YEREVAN, Armenia – Grande Sports Academy Class of 2013’s Tigran Tiraturyan is now a professional soccer player after signing a contract with Armenian powerhouse FC Pyunik.

“The feeling is incredible, all my life I have dreamed of playing pro and my hard work finally paid off,” said Tiraturyan. FC Pyunik is the most successful club in the history of the Armenian Premier League, winning five Armenian Cups, six Armenian Supercups and a record ten Armenian Championships in the league’s 22 year history. In addition, the club has qualified for either the UEFA Champions League or Europa League in every year since 2002.

“When I was at Grande Sports I would always watch Champions League and Europa League, so to be able to play on a team that could potentially qualify for the Euorpa League group stage is unreal,” said Tiraturyan. During the 2012-13 season with Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18, he scored three goals in 27 games played, earning 14 starts.

“My goal this year is to become a regular in the Starting XI,” said Tiraturyan. “It’s going to be tough but nothing is impossible, especially when you have friends and family supporting you every step of the way.”

After graduating from Grande Sports Academy, Tiraturyan moved on to college soccer, earning a scholarship at California State University – San Bernardino. His best performance of the 2013 season came against Chaminade, when he tallied two goals and an assist off the bench in a 4-0 win.

“I spent about five months in college and every night before going to bed I’d think, ‘Is this what I want to do?’” said Tiraturyan. “For me, soccer was becoming a secondary thing and I wasn’t ready for that to happen, so I had a chat with my parents and they fully supported my decision [to go pro].

“Grande Sports Academy helped me to become a stronger, faster and mentally tougher player. The coaches and staff push you to the limit and in order to grow as a person and a player you must always be pushed to the limit, so I thank everybody that helped me become what I am today.”

FC Pyunik are currently competing in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League against FC Astana, the 2013 runners up of the Kazakhstan Premier League. FC Astana won the first leg in Armenia 4-1 last Thursday. FC Pyunik will have a chance to turn things around this Thursday when they head to Kazakhstan for the return leg.

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