On the pitch, Steven Beitashour’s 2017 season couldn’t have ended on a higher note. His Toronto FC side won everything on offer, becoming the first MLS team to capture a domestic treble with the lifting of the MLS Cup in December. Off the pitch, Beitashour was a pending free agent. And despite his team’s success, he’d been asked to take a pay cut for the 2018 season.
“I told Toronto before the season, similar to what happened in Vancouver, if you want me to stay here, let’s just get a deal done before all the teams start calling in to my agent. Unfortunately, they wanted me to take a big pay cut,” Beitashour said after an LAFC training session. “Having a good year and winning MLS Cup, with everything that we did, it’s tough to justify.”
Originally drafted by San Jose in 2010, Beitashour spent four seasons with the Earthquakes were he quickly became known as one of the League’s top defenders. After two seasons with the Whitecaps, a trade sent the right back to Toronto before the 2016 season. During Toronto’s treble-winning season, Beitashour featured in 22 matches including playing the full 90 minutes of team’s MLS Cup victory.
Beitashour admits he was happy with his surroundings in Toronto, but after rejecting TFC’s offer this offseason, he said a large number of teams contacted his agent. The process of deciding where to move his family was difficult, but the prospect of returning to his native California was exciting.
Conversations with Bob Bradley and John Thorrington sealed Beitashour's decision to move to LAFC.
“They are genuinely good people, and they expressed what they wanted for this Club and this city,” Beitashour said. “Obviously, it’s an expansion team and it is going to be different from what you’re used to. They had this picture in mind. It was a good picture and I wanted to be part of it. And that’s the exciting part about this whole process.”
The second free-agent signing in Club history, Beitashour joins a roster at LAFC with players spanning 10 different countries as their place of birth. As a dual-national born in the U.S. to Iranian parents, Beitashour has played six times for the Iranian National Team including being a member of the 2014 World Cup squad.
The chance to be a part of such a diverse Club, in the heart of a diverse city, was another selling point for the former TFC player.
“They always say football is the world’s sport, and you have a glimpse of it right here with how many different nationalities we have at the Club,” Beitashour said about joining LAFC. “I’m excited to be in LA. I know there is a huge Iranian population here, I think it’s almost a million or around 800,000. They don’t call it ‘Tehrangeles’ for no reason.
“I’m excited to be here. I know I’ll have huge backing.”