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Beitashour accepts call-up from Iran ahead of Asian Cup qualifier

Steve Beitashour San Jose Earthquakes (San Jose Earthquakes)


For the first time in what seems like quite a while, the U.S. Men’s National Team is set to lose out on a dual-national.

San Jose Earthquakes fullback Steve Beitashour has accepted a call-up from Iran ahead of an AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Thailand on Oct. 15, the MLS club announced on Monday. The 26-year-old, American-born Beitashour is eligible for selection for Iran through his parents, both of whom were born in the Western Asian country, and he has elected to represent Team Melli in a move that could ensure he has a future at the international level.

Beitashour had been called up by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in recent years, including for the famed 1-0 friendly win over Mexico in August 2012 and this past January’s month-long camp. But Beitashour never made an appearance for the United States, failing to make game-day rosters because of injury or coach’s choice.

If Beitashour makes an appearance in the upcoming match against Thailand, he will be cap-tied to Iran.

Currently coached by former NY/NJ MetroStars manager Carlos Queiroz, Iran has already secured its qualification for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.


What do you think of Beitashour’s decision to play for Iran? Wishing Klinsmann would have called him up more often to the U.S. squad? Do you see Beitashour playing in next year’s World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Mention Iran. even in the case of a guy playing a game, and hoping to get a chance to participate in it at the highest level, and it brings out political passion.

    Please, this is a soccer site, bring your soccer passion here, post your political passions on other sites.

  2. You idiots nee to settle down. These guys are soccer players, as guilty of their government transgressions as Landon Donovan is of the thousands of innocent civilians killed bu the US military all over the world or Klinsmann of the Nazi horrors.

  3. A lot of people here are in dire need of researching some history instead of parroting the b.s. propaganda from Uncle Sam.

    • So are you saying Iran didn’t storm out embassy kill marines and hold out diplomats hostages for more than 80 days?
      Are you saying that they don’t sponsor Hezbollah or that Hezbolla
      Wasn’t responsible for the bombings of the Khobat towers and the killing of 241 marines in Beruit?
      YOU need to do research
      I can’t believe how incredibly naive many here are. Anyone REALLY think they well let him go on state supported Iranian TV and speak well of the US? More likely they will distort his words to make it look like he’s bad mouthing the US. It’s also more likely they will have a picture of him behind a burning US flag.
      Do you really think the Iranian soccer team isn’t used as a propaganda machine for the current regime?

      • The two most relevant points to consider:
        1) He is getting a chance to play in the World Cup. Congrats!
        2) He will be representing and playing for the Iranian people (and Persians), NOT their current government.

      • When International soccer is at it’s best/most useful, is when people can set aside differences and come together to enjoy a common love. Makes it easy to realize that in spite of borders and different customs we really are all pretty similar, want the same things out of life for ourselves and our children. There is value in that perspective.

        The ugly side of the International game is when is when it becomes infiltrated with the worst kind of nationalist zealots, ethnic feuds and politics. This story is not a political story, it is about a guy considering the possibility of playing a GAME he loves to represent the people and culture of his roots and the people he loves most, his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles… etc etc. It really is as simple as that.

        The funny thing is Mike, a very large % of Iranians love America and its culture. In other words, they have the intelligence to see the political rhetoric and propaganda spewing from their TV sets for what it is. To be able to separate the people of another country from its politics. The fact of the matter is, you should feel blessed to have been born in this country. It was not something you did, it was pure chance. Many very good people happened to be born elsewhere.

      • Mike R, not having a go. Heck I don’t even know you but for me it’s this kind of hardened one-sided consumption and use of things – be they history, facts or lies – that creates our current highly polarized environment. As has been demonstrated here by many who are well informed on the issue, and chose to look at things objectively, massive mistakes were made (and continue to be made) on both sides. However, you choose to reiterate the misdeeds of the enemy as I am sure many of their hardliners do as well.

