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Antonio Joaquin Boghossian: The Next Armenian Superstar?

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(A.W.)—The story of Antonio Joaquin Boghossian starts in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1987. Born to an Armenian father, he signed with Club Cerro as a youth and quickly moved up the ranks. In 2005, he made the first team squad, scoring 6 goals in 25 appearances.

Antonio Joaquin Boghossian

After a brief, one year loan spell with fellow Uruguayan side Club Progreso in 2006, he returned to Cerro in 2007, scoring 10 goals in 24 appearances. With that, he helped Cerro qualify for the Copa Libertadores Tournament in 2008, the most prestigious club competition in South America. (Think of it as the Champions League of South America, bringing the best clubs on the continent together to compete for the trophy for best club.) The winner qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup, which encompasses all of FIFA’s continental champions and determines which team is the best in the world.

In 2009, Boghossian left his little hometown club and moved to Argentina to play with Newell’s Old Boys. Again on loan, he hoped to impress and to make the move to Argentina a permanent one. Impress he did, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances, and becoming the third leading goal scorer in the Argentinian Apertura. Boghossian led Old Boys to second place, losing first place by four points. Needing a win against struggling side San Lorenzo in the final round of play, Old Boys came out flat and lost 0-2 in front of their home crowd.

However, because of the Old Boys’ record and Boghossian’s scoring, in both the Apertura and Clausura, they received a berth in the 2010 Copa Libertadores.

Both the Apertura and Clausura are separate competitions within Argentina’s first division. At the end of the year, the combined results from both competitions are added and averaged. The best four clubs gain a spot in the following year’s Copa Libertadores.

Standing at 6’5”, Boghossian quickly became a noticeable figure in Argentinean football, and was deadly from corner kicks and cross balls into the 6- or 18-yard box. But once his loan spell at Old Boys expired, and the latter didn’t make his move permanent, Cerro sold him to the Austrian Club Red Bulls Salzburg, the sister club of the American MLS side New York Red Bulls.

Saying goodbye to South America was difficult for the 22-year-old striker, but Boghossian knew his talents needed to be showcased on international football’s greatest stage: Europe.

This current season, 2010, is his first year with Red Bulls. Boghossian signed a four-year contract upon arrival, securing his future at the club and a spot on the first team. He came flying out of the gate in his first game, with precise tackling and blistering, deadly shooting.

Although he only has one goal to show for all his efforts so far, he is a force to be reckoned with and a nightmare for opposing defenses to guard against. His skills have greatly improved in a short amount of time—and it was no shock that Uruguay’s national team took notice. Cracking the under-20 team in the 2007 Sudamericano—the under-20 South American national competition—Boghossian led Uruguay to a third place finish (Brazil won first).

For most kids who grow up kicking around a football, the goal is to one day play professionally. For the fortunate few, like Boghossian, who accomplish this goal, the next dream is to represent their country in international play. This is where his story gets complicated.

Boghossian has played with Uruguay, the country of his birth, for only the under-20 national team. As a striker, he has very stiff competition to crack the first team squad. 2010 World Cup strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez are young and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This means that Boghossian needs to be patient and wait his turn—or does he?

Being of Armenian descent, he has an option. Like Yuri Movsisyan (who was born outside of Armenia and played for the U.S.’s under-20 squad), Boghossian can join the Armenian National Team. A player who has origins in another country can choose to play for that country instead of his birth country.  Once the decision is made, however, and the player makes an appearance for the other country’s first team, the player can never again play for another country.  With Armenia, Boghossian can learn from Movsisyan, Edgar Manucharian, and Marcos Pinheiro Pizelli. He will be playing, which is what he wants to do, and Armenia—currently in third place in Group B of the 2012 Euro Cup Qualifying, two points behind Russia, their next opponent on March 26—will have more weapons to use in their enhanced, refined, and upgraded squad.

It would be a match made in heaven to see Movsisyan and Boghossian manning the front line, and Pizelli and Manucharian in the middle, while the defense stays steady with captain Sargis Hovsepyan as the anchor, and goalie (the ageless) Roman Berozovsky the last line.

That Armenia, with his help, could qualify for Euro Cups and World Cups may be a little ambitious on this writer’s part, but what’s wrong with a little ambition?

19 Comments on Antonio Joaquin Boghossian: The Next Armenian Superstar?

  1. Very nice article Anto jan , but you forgot about the maestro Henrich Mkhitaryan and the wonderkid Hrach Yakan ! It would be a dream come true if Armenia qualifies for the world cup .
    Trek hayer trek tebi Hayasdan !!!

  2. Manucharyan plays wing not center. Also there is the Turkish born Aras Ozbiliz who has expressed desire to play for Armenia. He is one of the best young talents of Ajax, and will add more value to our attack than Boghossian. Boghossian will surely add another dimension to our front line, but we can qualify for Europe without him.

  3. Good read!  I remember you wrote a similar piece in the fall.  So what has changed now, if anything, are there talks to get Boghossian to play for Armenia?  I hope it isn’t the FFA that is not taking the chance on getting Boghossian.

