Q&a With Mohammad Khakpour

February 27, 2007

Amid the cold of Monday night, Mohammad Khakpour walks from a scrimmage game to an area where children are running through drills on a field behind Estancia High.

He delivers orders in a calm, yet stern tone that assuredly gets across to the boys and girls of his MK Soccer Club, the Newport Beach-based club that's in its fifth year. He doesn't appear to be out of place, though his background would seem to the contrary.

Khakpour was the captain of the Iranian team in the 1998 World Cup. He has been offered to coach elite level teams in Iran, but he's here offering a different concept on club soccer, while enforcing teamwork along the way.


During Khakpour's MKSC tryouts this week, he's taking every player who comes out. There are no qualifications required here.

"I believe you cannot tell 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-year-old kids, you're not good enough." Khakpour said. "I'm totally against tryouts. We have open doors for everyone who comes in. They are welcome. We are here to teach. We are not really looking for soccer players because these guys are just kids."

After the week's first "tryout," Khakpour, 38, spoke with Daily Pilot Sports Editor Steve Virgen and answered a few questions:

Question: What was it like to play in the World Cup?

Answer: For every soccer player it's a dream. When you play it's a dream come true. That was a great experience for me through my whole life. I can't completely describe it. For one second you think the whole world is watching you play, especially when you have the game against the United States (Iran won, 2-1), which people called the game of the century. It was a great experience.

Q: What do you think David Beckham can do for soccer in America when he plays for the L.A. Galaxy this summer?

A: I hope he can help soccer. In the past few years, we've seen big names from Europe and from all over the world come here and try to change or improve soccer, and bring more people to the stadium. Unfortunately, they bring players who are done. That is something missing. Hopefully, Beckham can help, because he's a big name and especially it's in the Los Angeles area and people love him. My wish is that he's here to play not here to have a good time. Probably he'll get a lot of people in the stadium. The MLS and Galaxy have to put him in the right channel so they can find a way he can bring people in for a long time, not just a short time.

Q: Why did you decide to make this club?

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