Copyright ©, L.A. Galaxy
An interview with Arash Noamouz of the L.A. Galaxy
by John Manley
Los Angeles, California
On April 13, Major League Soccer debuted in Los Angeles. A crowd of 69,000 witnessed a 2-1 victory by the Los Angeles Galaxy team over the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars.
The Galaxy features many talented players including the flamboyant Jorge Campos and Andrew Shue (that former good guy turned bad boy on the popular U.S. TV series, “Melrose Place”).
But it was the Iranian Arash Noamouz who scored the game winner for the Galaxy. Noamouz is 28 years old, former member of the Iranian National Team , who lives in Houston, Texas. His soccer experience in the U.S. was gained as a player in the indoor soccer league in 1994 and 1995. He recently earned a bachelor's degree in textile engineering. He spoke to The Iranian:
Q: How did it feel to score the winning goal in the second half of the game?
NOAMOUZ: It was great. It was our first game and all the players felt a lot of pressure to win. We had a 1-0 lead but that was not enough. Once I scored the second goal all the players felt relieved. After that we could play in a much more relaxed manner.
Q: Will you continue to play for the Iranian national team?
NOAMOUZ: No. In Iran when a player leaves the country, he is no longer allowed to play for the national team. They only use the players staying in Iran because they want to encourage the players to remain there and play for the local clubs. I came to the United States after Iran failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup (Iran lost to Saudi Arabia 4-3 in the qualifying round).
Q: You also played for Paas in the Iranian first division?
NOAMOUZ: Yes. PAAS is one of the best teams in Iran and has won the Asian Cup two times and also the Iranian League Championship three times. I played three years for them.
Q: You went to Polytechnic University of Tehran. Did you play for a team there?
NOAMOUZ: Yes. I played for four years for them.
Q: The first professional soccer league in the United States did not succeed. But now, the U.S. has successfully hosted the World Cup and soccer has gained a lot of attention. How do you feel about Major League Soccer's prospects?
NOAMOUZ: When I saw all the fans in the last game it was great. We had 70,000 at the game. The league needs the support of the fans. I am so happy that people have come to the stadium and shown their interest. I am really sure that the league will continue to improve.
Q: MLS games will not end in ties. A team winning in regulation will get 3 points and just 1 point for a victory in a penalty shootout. What do you think of this point system?
NOAMOUZ: The MLS has come up with a good idea for the time being. It's a new idea. People will be interested in seeing what will happen with it. People will want to see what happens in the shootouts. Teams also have a lot more incentive to win in regulation rather than playing for the tie. I think it is a fair system. You can earn 3 points for a win in regulation and just 1 in the tie breaker.
Q: You are listed as either a defensive back or a midfielder. Do you have a preference?
NOAMOUZ: Well, in Iran I played left midfielder. Here, when I sent my resume to the team they (the Galaxy) asked me if I would play left defensive back. My main position, however, is left midfield.
Q: You are an offensive-minded defensive back. Jorge Campos wants to play forward too. With you two, will anyone play defense on this team?
NOAMOUZ: (Laughter). Well, Jorge Campos likes the way I play. He always tells me to just get the ball and go forward because he knows that I can do it. Actually, at half time our coach asked us to play wide and really attack the goal. He asked the left midfielder to play inside so that I could have the space to operate.