  4. Agree with Hayk. Beside that Brazilian Marcos is not yet a leader of our national squad midfielders, he scored his first goal to Andorra- only during the last game in 2010 qualifiers.
     Sure, Boghossian can be a good surplus to Armenian national team, but he is still undecided as whom to choose-Uruguay or Armenia? Though its pretty obvious, that he hasn`t any chance to be intvited to his native country`s squad, and not only because of the strong competition in Uruguay national team offence line, but mainly because of his own very poor performance in Europe(Austrian Red Bulls) past year. Armenian FF had contacted  Boghossian several times, but this guy is still thinking. Armenian fans from all over the world had even made a very nice video clip, calling on Boghossian to join Armenia, but Khoakin only said that he was very touched and very much pleased with that clip…There is still no any answer from him. In one of his latest interviews he again mentioned that opportunity: if not Uruguay, then Armenia. In the very rare times in the past season, when he appared on the pitch for Red Bulls, the Zalzburg  fans whistled at him. What is he or his agent are waiting for??  

  5. good effort reserching for this article.
    Correction: Yura never played for any kind of US national team.

  6. The FFA should try to get both players to play for their Homeland.  Boghossian doesn’t have a great shot at playing for Uruguay, and the same goes for Aras, who wouldn’t be likely to get called up by either turkey or the Netherlands.  If they were to play for Armenia they would actually start or at the least get some playing time.

  7. 2 AR: not it’s not FIFA this time. I guess the guy wants to make sure that he lost his options to play for Uruguay. I don’t blame him for this even though would rather see him in Armenian team. He would definitely add a supper power to our front line. Besides, the more players from outside of Armenia come to play for our National team, the more spirit and energy they bring to the rest of the team and fans. I hope that he makes the right decision- the one that suits him for the rest of his life. Good luck to the boy regardless of his decision!!!

  8. To AR. Aras has much better chance to play for Holland, than Joaquin Boghossian for Uruguay. Aras is only 20 and he already plays for Ajax, whereas Boghossian is playing basically on the substitutes` bench, and even not always is on the list of Red Bulls. But the good news are, that Aras Ozbilis has already agreed to play for Armenia. It is said that his Armenian passport is ready and hopefully he will appear for our team against Georgia in the friendly match on Feb. 9 in Cyprus!
    Bad news are that Boghossian is stil considering all the options and most probably will return to Argentine, where some teams want him. It will be much more difficult for him to come to Armenia from Latin America than from Europe. Besides, our  Armenian Football Federation can`t wait for his final decision forever and most probably is not going to invite him any more…I quess, that now is Boghossian`s turn to ask for joining our National squad! I will be only happy, if we have a 197cm striker in the Armenian front line!

  9. AR are you Armenian?

  10. Razmig:  I probably would not be on this site if I were not :)

  11. avatar Antranig Dereyan // January 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm // Reply

    Hey guys
    Just wanted to say, thanks for following my writings. I just wanted to write and confirm that Aras Ozbilis has agreed to play for Armenia. Almost all of the international football(soccer) sites list his national team as Armenia.
    Also, I know that it is a long shot for Boghossian to play for Armenia, it is the main reason why I wrote this: to explain why he should play for Armenia and not wait for an opening on The Uruguayan National Team.
    More stories to come shortly, working on a few profiles on other Armenian footballers, including Henrich Mkhitaryan, a story on an Armenian-American surfer and still researching what happened to Armenia’s ice hockey team being suspended by the International Hockey Federation.
    Thanks again guys and keep your eyes open to armenianweekly.com for more of my articles.
     

  12. avatar Antranig Dereyan // January 12, 2011 at 11:31 pm // Reply

    One more thing about The National Football Team:
    They are now ranked 59th in the world by FIFA, which is a jump of about 40 places from their previous ranking.

  13. Thank’s a lot, Antranig! It is not very often I read sports articles in Armenian Weekly, so it is a very happy news for me. Also, would like to say, that my son, born in US, almost nine years old now, wants to play for Armenian National Team… Well, we have a long way to go on that one, but … who knows, maybe he will. At least, I will take him in a few years for tryouts to Yerevan.
    In every sport we have to help Armenia to show it’s strength – which is actually all of Armenias children all around the World.
    Thank’s again!

  14. avatar Vanessa Kachadurian // January 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm // Reply

    Antonio is 6’5″ is tall to play soccer, maybe he should play basketball.
    The Armenian Soccer team played in Fresno and are fantastic for the size of population that Armenia can pool form.
    Good luck to Antonio wherever he decides to play.

  15. Good article, but you forgot about leader of Armenian National Team Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and about best armenian player 2010 Karlen Mkrtchyan, who is central rock of our NT

  16. ‘As a striker, he has very stiff competition to crack the first team squad. 2010 World Cup strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez are young and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.”
     
    End of story.
     
     

  17. avatar Roberto Mouradian // July 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm // Reply

    Why Boghossian should play in Armenia? Armenia is a team without history or present and full of mercenaries. He should for Uruguay, because hes uruguayan and uruguay is one of the best football teams in the world currently.

  18. avatar Arsen Babayan // September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am // Reply

    Roberto, you’re asking why Boghossian should play in Armenia? I’ll answer you that for the exact same reason for which Jaari Litmanen played for Finland, Eidur Gudjonsen played for Iceland, Ryan Giggs played for Wales and Kevin-Prince Boateng recently chose Ghana over Germany…
     
    I’m sure you have forgotten, but beside all that you’ve mentioned there things in the world (they still are) called “homeland” and “patriotism”.
     
    There are very good national teams around that can barely afford one team packed with high-class players. A moment comes in the history, when all the representatives of the nation get together forming great teams. Remember Bulgaria of 1994… that would not be one of the best football teams in the world at their time, if Stoitchkov, Lechkov, Balakov and Kostadinov chose to play for other national teams – which was much easier then, than it is now.

  19. Diego Forlán is young???
    He is 36 years old !!!

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