Hometown/first soccer experience: Born in Macedonia, a small town called Struga where I played street soccer from 6 to 15 years old. At 15, I came to the USA and got involved in club and high school soccer, moved on to Division 1 college soccer, tried out professionally, and ended up playing semi-pro.
Family: I am married and have two beautiful children named Elijona and Rijan. I have 3 sisters and 41 first cousins all around the world about my age, and they all have children around my kids ages–you can imagine the rest.
Years of Coaching: 13, I started as a graduate assistant at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, worked my way up to become an assistant coach there, and now I am living and working my passion.
Favorite Team and why: FC Barcelona, because I like the way they play and because I have been influenced and mentored by a great friend of mine Albert Capellas, Former FC Barcelona Youth Coordinator who has worked and developed the likes of Inesta, Buesqets, Pique.
Favorite Player and why: Ronaldinho. Because he brought joy to the beautiful game.
Coaching Education: I hold my United States Soccer Federation (USSF) B License and USC Advanced National Diploma. I plan on going all the way up the ladder. I am a big believer in this quote: “The day we stop learning is the day we start dying.” Albert Einstein
Why did you start coaching? Because I could not imagine my life doing something else. I had my own business for 5 years, and I gave it up just so I can come back to doing what I love full time and all the time.
Coaching Role Models/Mentors: I have 2 that have inspired and influenced my career and my thought process.
Albert Capellas, former FC Barcelona Youth Director and current Under 21 Denmark National Team coach. I speak with Albert every week and every team he continues to push me beyond my limits. I have learned from him that Soccer is a world where “nothing is the most important and everything is necessary.” This concept alone is the biggest difference between coaches that understand the game and long term player development and the ones that don’t.
Jeff Pill, A license instructor with the US Soccer federation and head coach at Maranatha Baptist University. The way I met Coach Pill is a little bit unique. He was my instructor for my C license. I liked his method of teaching so much that when he failed me I was eager to get in contact with him just to continue learning more from him. I reached out after the course. We continue to meet on a monthly basis and continue to strive forward. Jeff has taught me that there is “a” way to do things in soccer and not “the” way. I continue to evolve as a coach with that mindset.
Favorite Coaching Memory: I usually cannot wait to see the players in action. The more I watch, the more I understand and enjoy the game.
What are your hobbies outside of soccer? I love to go outside for walks, and play with my kids. I love to wake up very early in the morning and go to a local coffee house where I am the only one there. I like reading about the game when it is quiet while drinking a latte from a ceramic glass.
Favorite Book: Good to Great, Culture Code, Pep Confidential.
Did you play other sports growing up? A little bit of basketball but not much. Soccer was not only the dominant sport but also the only sport.
What is something people may never guess about you? English is my 3rd language.