CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — This central Arizona desert town is a long way, culturally and geographically, from Iran, as is Vancouver, but new Whitecaps right back Steven Beitashour isn’t worried about distance affecting his shot at making Carlos Queiroz’s World Cup team.
“I think … it’s a matter of just playing,” he told Goal USA. “I’ve been on the radar. They see me, they know what I’m doing. I think it’s just the main thing of continuing to play and play well and hopefully good things come from that.”
Beitashour lined up at right back for the second half of a preseason match against the Seattle Sounders on Thursday, in which first-year Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson mixed veterans and younger players in his roster in both halves. The veteran hasn’t had much time to acclimate to the team since joining the Whitecaps from the San Jose Earthquakes on Jan. 27, but he was very vocal in the match, calling out instructions for both the center backs and the right side of the midfield.
“I try to talk as much as I can to help the guy next to me, and I hope that he carries that on to the guy next to him,” he said. “It’s kind of a team thing. The more you talk, the easier it gets for the guy next to you. I’ll try to just keep doing that as much as I can, hopefully it helps them.”
This winter, Earthquakes general manager John Doyle said Beitashour was hoping to move to a European club where he could continue boosting his World Cup stock, but the player says he is confident that an opportunity will come if he can get regular playing time with the Whitecaps.
The Iranian-American fullback made his debut for Team Melli in an October 2013 Asian Cup qualifier against Thailand, playing the final 14 minutes of the contest. He started and went the full 90 in subsequent victories against Thailand and Lebanon, helping to clinch passage into the 2015 Asian Cup.
Beitashour had previously been called into the United States’ camp by manager Jurgen Klinsmann in August 2012 before the Americans' friendly win in the Azteca Stadium (he was an unused substitute) and to the January camp in 2013. Beitashour, now 27, had to withdraw from that camp because of an injury, and said at the time of the switch that he felt his best chance of suiting up in a World Cup would come with Iran.
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