        I would love to say there are better places for these types of discussions than a soccer blog, though sadly in this day and age of vitriolic and passionate polarization – common ground to exchange and debate ideas and principles like adults is something of a rarity (if it in fact exists anymore). But that is a whole other issue as for me the thing that really matters here is the celebration of the game we all love (our individual views and passions aside) and it’s potential to have “enemies” see each other eye-to-eye beyond the propaganda, hate and all other sorts of nonsense.

        This will not be easy but it has been done before. But what makes it very, very hard is when when we stone those who try to bridge the divide as we dub them as traitors and evil doers.

  4. Mixed feelings. I was hoping this guy would play his way into relevance for a US call up, and as one of the top right backs in the MLS last season it seemed like that might have happened. It’s a shame he hasn’t come back from his injuries the same player as before. I can’t hardly fault the guy for taking a shot at getting to Brasil, even if it’s not for the stars and stripes. To me it speaks well for the MLS and for us as a soccer nation that we are playing a role in developing professionals that merit national team callups.

    As for all the geo-policialy malarky, I think it’s great that a dude living in the USA will have a chance to go to Iran and talk about what life is like “on the outside”. Quite a few Iranians are actually very fond of the USA. A case in point is that after 9-11 our own government missed a golden opportunity to thaw relations with the Iranian government, as a grassroots expression of grief and sympathy for what had happened here. If this is a way, however small, to sidestep the chest thumping institutions of government so that sensible people can make connections, I’m all for it.

    • Yes we should have thawed relations with the largest sponsor of terrorism
      Right after we were victimized by terrorism.
      TOTALLY missed that golden opportunity

  5. Good for him. Wasnt likely to see much more USNT call ups

    How about this for an Iranian-American soccer player:
    Played in first ever US victory in Mexico
    Could be on the roster for Iran’s WC team

    Pretty good cv material

  6. Good for him. Current government aside, Iran has a rich history and a wonderful population.

    If Iran overthrew our government, gave chemical weapons to an enemy nation during war, shot down a civilian aircraft, flanked us by sending their military into Mexico and Canada, and (allegedly) assassinated our scientists in broad daylight we might be upset at them too.
    Rouhani and Khameini and also significantly more moderate than MehmuniJihhad and Khomeini so maybe our hate towards Iran should be reconsidered.

    Luckily, he lives and plays in San Jose and its huge Persian population and not around the jackals posting on this site.

    • Yea remember that time when we stormed their embassy and killed their soldiers and held their diplomats hostage ?
      Remember that time when the group we sponsor Hezbollah
      Bombed the building in Beruit killing 241 marines?
      Do you remember when that same group we sponsor bombed the Khobar towers
      Injuring 241 military personnel ?
      You remember how we are the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world…
      Oh wait those are all IRAN!!
      But we can like totally trust them with nukes they promise stick a needle in their eye.
      We did not kill their scientist that was Mossad. And who cares if we flanked by all rights
      Should have invaded them and not Iraq.
      It’s disc graceful he chose to play for the biggest sponsor of terrorism. I hope he’s proud to wear the uniform next time Hezbolah blows something up

  7. I have a few questions, as a refugee status immigrant myself:

    Did his parents come here as refugees?

    If not, his choice is somewhat perplexing, with the whole “U.S. is the great Satan” doctrine of the country he now represents and all, but whatever…

    If yes, WTF? How does your family “escape” persecution in Iran to the safe haven of the U.S. and then you go back to represent the country with the same exact regime??? this makes no sense to me whatsoever-again, speaking as ar efugee myself

    • Playing for a country doesn’t mean you represent all of their prior “doctrines”. It’s not really fair to say that the current Iranian regime is the same as before.

      • A kinder, gentler form a extreme Islam?

        But to be serious. I the seventies many Iranians fled to the UK. France or the US to escape the Shah and his secret police. I ironically a refugee in the 60’s was the Ayatollah Khomeni. When the Shah fell, there was a flow of refugees escaping the new Khomeni regime and the Islamist Guard. So we had a refugee community in the US composed of refugees from all sides of political spectrum.

