Farhad was born in Tehran following the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Realizing that Iran was no longer a beneficial place to raise a family, his parents decided to try and come to the United States. As the Iranian hostage crisis and diplomatic ties between Iran and the U.S. worsened, the decision to move to the United States became easier, but increasingly difficult to achieve. His parents spent the next 15 years saving money and searching for countries with U.S. Embassies in order to apply for a Visa.
It wasn’t until 1994 that Farhad’s family was approved for a Visa to the United States. Farhad and his family flew to Los Angeles where they would start their new life in Orange County. Farhad recalls being enrolled midway through eighth grade at Imperial Middle School in Fullerton. At that time, he did not speak one word of English. The next few years would prove difficult. In addition to the huge language barrier, life in the states was a culture shock.
With the difficulties Farhad faced adjusting to his new life, there would prove to be one thing essential to his acclimation. “I found sports to by my savior,” said Farhad. He played soccer, water polo and swam. He also fell in love with the Los Angeles Lakers. His family could not afford cable TV at the time, so Farhad would follow the games on the radio. He vividly recalls listening to hall of fame Lakers announcer Chick Hearn on AM 570 KLAC, and falling asleep to the same station listening to oldies and jazz music. Farhad believes the combination of listening to the radio and the ESL classes he took in middle school helped him pick up English quickly, and also lose his accent. By his junior year in high school, Farhad was accustomed to English and comfortable reading and speaking before his classmates. In 1999 he graduated from high school with honors.
In 2001, Farhad and his family moved to Portland. He spent the next several years traveling abroad. Farhad returned to Portland in 2007 and graduated from Portland State University a few years later. While Farhad was in college he was approached by a friend to see if he wanted to make some extra money officiating soccer. Of course, he agreed. He started in 2008 as a Grade 8 referee (the designation for entry level officials) where he would often officiate between four to eight games per weekend. Today, Farhad is a Grade 4 National Referee, which enables him to officiate games at the national level including professional soccer. One of his most memorable games was a United Soccer League match between the Portland Timbers 2 and the Sacramento Republic 2 played in Portland at Providence Park. It was the first time his father was able to see him officiate a game in person.
After college, Farhad sat down with his dad to discuss a career in banking. In the Iranian/Persian culture, it is common for children to get the blessing of their parents for pretty much anything. So, with his dad’s approval, Farhad landed a job as a teller at U.S. Bank, with the hope of building a strong foundation for a long-term career. Now with MBank, Farhad has five years of banking under his belt and is working toward becoming a member of the senior management team. He is currently enrolled in the Oregon Bankers Association’s Executive Development Program, an intensive year-long course designed to cultivate and prepare future banking leaders.
On top of his full-time banking career, Farhad takes the physical fitness aspect of refereeing very seriously. He spends Monday through Friday running, lifting, studying, and mentally preparing for the next match. On the weekends, he is up at 5 a.m. to watch his beloved English Premier League. He admits that officiating is a major time commitment, which can have an impact on his personal life. In order to enjoy officiating as a hobby, Farhad manages his time very delicately.
His hard work and commitment have allowed him to pursue his professional goals while doing something he loves. “Having a hobby that is not related to one’s primary career is very important,” states Farhad. “After a stressful day or week, a hobby can rejuvenate and energize you, and officiating has been that tool for me. I also love soccer.”