How it all started
Total Elite Soccer Training was an idea that became a reality in October of 2017. Founder and coach, Sanel Dzafic, you can just call him Sonny, arrived to the US from Europe at the age of 19. As a young kid growing up in Bosnia, he spent all of his free time training on his own in order to improve as a player, there simply wasn’t too many other options and training with a personal coach was a long shot. When his time as a player came to an end, he knew he had to give back. He wanted to give something to soccer players in the State of Iowa that he never had growing up and that’s when Total Elite Soccer Training was born. Coach Nikola Petrovic or Coach Nico, joined the team in the summer of 2021. Together, Sonny and Nico focus on developing players in the State of Iowa, aged 8-25, into elite players through customized personal training. They believe that each player has a next level and that Total Elite is the place to get them there.
Sanel "Sonny" Dzafic
Soccer has always been part of coach Sonny's life. Coach Sonny loves playing as well as coaching. While living in Germany, he played in an amateur league as a junior. After moving to the US, coach Sonny played for Roosevelt High School for 1 year where he received a varsity letter. After that, he received a full scholarship at Grand View University for 4 years and played semi pro for the Des Moines Menace. Coach Sonny has coached numerous soccer clinics and summer soccer camps with kids ranging from 6-18 years old while attending Grand View University, as well as 2 years as a volunteer head coach for U of Iowa Men's Soccer Club. Coach Sonny enjoys passing on the knowledge he has gained to the next generation of soccer players and watch them getting better every day. Currently holding National F coaching license.
Coach Fernando was born in Mexico, but grew up in Iowa City playing for IC Alliance. He played all 4 Varsity years at Iowa City High School. During high school he was named two-time all-state, two-time first team all-conference, and two-time Mississippi Valley Athlete of the Year. In 2009 and 2010 Fernando was selected to the Region 2 ODP team and was able to travel to Italy, Austria, and Germany to participate in an international tournament versus elite European academy teams. After high school he received a full scholarship to play division 1 College soccer at Western Illinois University where he earned several accolades including, Academic All-Summit League for the three straight seasons, two-time All-Summit League Second Team Selection, and CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team. Fernando spent 2 summers with the former Cedar Rapids Rampage United, and most recently was part of Iowa Raptors FC. Coach Fernando has also been doing individual & group trainings for the past 4 years. He has also been part of the coaching staff at Iowa City High School the past 3 years. Coach Fernando enjoys giving back some of his experience and making an impact on younger players.
Student Volunteer Coach
My name is Andrija Mijatovic, but you most likely know me as Coach Andi! I was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia. When I was about 6 years old, I decided to play soccer because I enjoyed watching my favorite player at the time, Ronaldinho. I fell in love with the game at first site and wanted it to play a big part in my life from then on. I started my carrier at NK Hrašće in my hometown because it was the closest and easiest for my parents. I have played at many other clubs till I reached the age of 14, like NK HAŠK which is the oldest club in Croatia founded in 1903, NK Ravnice, NK Maksimir, and finally NK Lokomotiva which competed in first Croatian league division prior to coming to the United States. Once I reached the United States soil, I was involved at CRSA club that I reached two state finals with and I also played for two years at Xavier High School reaching a semi-final and state final. I was part of the all-tournament team both times and have had a chance to be named 1st team all-state as well as athlete of the year in the conference. Following graduation, I have joined Mustangs at Mount Mercy University and have been part of the varsity team for last three years. I am currently getting a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science with minor in Sport Psychology as a Mustang. I wish to give all my knowledge, tips, and tricks that I have learned in 16 years of playing to all players that are part of our family at Total Elite Soccer Training.
Intern Volunteer Coach
Coach Ricky was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. At age of 5 he started playing soccer at FK Bubamara. After that, he moved to the most decorated club in Bosnia, FK Zeljeznicar. Playing for this club, he received the invitation for U17 national team. He also played semi-professional soccer for FK Bosna Sema competing in Second League before coming to United States. He played for Baker University as a captain his junior and senior year where he was named two-time Second Team All-Conference and two-time defender of the week. Coach Ricky is getting his master’s degree while assistant coaching for Mount Mercy Men’s Soccer program. He’s been in love with this sport since an early age and that’s why he would like to selflessly share his experience and knowledge with others.
Coach Grace was born and raised in Iowa City. She played for IC Alliance club. As a player for this club, she won the state cup in 2012 and 2016 and placed second in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Coach Grace attended Iowa City High School where she competed with the varsity soccer team all 4 years. During high school she was a three-time team captain and three-time team MVP. She made first-team all-state in 2016 and 2017. After graduating high school Coach Grace continued her soccer career in the Big Ten Conference with a scholarship to the University of Nebraska. She became an impact player right away starting 8 games for the Huskers in her freshman year. She was recognized as team captain during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Coach Grace received honors for the Academic All-Big Ten in 2018, 2019, 2020, & 2021. She was also a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2019, 2020, 2021, & 2022. She graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in child, youth, and family studies along with minors in education, coaching, and Spanish. She is currently working towards earning a master’s degree in education and her teaching certification. Soccer has been a part of coach Grace’s life for as long as she can remember, and she is looking forward to the opportunity to pass along the knowledge she has acquired as both a youth and colligate player.