Oct 3 2014

Cosmos' Hagop Chirishian battles for a starting spot

Updated October 3, 2014 9:14 PM
By MICHAEL LEWIS. Special to Newsday

Cosmos midfielder Hagop Chirishian plays a position that includes
some of the team's best players. So breaking into the lineup certainly
is not an easy task. When the Cosmos host the Indy Eleven at Shuart
Stadium at 8 p.m. Saturday in their quest of a North American Soccer
League playoff berth, Chirishian hopes he will be among the starting
eleven or at least among the substitutes.

You have an interesting name. Where does that come from?

My parents are from Armenia. It's an Armenian name. It's very common
to have that name because of my background . . . It doesn't translate
into anything, but every person who has that same name their middle
name is usually Jack. For some people it might be hard to pronounce my
name, so I go by Jack. I don't mind that at all.

How tough is it to break into the lineup?

It's difficult. Everyone every day has to give 100 percent. We have a
very talented group of guys. One mistake and you might either be
starting or the next thing you know you might be on the bench. Every
day you've got to be consistent. Our group of guys are good, they're
very talented. So all we [can] do is give a hard decision for our

How much does pressure does it put on you in practice because so much
is on the line?

There is a lot of pressure, but you can't overthink it. You just have
to go out there and do what the coaches ask you to do and everything
will fall into place for you.

When you are on the bench, how do you view the game?

Usually, first I will look as if I was in the game, what position I
will be playing. I'll look at my opponent, try and figure out his
weaknesses and what my teammates are doing, what he's doing well or
what's getting past him. I'll analyze all that stuff. At the same
time, you just have to have go out there and not overthink everything.
Everything will fall into place if you keep everything simple.

How did you join the Cosmos?

In California I did a tryout, with a team. The Ventura County Fusion
was hosting a lot of NASL and USL teams. Alecko Eskandarian was out
there. He told me to come out to the tryouts in New York. I did
another tryout in front of Gio . Then they offered me a contract.

When you were growing up was Alecko a favorite of yours?

It's funny. When he played with Chivas USA, there was Armenian
Heritage Night. After the game he did pictures and autographs and I
ended up taking a picture with him. He probably doesn't remember me.
There has been only a handful of Armenians in MLS. Of course, he was
one of them that I looked up to.