmental Program (ODP) Region I Team … coached by current UVa men’s assistant coach Craig Reynolds on the ODP Region I Team … won four letters at Bergen Catholic High School under coach Jim McGirr.
Personal: Born on July 9, 1982 in Washington Township, New Jersey … son of Andranik and Anna Eskandarian … father played professional soccer for the New York Cosmos … brother, Ara, played soccer at Villanova.
— UVa —