Born: July 9, 1982
Town: Montvale, New Jersey
Alecko Eskandarian was born July 9, 1982 in Montvale. His father, Andranik, played for the Iranian national team and later the New York Cosmos of the NASL. Growing up in Northern New Jersey, Alecko learned the game from his dad and developed his talent on top travel teams. He followed the game across the Atlantic, picking Arsenal as his favorite club.
Alecko attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell and was a goal-scoring machine. He put 154 in the net during four varsity seasons with the Crusaders, including 66 in his senior season. That year he was named Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year for 1999–2000, and earned prep All-America honors. No one in the Garden State before or since has come close to his scoring totals.
Alecko attended the University of Virginia and played three years for the Cavaliers. In 2002, he set a school record with 25 goals and won the Hermann Award as the nation’s top college soccer player. He was also Soccer America’s College Player of the Year. He scored 50 goals in all for Virginia, and 15 of them were game-winners. Alecko was an All-American in each of his three college seasons.
In 2003, Alecko opted to skip his senior year and go pro after he was the first overall pick in the Major League Soccer draft. He scored three goals as a rookie for D.C. United and then led the team with 10 goals in 2004. Alecko netted four more in the postseason as United won the MLS Cup. Two came in a four-minute span during the title game against Kansas City, and helped him earn MLS Cup MVP honors.
A concussion sidelines Alecko for much of the 2005 campaign, but he returned to the field in 2006 to score 7 goals and be named an MLS All-Star for the second time in three seasons. D.C. traded Alecko after the 2006 season, and he bounced around MLS after that. He played for Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2010. A second concussion effectively ended his career.