Interview with Alecko Eskandarian

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Interview by: Josh Staph

STACK: Take us through your pre-game preparation, starting the day before?


D.C. United forward and 2004 MLS Cup MVP Alecko Eskandarian talked to STACK about what fuels his fiery style of play. Learn how he handles being sidelined by post-concussion syndrome and, when healthy, how he preps himself for games with hefty doses of tunes, grub, sleep and inspiration.

Interview by: Josh Staph

STACK: Take us through your pre-game preparation, starting the day before?

Eskandarian: The day before the game is very important to me. We usually train for a couple of hours in the morning, then I go home and try to get in a good nap to rest my legs. I like to eat a decent lunch and then a good dinner that night. I always go to the Cheesecake Factory the night before a game for a big bowl of pasta with some vegetables and a salad.

I make sure I get a good night of sleep—about 10 hours. I get a decent breakfast in me and then eat a lighter lunch. I usually try to eat some pasta so I have enough carbs to get me through the game. After that, I lie down in bed and put my legs up for about 20 minutes to get the blood out of them. I listen to music and get ready for game time. It's always something fast-paced—usually hip-hop to get my emotions running high. I have a couple of CDs I listen to. It just depends on what is going to get me hyped at that moment.

STACK: Is there anything you try to do as game time gets closer?

Eskandarian: I didn't have an easy road getting to where I am. So, before every game, I splash some water on my face, take a look in the mirror and just think about my family and friends that I represent—especially the ones who may have passed away or wish they were in my position. It's something I never forget to do, and it is a huge source of motivation for me.

I try to keep it simple and loose and the same each day, starting when I wake up and eat. I always shower and shave on game days, so I can look good on TV for my mom. I like to remain relaxed. I try to avoid getting into arguments so I can keep a clear head. I make sure I take care of tickets and all that the day before, so I can keep my concentration on the game.

A major thing I do each game day is call my dad. He was a pro soccer player too, and he is my biggest influence. So I like to give him a call when we are on the bus or getting ready for the game.

STACK: How do you keep yourself mentally focused and positive while you are sidelined with the concussion?

Eskandarian: It's really tough. It is probably the hardest thing I have had to do. I remember back in college, whenever I was hurt, it was tough for me to sit and watch a game. I am a pretty emotional guy, and I want to be out there helping my team. With this injury, I can help the team by talking to them, but it doesn't compare with being out there with the guys. I try to let them know that I am there if anyone needs to talk. Right now, I am talking to the young guys who aren't playing a lot and are frustrated. I try to get them to work hard in practice and stay focused, to keep the starters sharp. With post-concussion syndrome, it takes awhile to get back. I don't even know how much longer I will be out, so I take it day by day.

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