EAST WINDSOR, N.J.― Former Major League Soccer player Alecko Eskandarian will deliver the keynote address at the New Jersey Youth Soccer awards dinner in Pines Manor in Edison, N.J. on Friday.

Eskandarian played for several teams in MLS and was an assistant coach with the Cosmos.

“I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at this year’s NJYS awards dinner, and I look forward to passing down some of my life experiences to the next generation of players in New Jersey,” Eskandarian said. “As a youth soccer player from Northern New Jersey, soccer, particularly the Olympic Development Program, was my pathway for development that led to being part of the youth national team program, receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, and ultimately being a professional soccer player.”

Eskandarian grew up in Montvale, N.J. and attended Bergen Catholic High School. Following his senior year, he was selected as the 1999-2000 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year. He also was named an NSCAA All-American and the New Jersey player of the year after leading the state with 66 goals and 15 assists in 25 games. He registered 154 goals playing for Bergen Catholic, the third highest mark in New Jersey high school history. Eskandarian attended the Virginia and won the 2002 MAC Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the top college soccer player in the nation.

Over three seasons with the Cavaliers, he recorded 113 points on 50 goals and 13 assists in 60 matches. He is a three-time NSCAA All-American.

Eskandarian was selected by D.C. United with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. In his second season, he led United in goals and helped the club win the 2004 MLS Cup. He scored twice in four minutes, the fastest two goals in MLS Cup history. Further, Eskandarian was named the MVP.

Over his seven-year professional campaign, which included stints with Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy, the two-time MLS all-star tallied 30 goals in 125 appearances.

After his playing career concluded, Eskandarian became an assistant coach for the Cosmos and helped the team win the North American Soccer League title in 2013. He was appointed as head coach of New York Cosmos B in 2015, where he guided the club to an undefeated record and the National Premier Soccer League.

Currently, Eskie works with MLS in its player relations and competition department.

“We are so fortunate that Alecko will continue the recent tradition of world class New Jersey talent delivering the keynote address,” NJYS president Evelyn Gill said. “In recent years, we have been lucky to have Jill Loyden, Christie Rampone, Yael Averbuch and Carli Lloyd highlight this event. Alecko has done so much to represent New Jersey throughout his career, and we know he will help make this Awards Dinner one that the players, coaches, volunteers, award winners and other special guests won’t soon forget.”

Each year, New Jersey Youth Soccer hosts about 800 guests at its annual awards dinner, honoring New Jersey players, teams, coaches, referees and volunteers for outstanding performances and contributions during the preceding year. The evening also acknowledges many of the state’s boys and girls U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series, Presidents Cup and Commissioners Cup team champions, as well as players selected for the U.S. Youth Soccer East Region ODP pool team.