Alecko Eskandarian to Deliver Keynote Address at 2020 NJYS Awards Dinner

Alecko Eskandarian

New Jersey Youth Soccer will host its 2020 NJYS Awards Dinner Presented by RWJBarnabas Health this Friday, January 31st, with a very special guest on hand to deliver the keynote address. Former New Jersey ODP and Major League Soccer standout Alecko Eskandarian will handle those honors for the event, which will take place at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J.

“I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at this year’s NJYS Awards Dinner, and I look forward to passing down some of my life experiences to the next generation of players in New Jersey,” said Eskandarian. “As a youth soccer player from Northern New Jersey, soccer, particularly the Olympic Development Program, was my pathway for development that led to being part of the youth national team program, receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, and ultimately being a professional soccer player.”

As a youth player, Alecko Eskandarian grew up in Montvale and attended Bergen Catholic High School. Following his senior year, he was selected as the 1999-2000 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year. He was also named an NSCAA/adidas All-American and the New Jersey Player of the Year after leading the state with 66 goals and 15 assists in just 25 games. He registered 154 goals while playing for Bergen Catholic, which is the third highest mark in New Jersey high school history. Eskandarian then attended the University of Virginia and won the 2002 MAC Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the top college soccer player in the nation. Over three seasons with the Cavaliers, he recorded 113 points on 50 goals and 13 assists in 60 matches. Additionally, he was named a three-time NSCAA/adidas All-American.

Following his standout college career, Alecko Eskandarian was selected by DC United with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. In just his second season, he led DC United in goals and helped the club win the 2004 MLS Cup. In that game, he scored twice in four minutes, which is the fastest pair of goals in MLS Cup history. Further, Eskandarian was named the MVP of that championship match. Over the course of his seven-year professional campaign, the two-time MLS All-Star tallied 30 goals in 125 appearances.

After his playing career concluded, Alecko Eskandarian became an assistant coach for the New York Cosmos and helped the team win a league title in 2013. He was then appointed as head coach of New York Cosmos B in 2015, where he led the club to an undefeated record and the National Premier Soccer League championship. Currently, the New Jersey native works with MLS in its Player Relations & Competition Department.

“We are so fortunate that Alecko will continue the recent tradition of world class New Jersey talent delivering the keynote address,” said Evelyn Gill, NJYS President. “In recent years, we have been lucky to have Jill Loyden, Christie Rampone, Yael Averbuch and Carli Lloyd highlight this event. Alecko has done so much to represent New Jersey throughout his career, and we know he will help make this Awards Dinner one that the players, coaches, volunteers, award winners and other special guests won’t soon forget.”

Each year, New Jersey Youth Soccer hosts roughly 800 guests at its Annual NJYS Awards Dinner, honoring New Jersey players, teams, coaches, referees and volunteers for outstanding performances and contributions during the preceding year. The evening also acknowledges many of the state’s boys and girls U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series, Presidents Cup and Commissioners Cup team champions, as well as players selected for the U.S. Youth Soccer East Region ODP pool team. Additionally, NJYS inducts a new member into the New Jersey Youth Soccer Hall of Fame, with previous inductees including Tony Meola, Christie Pearce Rampone, Tab Ramos, Carli Lloyd, John Harkes and Tobin Heath.

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