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La Cañada High's Armand Bagramyan keeps his eye on ultimate goal

After taking his game abroad, striker accomplished big things on return to La Cañada.

April 06, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High's Armand Bagramyan, 17, is the 2013 All-Area Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.
La Cañada High's Armand Bagramyan, 17,… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

After the La Cañada High boys’ soccer season ended in 2012, Armand Bagramyan, assuming his high school career was also done, set his sights on the professional ranks.

Spartans Coach Alex Harrison also figured the standout striker wouldn’t be back in his lineup for his senior season when he agreed to help train Bagramyan for a trip to Spain during the summer of 2012 — one he spent auditioning for European pro teams.

“When we finished last year’s high school season, he and I never stopped,” Harrison said. “I volunteered to train him daily for an hour to an hour-and-a-half five to six days a week for like four months.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought he’d be back. I was honestly banking on him not being back.”

While Bagramyan had an opportunity to stay abroad, receiving offers to play for Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol and FSV Frankfurt’s youth academy teams, he decided it was in his best interest to postpone a professional career, finish his education at La Cañada and pursue a scholarship at an elite NCAA school.

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“It was [tough] at first,” said Bagramyan, who was in Spain from August to November, of returning to high school. “I was thinking, ‘I want to become a professional soccer player eventually and this is the easiest way for me to do it. I am right here, I'm right next to the best team in the world, [Futbol Club] Barcelona, and I could be doing this right now, playing for one of the best academy teams.’”

Today, Bagramyan couldn’t be happier with his decision. The striker committed to play for UC Santa Barbara in the middle of his senior season — one that turned out to be historic.

He etched his name into La Cañada lore, breaking a 16-year-old record of goals scored in a single season with 43. Josh Henderson held the previous mark with 41.

The awards have continued to come in for Bagramyan, who was named the Rio Hondo League Offensive Most Valuable Player and an All-CIF Southern Section Division V first-team selection for the second year in a row.

Bagramyan, who’s currently competing on the Chivas USA youth academy team to prepare for college, was also selected to play in the CIF Southern California and Southern California Senior All-Star games and scored two goals in each contest, earning MVP honors in both.

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