        Kudo’s from Beitashor for putting aside political considerations and making a footballing choice. He has VERY GOOD chance to make the WC in Brazil playing for Iran, but only a miniscule one for the US. And to many people playing in the WC, this is more important than politics.

    • Do you know how many people live in Iran? 76 million. And a majority of them voted to bring in a moderate representative.

      The Iranian shadow governments — revolutionary guard and aytollahs — might act one way, but the Iranian people are little different from the rest of us. They just happen to live under a repressive regime.

      • “shadow” government just happens to be THE government who picks and chooses who the people even get to vote into the office and determines who from the populace gets thrown in jail, tortuted and killed for “western” leanings… so until that changes by revolution or some other way, hard to see how someone can block all that out of their mind, fly into the country controlled by that totalitarian, fundamentalist government and just focus on kicking the ball around for 90 minutes while representing the flag of that same government….

      • By the same token every time I hear and rise up the National Anthem am subtlety condoning the behavior of my Government or its past indiscretions?

    • His mother is in Iran right now, so it’s not like they fled in fear of being arrested. Some Iranians were educated abroad and decided to stay.

    • The government and the people are different entities. Sounds familiar, eh? Kind of like here in the good ol’ USA. But let’s continue to talk about the ills of Iranian government while ignoring the ills of our own such as when we propped up the Shah in Iran who was, essentially, the Saddam of Iran. Or maybe that coup back in the 50s of a democratically elected government that we did as a favor for the Brits after Iran gave BP the boot.

  8. Some crazy comments on this site. I thought mls website had all the crazies but now they’ve spilled over to SBI.

    The decision to play for Iran is his choice and if he makes the roster for Iran than he will be on a WC team with a chance to play in a WC. Most of us can only dream of this opportunity so that’s awesome for him.

    • you’re right, if people say mean things that means they are wrong… forget everything else and put no critical thinking into it, just have a knee-jerk defense anytime anyone says anything about someone that may not be nice

      • Not wrong – “crazy”.

        If an American could have played for the third reich, many of the defenders of this decision would be right there cheering him on and castigating critics as reactionary yokels.

  9. Yup, good for him, he can get a shot at a WC, where realistically he wouldn’t be in the US plans (he’s 26 and not in the pecking order for this WC, so doubtful he would be a option for future WCs). All the best to him (unless US and Iran meet in the WC, hehe).

    What I find surprising is that he can hold both a US and an Iranian passport at the same time, given the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

      • Hahaha, seriously though there’s a wonderful world of education out there. You could even learn a trade!

    • The United States doesn’t need diplomatic relations with Iran to issue a US passport. Iran does not need diplomatic relations with the United States to issue an Iranian passport. You’re looking at the relationship the wrong way.

      Wish him the best of luck. I wonder what the Iranian football WAGs look like?

  10. Good luck to him. Realistically, it’s the only way he’s getting to the World Cup.Wonder how his callup will go down with the Ayatollahs? And for that matter, the State Department.

    • An Iranian-American was the coach of the Iranian national team just a few years ago. If that didn’t concern the Ayatollah or the State Dept then a fullback certainly won’t.

    • Iranian President Hasan Rouhani tried to meet with Beitashour when he was in NYC recently (seriously!). At least that part of the government is okay with Stevie.

    • They don’t hate Americans just America. See I love Mexico, the people, the culture and food, But I hate the Mexican NT.

      • But it’s comprised mostly of people of common customs and social context who eat Mexican food. Plus you share a common interest in soccer (or “fussball“)

  11. He’s a dependable defender with adequate pace and few attacking moves. Much more experienced at right back than Brad Evans, but without the versatility. Last year he was a very good crosser into the box, but that skill has not yet come back fully after several hernia surgeries. I hope he makes the Iran team, even though international exposure might mean the Quakes lose him overseas.

