AFC Cleveland is proud to announce Mike Sesar as the new Head Coach of the club.
“We’re thrilled to bring Mike on,” said AFC Cleveland President/CEO Terry Lawriw. “He has a wealth of soccer experience and a deep understanding of the soccer community here in Northeast Ohio.”
Sesar grew up in London, Ontario, Canada, and is a 4-year letterman graduate of the University of Windsor. After college, Sesar went on to play professional outdoor soccer with London City (Ontario, CA) and Windsor Border Stars (Windsor, CA). He also played professional indoor soccer with the Border Stars and was in the squad for their national championship victory. Sesar has also played locally for Cleveland Croatia SC and Cleveland Concordia SC before bridging his playing career into coaching.
Sesar brings over a decade of head coaching experience at multiple levels to AFC Cleveland. He began his head coaching career at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin High School in 2005 and spent 9 seasons at the helm, before becoming the head coach of Cleveland Croatia SC in both the youth and senior squads. He has also served as the head coach of the Cleveland Soccer Academy’s Y League, and he is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
In addition to the years of experience, Sesar has gone abroad to study the game – mostly in England and Croatia. He has learned directly from professional coaches at the highest level, including Rene Meulensteen of Manchester United.
Coach Sesar’s background is strongly rooted in the development of young players, and his staff coming on the staff are cut from the same cloth.
“My two assistants are bringing a great deal of experience in the local soccer scene,” says Sesar. “They will help me build a solid squad that will compete in the NPSL and hopefully repeat as champions.”
Sesar’s Assistant Coach is Brian Murphy. “Brian and I share a common philosophy on the way soccer should be played,” notes Head Coach Sesar. “We are constantly communicating and challenging one another to be better coaches through our experiences with the game.”
The Team Coordinator under Sesar will be Zvone Raguz. Sesar notes, “Zvone has worked hard in the local soccer scene and is always looking to help young players achieve their goals.”
In addition to Murphy and Raguz, Noulis Siamidis will also be returning from Greece as goalkeepers coach for the 2017 season. Siamidis coached at the club in 2015 and has recently returned from Europe with UEFA coaching badges.
AFC Cleveland President/CEO Terry Lawriw highlights Coach Sesar’s background as a vital stepping stone in the club’s development with the community.
“One of our goals is to connect with the community and really tap in to the network of youth clubs and players in Northeast Ohio,” states Lawriw. “There are so many clubs with great players that hope to make it to the next level, and we want to be able to provide the platform for those players to realize that dream. Coach Sesar and his staff will push us forward in reaching that goal.”
As Sesar takes his next step in coaching to the NPSL level, he comments on the league as a whole as well as his excitement to begin with AFC Cleveland.
“The NPSL has experienced immense growth in the last 5 years and has offered local players the chance to test themselves, especially for the college players who want to work on their games in the offseason. I am excited to join an organization that has experienced growth and success in such a short time. I look forward to representing the city of Cleveland, and I think it is important to remember that all of our players come from local clubs that helped produce their talent and passion for the game. It is very important to recognize this work.”
As the season draws closer and a title defense mounts, Sesar looks to 2017 to build off of a successful 2016 campaign on and off the pitch.
“I would like to thank Terry [Lawriw, AFC Cleveland President/CEO] for this opportunity, and I look forward to the support from the 6th City Syndicate and all of the fans. I am hoping that 6th City Syndicate grows and we can build on the success from the 2016 season.”
The 6th City Syndicate and all AFC Cleveland fans can see Coach Sesar and his staff in action for the first time on May 13th as the Royals take on Dayton Dynamo at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online now for a discounted rate compared to day-of-game prices at afccleveland.com/tickets