Farbod Rayegan walked onto the field at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University Tuesday night hoping for an opportunity, the same reason why he moved to the United States from his native Iran when he was 11 years old.
Without a club team and playing for Mount St. Michael in the CHSAA ‘B’ division, Rayegan desperately needs exposure, which is where the fifth annual CHSAA boys’ junior soccer clinic comes in.
The diminutive forward from the Bronx made the most of his chance to play in front of 15 or so college coaches, scoring four goals in the three 30-minute halves.
Rayegan was one of 30 players to compete in the clinic, which drew Division I, II and III coaches alike. Soccer has always been a big part of Rayegan’s life, especially growing up in Iran.
“Back in my county, it’s all about football,” he said. “It’s the No. 1 sport. As a kid, we usually play on concrete. When I came here and they told me that we play on grass, I thought it was pretty cool for me. It’s more comfortable.”
The 5-foot-6, 120-pound forward and his mother, Zohren, joined his father Farhad, in America six years ago. Already he speaks fluent English, has a 93 average and has earned first honors at the Mount.
Like the other 29 players to compete on Tuesday, Rayegan is hoping to use the CHSAA boys’ junior soccer clinic as a vehicle to succeed on the soccer field.
Queens College coach Joe Misso said, “Ideally, we should have more than one of these because in one evening you’re just looking lump sum. I think if we were able to see these players two or three times, we could already start to create a rapport.”
According to Catapano, there could be some changes as the clinic goes forward, including possibly involving the PSAL or the private school leagues. That could draw a bigger crowd of college coaches and increase the level of play on the field.
However the clinic changes in the future, Rayegan is appreciative of the chance to showcase his abilities.
“Mount St. Michael is Division B and nobody looks at us, but I’m trying to get into a good college,” he said. “At least I could show myself.”