      • No where I live more than likely has more professionals than where you
        However, traitors to out country must be acceptable where you are. Especially a country that has always been antagonistic to this one and the one most likely to prompt military action. The same country who aided the enemy in Irae leading to the lost of our soldiers.

        They must not have taught that where you live. Apparently they don’t sell newspapers their either.

        It’s not just that he’s a Benidict Arnold but the country he chose to represent.

        It would be like representing Germany right before WWII

      • You realize the religious authorities in Iran aren’t big fans of soccer and its supporters. If your beef is just with the Iranian regime then you’re barking up the wrong tree. If it’s the people of Iran you despise then hating this move does have some logic, I suppose.

      • we get it, you don’t like brown people… And, nice try.. I grew up in Princeton, NJ… Very wealthy, educated city. I know live in Denver, CO… one of the most educated cities in the country. Ignorance is a trait of the uninformed… This footballer is no enemy of the state… That moniker is reserved for the party that shut down the US government, something that our enemies try to do.

      • JC, maybe I need to recalibrate my sarcasmotrometer but the bit about “not liking brown people” sounds a awful lot like an accusation of racism, my Man.

        Dude’s got enough going on all ready without using that brush when I don’t see any racist overtones about his somewhat disturbing form of ubernationalism.

        Just sayin’.


      • You mean the Democrats right? Last I checked the GOP controlled House has passed 26 bills to keep nearly all of the gov’t running yet Obama and Harry Reid refuse to allow them to come to vote in the Senate? So the gov’t shutdown is largely due to Obamacare. My insurance costs just went up 100% from $350 to $700 a month because of the Affordable Health Care Act, but hey it’s not Obamas fault. Do you ever notice, nothing is his fault. I left Jersey because of people like you. Go back…please.

      • We supported Iraq in their war with Iran in which they used chemical weapons. Iran was an ally before the Iranian revolution which happened because the CIA helped lead a coup to topple the democratically elected government and reinstate the dictatorial shah. The revolution happened in 79 so Iran hasn’t “always hated us” and given what our government did they had reason to be upset. Which, of course, does not excuse the hostage situation that happened but dang some people need historical perspective. Ethnicity and national pride shouldn’t have to have anything to do with politics, politically systems, or policies.

      • + 100. Well said and thank you for the excellent history lesson.

        To hear these comments it’s like there should never be any chance for peace and understanding in the place of animosity and hatred. It’s little moves like these – a player born to the “enemy” but chosing to represent the other “enemy” that help gets us, the people, past the political stupidity that builds these walls in the first place.

      • Thanks for that. I was getting pissed with Mike R’s reply until I read this. Thanks for the Levity

    • Mike, any attempt to question someone’s choice of international team will be met by stern disapproval from the PC police who comment on this site.

      • But, even you would admit, there’s a difference between questioning a choice and calling someone a traitor, right?

      • Get real, choosing a team to play a game for, does not rise to the level of treason. I think Beitashour is a very good fullback and that is a position the US has shown some weakness and roster thinness in of late. I would like for him to remain in the US fold to at least provide some depth. However, I understand his decision; the chances that he would see the field for the US in the WC in either 2014 or 2018 are very small. Iran has wanted him for quite a while and he has until now answered only the US calls, but since those have stopped coming, a chance to play in the WC is something he could not take lightly.

    • I agree. How does Steve Beitashour even get to play in the MLS? I’m surprised a true American like Wondowlowski doesn’t just refuse to play on the same field as him.

  12. at 26yrs old, good move for him. He would never start for us. Gonzales, Besler, Cameron, Goodson, JAB. Now George John needs to do the same.

    • He is not a center back, he’s a right back, so it’s more that he is in competition with Evans, Chandler, Cameron, Yedlin, Licaj, and others.

      I’ve got no problem with it, it’s not like he’s going to burn us in qualifying or something. he might as well gain that experience, since he probably would have been not more than a bit part player for the US.


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