Know Your Opponent: Iran
Northern Virginia United and Northwestern University midfielder Bardia Kimiavi is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran. He was a fixture for the Wildcats for five seasons, tallying an astounding 4,931 minutes of play in 79 games (65 starts). He finished with eight career goals and nine assists. A true playmaker, he contributed four game-winning goals during his time at NU. Kimiavi has experienced a globetrotting journey that has taken him to play in Germany, Italy, and Spain, including a trial with Malaga CF in 2016.
Kimiavi was kind enough to sit down with NPSL.com to talk about Iran and the upcoming World Cup.
Who is your favorite player for the Iran National Team?
My favorite player on the Iranian National Team is Alireza Jahanbakhsh. He’s a dynamic attacking player who can run the flanks or play in the middle. He played in the Premier League for Brighton before heading back to the Eredivisie to sign with Feyenoord.
Who are the Iran players that fans should watch for?
Along with Jahanbakhsh, some other players to watch include Saman Ghoddos (defender, Brentford), Sardar Azmoun (forward, Bayer Leverkusen) and Mehdi Taremi (forward, FC Porto).
What are your expectations for Iran in the World Cup?
I think Iran will shock a lot of people this year. They’re in a tough group with England, Wales, and the U.S., but I think they have a great chance to advance and make some noise in the knockout rounds.
What is your prediction for the U.S. vs. Iran?
Iran will win 2-0.
What does Iran need to focus on to succeed at the World Cup?
With all the political turmoil that the country is going through, there will be plenty of things on the players’ minds aside from soccer. Ideally, the team will be able to take advantage of their platform at the World Cup to advocate for social change back home, but it’ll be crucial for them to fully focus on the game when they step on the field.
Photo Credit: Ryan Kuttler/NUSports.com