Danny Karbassiyoon: Former Arsenal Player Now North American Scout
Karbassiyoon is an Iranian/American who went from being a youth soccer player hoping to play college soccer at an ACC school to training along side Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal, and eventually playing against Manchester United at the Theatre of Dreams.
Sadly, after playing for Arsenal's reserves and making a few appearances with the first team, including scoring this game winner against Manchester City, Karbassiyoon retired from football after spells with Ipswich Town and Burnley due to a serious knee injury. It's too bad he couldn't recover and at least play four or five years in the MLS.
There's a fantasic interivew with Karbassiyoon over at The Original Winger, here are parts one and two. It's a great read. He's also writing a book about his experiences playing at Arsenal.
Here are a few quotes from the interview:
That’s pretty crazy. I have to ask about that first training session with the first team. What was that like? – It was crazy, awesome, a dream come true is the only way to describe it. When I turned that corner to come out on the pitch, the first team had just started jogging and you see all these guys that you have watched on TV. But for them, it’s just their team. I think they had 5 World Cup winners at the time. All of a sudden I’m in there running next to them. As much as you want to just take it all in that you are running next to these guys, you have to realize you are there to do a job and that technically you want to knock them off their spot.
That’s a pretty remarkable story. One day you are playing for your local club team in Roanoke and a year and a half later you are playing for Arsenal against Manchester United. – The park I would play at in Roanoke was called the Vinton Vineyard. I joked with a couple friends that a year and a half ago I was playing at The Vineyard and now I’m playing at Old Trafford.
What was the best atmosphere you were ever involved with? - That Arsenal v United game was incredible. It’s so loud there you can barely hear yourself think. I had never been to Old Trafford before and when I walked out of the tunnel it was just incredible. You had to scream on the field just to be heard. When I came on as a sub I heard this cheer developing and I had no idea what they were saying at first. Gael Clichy was coming off the field from the opposite side of the field so it took some time and the chant was growing. They were singing “who in the f@%#*n hell are you?’ 70,000 people singing this over and over. It took 3 or 4 chants for me to realize they were literally asking who I was. That was just ridiculous.
Who is the best player you have played with? – I would have to say Robert Pires. He was absolutely fantastic. If you watch him he’s really awkward, he runs with his feet out. But he never lost the ball. He always side footed the ball, hardly ever uses his laces. He’s just such a smart player and I loved playing with him. Whenever I had to mark him in training it was a nightmare.