- American Dan Gaspar is part of the coaching team for the Iran football team
- Gaspar is a friend of Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese head coach of Iran
- The Portuguese-American has worked in the MLS and with the Portugal team
- Gaspar was part of the coaching team which qualified for the 2014 World Cup
Tehran (CNN) -- His wife advised him not to go. His friends said it was too dangerous. But in 2011 veteran American football coach Dan Gaspar ignored the warnings and traveled to the Islamic Republic of Iran -- Washington's longtime political nemesis -- to help Iran's national football team qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"Sports is my life," said Gaspar. "When I came to Iran it didn't have anything to do with political reasons. My personality is one of adventure and curiosity. I wanted to experience a culture in a part of the world I had never been to."
The goalkeeping coach's journey to Iran is the latest chapter in an international career that's taken the 58-year-old from the amateur football leagues in the U.S. state of Connecticut -- where he was born -- to the football capitals of the world.
The Portuguese-American's resume includes stints with Major League Soccer's NY/NJ MetroStars and the Portuguese national team -- featuring megastar Cristiano Ronaldo -- which qualified for the 2010 World Cup.
In 2011, Gaspar's friend and former colleague Carlos Queiroz was named head of coach of Iran's national football team.