Every time Yura Movsisyan returns to southern California, it is a major event for his family and friends. For much of his youth, Movsisyan lived among a large Armenian community in Pasadena, California, and each time he comes back with Real Salt Lake, it is like a celebration of the great things he has accomplished and his Armenian heritage.
This week, that celebration will reach new heights, as Movsisyan comes with Real Salt Lake to the StubHub Center to face the LA Galaxy on Saturday in his first match in California since he left MLS in 2009.
“It’s something that we’ve waited a long time for, especially after all of the success we’ve had with the Armenian National Team,” Movsisyan said, anticipating over 1,000 of his countrymen in attendance in addition to the friends and family he will have in tow. “It’s a beautiful thing and a great opportunity for Armenians and the Armenian community after a long break for me to go back and play there and have them come out and watch. We are very passionate about soccer.”
In each of his previous three MLS seasons with the Kansas City Wizards and RSL from 2007-2009, he was greeted in matches against the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA with a healthy contingent of fans in his MLS and Armenian National Team jerseys. The pride he has in that heritage and in providing something for his countrymen to cheer for is palpable as he searches for the right words to express his love of Armenia and its people.
Each trip creates a buzz in that community and Saturday will have an added dimension to it. Adding to the sense of Armenian pride is the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide – which wiped out as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. The anniversary of the start of the genocide, which took place in what is now Turkey, is honored each year as Armenians remember and celebrate the people who lost their lives in a horrible time in Armenian history.
Movsisyan is happy to Provide a positive outlet for that celebration and create awareness for the horrific events.
“I will never be able to explain the feelings and the thoughts that go into it,” he said. “In our culture and in our history we’ve seen a lot of dark times but that was the worst one. It’s a day we will never forget. To be in LA and to play the day before that day, it’s a very special day. I’m very privileged not only to go to LA and play in that game, but to be there for that day is special for me and my family and every Armenian around the world.”
Movsisyan has one goal in six matches for RSL after returning to the Claret-and-Cobalt on loan from Spartak Moscow in the off-season. The last time he faced the LA Galaxy was in the MLS Cup final in 2009, seeing Movsisyan lift the MLS Cup in Seattle in his last MLS game before his return this season.