(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.
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?