Last weekend, we kicked off our fall development season with a win versus Temecula FC. One of the newest members of the Battalion Squad is Armand Bagramyan. Let’s get to know Armand!
You’ve mentioned that David Villa, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho inspire you, can you talk a bit about how these players influence you?
I grew up watching David Villa score goals every weekend for a club that wasn’t as big as Barcelona and Real Madrid but he would always score against them for years. He proved that he didn’t need a big club to become one of the best strikers in the world because he won the World Cup with Spain and currently has the most goals in Spanish history. Even though he broke his leg in his second season at Barcelona, he worked harder than ever to return and still be a top player. Now that he is in MLS still scoring goals, he’s been a major influence on how I play and approach the game.
Messi is Messi. There will never be a player like Messi but he inspires me from how well he controls the game and how well his attitude is on and off the field. I like to emulate him on the field as best I can because it’s truly a gift to watch how he plays so consistently.
Ronaldinho was one of the first players that caught my eye as a young boy. He brought joy to the game every time he stepped on the field. No one in that era had the skills and dominance like Ronaldinho did. He always reminds me to enjoy stepping on the pitch every time you do because it’s a gift to be able to play soccer at a competitive level. Most of the skills I’ve learned have come from watching Ronaldinho and his ability to take on players so easily teaches me to do the same.
When you left the U.S. to play in Spain at age 16, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Some challenges I’ve faced is leaving my family and friends behind at an early age in order to pursue my lifelong goals of becoming a professional soccer player. When I left to Barcelona, Spain I joined RCD Espanyol’s academy. I left behind everything at home because I knew what an opportunity it was to be at this academy, especially as an American. I suffered a lot the first few months, being alone in a country I had never been in. Luckily, when I stepped on the field I didn’t think about anything but playing my best and becoming the best. However, off the field, I had a lot of rough nights without my family and friends. Being there for several months, I matured me very fast and I became a lot more experienced as I turned 17. Everything I learned in Spain, on and off the field, I brought back with me to the states and made me a better player and a better person overall.
Tell about your typical day in San Diego.
I usually revolve my days around soccer. I go to the gym at least 5 times a week doing exercises and workouts that help with my physique as a soccer player. I tend to watch a lot of games on my down time, and of course play FIFA religiously.
When did you realize that soccer was more than just a game for you?
I think I realized soccer was more than a game when I was scoring 5-6 goals a game at the age of 13-14. People watching my games saw what I had and would always tell me I had something special. I never thought it would be a life-long career but as time went on it seemed more and more realistic for me. After European clubs scouted me, I knew that this was something I could definitely do.
Coming off your first match with Battalion and scoring two goals on October 2, what do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Battalion squad?
I want to help NC Battalion accomplish all of their short term and long term goals. I think I bring a lot to the table in terms of ability and being versatile in the attacking areas. Personally, I’d like to be able to score every game and let the country know that NC Battalion is a rising club that they should know about.