Alecko Eskandarian grew up in New Jersey, but now the MetroStars are the enemy.
Allen Kee/MLS/

A day in the life of ... Alecko Eskandarian

As we get ready to play the MetroStars this weekend, I feel a little bit strange. On one hand, I am from New Jersey and grew up watching the MetroStars as a fan; but on the other hand, I'm all D.C. United now, both as a player and in my heart.

I grew up in Montvale, N.J., a half-hour from Giants Stadium. I have a lot of pride in being from Jersey, as I think everyone from there does. It was great watching the MetroStars as a kid, because they were the only professional team in the area. Our family had season tickets and we went to every game, cheering as hard as we could. It was tough rooting for them the first couple of years because they were pretty terrible, but they were my hometown team.

When I was drafted by D.C. United, it was bittersweet because my parents were really hoping I'd play for the MetroStars. It was closer to home, and it would have been nice to follow in my dad's footsteps and play in Giants Stadium.

But personally, I was very happy to be drafted by D.C. When I was in college at the University of Virginia, I fell in love with the area. Washington is close to home and school, and I have a lot of friends in the area. I've been given a really great opportunity, and I'm totally D.C. United now.

As far as the rivalry goes, I don't have any real hatred towards the MetroStars, but I want to win nonetheless. I knew about the rivalry growing up. As MetroStars fans, we hated D.C. and knew that they hated us. As a player, I'm more involved in the rivalry. Every time we play the MetroStars, I want to do everything I can to make sure we win. Pride or not, it's personal now. I want to win.

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