Steven Beitashour is in his second season with the San Jose Earthquakes and is currently leading the team in assists with four. He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft and appeared in eight games in his rookie season.
Beitashour is a San Jose native and attended Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School, where he won the Pat Tillman Award, before heading to Southern California for college at San Diego State University.
Last week, Steven sat down with SJEarthquakes.com to discuss the local scene, his Persian and Assyrian roots and more:
SJEarthquakes.com: Being a local kid, how do you like playing for the San Jose Earthquakes?
Steven Beitashour: I love it. There’s nothing better.
SJEQ: What were your local hangout spots when you were at Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School?
SB: At Bret Harte, in eighth grade, I would hang out at “The Wall” on campus. At Leland, it changed each year. Each grade had its own spot. For my senior year, I was back on “The Wall” again.
SJEQ: Where are your hangout spots now?
SB: As far as going out, it’s usually Los Gatos, Santana Row or Campbell.
SJEQ: At Bret Harte Middle School, there were “Bronco Nights” on Friday evenings that were a combination of a school dance in the cafeteria or sports and activities in the gym. Were you lighting up the dance floor or playing sports?
SB: I would say a little bit of both, but I would mostly dance.
SJEQ: Do you ever miss San Diego or do you like being back in the Bay Area?
SB: Oh, I miss San Diego. But I love being in the Bay Area, too. I’ve had the best of both worlds.
SJEQ: Are you going to try your luck again at Golfland any time soon?
SB: I am ready. I’ve been back a couple times and I’m getting ready. Andrew Weber is going down.
SJEQ: On 90+ you said you would choose Persian food over Mexican food. What is your favorite Persian dish?
SB: Lubia Polo. It’s very tough to explain. It’s kind of like a stew mixed in with rice with an orange sauce. It also has green beans, carrots and a lot of spices, like saffron. All together, it’s very good.
SJEQ: Has the Persian community gotten behind you at all being a local professional athlete?
SB: Oh yeah. Tons of Persians and Assyrians, because my mom is Persian and my dad is Assyrian. The people who see my last name see it is Assyrian and are supporting it that way, and the people who know me that know I’m Persian support me greatly as well.
SJEQ: What kind of Persian traditions do you celebrate with your family?
SB: We do all the Persian traditions, as far as Persian New Year and fasting, which is actually going on right now. My dad is Christian and my mom is Muslim so they don’t force me to do it, especially because of soccer. So I’m kind of halfway doing all of the traditions.
SJEQ: What is the best place to get Persian food in the area?
SB: Ziba’s in Almaden. It’s a good place. One of my good friends growing up, his parents own it, so it’s nice going over there and seeing them.
SJEQ: What kinds of changes have you seen from your first year on the team to the second year? Any new outlooks?
SB: I’ve learned a lot more. And the biggest thing is knowing what to expect. As a rookie, I didn’t know what to expect so that’s nice now knowing what to expect when I come out here.
SJEQ: Chris Leitch was the last right back to lead the team in assists. Have you learned anything from watching him or has he given you any advice?
SB: Oh yeah he gives me advice every day. He’s been a great leader and mentor for me. I watch what he does and learn from him. I think that’s the best way to learn is to watch someone in front of you.
SJEQ: The Earthquakes Academy is starting to pick up, but unfortunately it wasn’t around when you were growing up. Do you wish there was an Academy for you to participate in when you were younger?
SB: Yeah, I wish there was. It would have been a good initiation when I was young. All the European teams have academies and it’s a great way to work their way up. I wish it was there when I was younger.
SJEQ: Lately the guys have been competing with throwback jersey Fridays. What’s your best throwback jersey in your collection?
SB: I have an old Clash jersey. The guys hate on the Clash but I love the jersey.
SJEQ: If you could have any throwback jersey, from any sport, what would you have?
SB: I would go with the Lakers MPSL baby blue one.