Peter Skouras signed at a young age to play for the famed San Diego Sockers winning several titles along the way, and that experience propelled him to be one of the first americans to sign in Europe.
ES: Any distinct memories of youth sports in childhood
PS: Tennis, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer. Beverly Hills National Little League All Star, United States Youth International U-15, U-19. Captained first ever u-15 US National Youth Team in Montaigue Tournament from which I signed on with Brighton & Hove Albion of the English First Division as an Apprentice Professional.
ES: Apprenticeship in England. What is expected of an apprentice in terms of duties and such, and how were you treated as an outsider.
PS: An Apprenticeship consists of everyday custodial work in and around the ground, cleaning of professional’s boots, baths and dressing rooms. Training is with the first team/reserves and matches are with the youth and reserve teams. The main element which in contrast to the United States is that, it’s a full time environment from morning till evening. If you do not meet the grade you will be released. As an outsider, at first it was a bit difficult, however, if you can do it on the pitch, all is well and you can earn the respect of the others quite quickly.
ES: At what levels did you represent the USA?
PS: At U-15 and U-19. I remember the Soccer Festival in Colorado Springs like it was yesterday. There were over 70 players there for a roster of 22 who would compete in the CONCACAF Tournament to determine which teams would head to Australia for the U-20 World Cup. The teams were split in West, East, North, and South. We were all called into a room and the team was announced in front of everyone. I was fortunate to be called into that squad and then compete for the USA in qualifying for that U-20 World Cup. We lost the CONCACAF final against Mexico but still qualified as the runner-up.
ES: What is like to be part of the Club that is the most successful in American soccer history? The San Diego Sockers. What do you remember most about the Championship seasons ?
PS: Lots of good players, much pressure to win and nothing else…and very few North Americans which saddened me, but I was still proud to be a part of.
ES: You played with and against some of the most historic players in Soccer, if not some of the Greatest. What are your immediate thoughts on players like Pele, Best, Cubillas, Beckenbauer, Marsh, Eusebio, and of course your own teammate Kaz Deyna.
PS: Firstly, fantastic individuals…no egos, no hang-ups simply, very helpful and humble. God given Talent! Simply magic !!! The things that they could perform not only in practice, but in real match conditions were amazing
ES: What was it that made them better than the rest?
PS: Exposure to the world class arena in their countries. The training and games that they were brought up with was far different than what we had/have in this country. Professionalism was drilled into them at such an early age to respect their craft, and the history of the game that came before them.
ES: The Olympiakos experience. Start with playing the scrimmage against the 1st team, and playing so well that you were moved to the 1st team at halftime for the second part of the scrimmage.
PS: I guess God touched me as I could not stop running and did nothing wrong…they came to see Sestic and I showed him up in front of 5,000 at the Olympiakos training ground! They rushed me into the dressing room for a shower and then to the Olympiakos Offices for the contract signing. I signed as a Greek citizen.
ES: Explain the stadium atmosphere at a derby like Olympiakos vs perrenial powers and rivals AEK or Panathinaikos.
PS: You need to block it out because it is incredibly hostile…you need to focus on the field and nothing else, but unfortunately it just doesn’t happen that way. In a derby (rival) week there is so much pressure on a player, especially a young one, who’s just trying to get a place in the team. There is a bonus structure for being part of the listed squad for the game that weekend, so everyone wants to be included. Then comes the pressure in training to prove you belong there over another player, and the desire to get in that rival game and prove yourself. The week of a rival game, the city is buzzing, and the players can feel it all around them. Training sessions have a bigger crowd, and the press is all over every move that’s being made. It’s great when finally Saturday comes, and the squad is locked up at a hotel for the concentration & focus to begin for the Sunday game.
ES: Any funny stories from your professional experiences?
PS: I was at FC Solingen waiting to speak with Eckard Krautzen who was the Coach at the Club and to ask for a trial since he knew me from my time with the Sockers. Eckard was with the Edmonton Drillers. As the game was going on and the stadium was packed, the PA announcer kept announcing something over and over.
I went to the dressing room to meet Eckard and he agreed to grant me a trial. When I went to get my car as it was pouring rain, there was no car!!!!! Where is my car I asked? It’s been towed they told me…they were announcing this the entire match!!!