Since joining Indiana Elite FC coaching staff three years ago, girls Director of Coaching Semir Mesanovic has seen what he considers “tremendous growth.” What started as two girls teams within the club has now blossomed into five teams with more than 80 young women athletes. The successes of these teams on the field has “Coach Semir” and his teams gaining popularity and being highly sought after, while setting their sights on some tournament cup goals.
Of the 5 girls teams Mesanovic now coaches, U8, U12, U14, U16, and U18, three teams have qualified for a championship cup during the semifinals and finals, and will play on June 1-3 in Westfield, IN. “We are expanding through hard work and dedication,” he said. “We hope to reach MRL level on the girls side, representing the state, and hopefully competing at the state championships next year. It would be an extreme honor for these young ladies to achieve that.”
During a qualifying tournament in May, Indiana Elite FC U16 and U18 girls teams competed and advanced in the Presidents Cup semifinals and finals in their divisions. Mesanovic says his current U16 team is undefeated this season, and extremely dedicated and hard-working, trying to take their playing to the next level while remembering the importance of receiving a good education. “They understand that school always comes first, and with hard work and dedication to both school and soccer, everything else will fall into place,” he said.
“Last year, our U18 team had the success of winning the Presidents Cup and representing themselves and the club at the regional level in Kansas City. They were outstanding,” Mesanovic said. His teams are past Challenge Cup winners at the U12,U14, and U16 levels. “A lot of college coaches came and watched them play. It was an amazing experience.”
Additionally, Mesanovic’s U12 girls team has qualified to compete for the Indiana Soccer Challenge Cup, a championship tournament open to teams from the state of Indiana. The team advanced to the quarter, semifinals and finals in their division, and will also play June 1-3 in Westfield, IN.
Born and raised in Bosnia, Mesanovic, fondly known to his teams as “Coach Semir,” is a former professional soccer player with more than 10 years on the field professionally with Canadian U18, U20, and Senior National Teams. He says it’s this experience on the field and being around highly competitive athletes that shaped him into the coach he is today.
“I have had the experience of representing Canada internationally as a player against the best players in the country. I know and understand what it’s like to play under a lot of pressure, being in high school, graduating high school, and dealing with a lot of the craziness that a teenager regularly experiences,” Mesanovic said. “I am very understanding of this young generation, and I feel that I’m still young at heart.”
Growing up, Mesanovic says he always looked up to his cousin, dad and uncle mainly because they all played sports at a very high level, and they were outstanding individuals outside of sports. As far as coaching goes, Mesanovic considers IEFC President and Director of Coaching Novi Marojevic to be his mentor. “I look up to him greatly with so much respect. I have had the opportunity to share ideas with him, see his mental toughness, and watch his love for the game and all that he gives to the kids.” Mesanovic said. “I truly admire him.”
Mesanovic’s long term goal for IEFC’s girls program is to compete at the highest regional and state levels, provide guidance and leadership skills to the girls to excel both on and off the field, and work toward giving his team the skills and experiences needed to play at the college level. Along with those aspirations come strong leadership, sacrifice, hard work, and determination, according to Mesanovic. “We need to teach our kids the leadership skills to excel, and with all of that comes hard work and sacrifice. One day, perhaps we can all see them play at the college level while getting an education to do something they really enjoy doing,” he said. “That’s why I love coaching.”
Youth and high school players are invited to try out for Indiana Elite FC’s 2018-19 fall, winter, and spring teams. Tryouts for the girls’ teams will take place at the IEFC fields, 4901 E. 109th St., Crown Point, IN, at the following times:
- U10 and younger girls (2009 and younger) - 5–6:30 pm - June 5,6 and 11th
- U11, U12, U13 girls from 5–6:30 pm - June 11, 12, and 13;
- U14, U15, U16 girls from 6:30–8pm - June 11, 12, and 13;
- U17, U18 girls from 8–9:30 pm - June 11, 12, and 13.
“I am excited for the tryouts coming up. We have so much interest guided toward us which is extremely great and satisfying as a coach,” Mesanovic said. “We are looking to be extremely busy. The club is really growing, especially on the girls’ side, because of how we prepare our teams and our successes.”
Mesanovic strives to be a great role model for his athletes and their families. “We all want the best for the kids always, and even through the games can be quite intense, it’s important to be respectful and polite with one another,” he said. “We teach the kids to have great sportsmanship, so at the end of the day, we remember that it’s just a game – the beautiful game of soccer.”
ABOUT THE CLUB:
Based in Crown Point, Indiana Elite FC is dedicated to challenging soccer players to achieve success on and off the field through professional-level training and educational initiatives to engage and support the whole student-athlete. With some of the top professional coaches in the area, our teams have been showcased throughout the Midwest and across the country, competing in places such as Las Vegas, Arizona, Dallas, and Florida. IEFC is 1 of two clubs in the state of Indiana participating in the National Premier League (NPL), and is affiliated with the MRL, the USL’s exclusive Super Y League, Indiana Soccer League, and the Northern Illinois Soccer League.