How it all started
Total Elite Soccer Training was founded in October 2017 by Sanel Dzafic, also known as Sonny, who came to the US from Europe when he was 19. Growing up in Bosnia, Sonny spent all his free time training on his own to improve as a player since there were not many other options and having a personal coach was unlikely. After Sonny's playing career ended, he felt the urge to give back to the soccer community in Iowa. This inspired him to create Total Elite Soccer Training to provide something that he never had growing up. Sonny and the team work together to develop players aged 8-25 in Iowa and help them become elite players through customized personal training. They believe that each player has a next level to reach and that Total Elite Soccer Training is the ideal place to achieve this.
Sanel "Sonny" Dzafic
Soccer has always been an important part of Coach Sonny's life. He has both played and coached the sport. As a child growing up in Bosnia, soccer played a significant role in his life. He would spend hours practicing and honing his skills, constantly striving to improve his game. Whether he was playing with his friends in the streets or on a competitive team, soccer was always at the forefront of his mind. It became a passion that he carried with him throughout his youth and one that continues to inspire him to this day. During his stay in Germany, he played in an amateur league as a junior. Once he moved to the US, he played for Roosevelt High School for a year, during which he received a varsity letter. He then received a full scholarship at Grand View University, where he played for four years and even played semi-pro for the Des Moines Menace. Coach Sonny has coached numerous soccer clinics and summer soccer camps, working with children aged between 6 to 18 years old while attending Grand View University. He also served as a volunteer head coach for the U of Iowa Men's Soccer Club for two years. Coach Sonny enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gained over the years with the next generation of soccer players, watching them improve every day. He currently holds a 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. He has been conducting individual and group trainings for quite some time now. He has been a member of the coaching staff at Iowa City High School. Coach Fernando enjoys giving back some of his experience and making an impact on younger players.
Coach Shae was born and raised in Wheaton, IL. Shae played for a few clubs growing up, and ultimately ended at Sockers FC (SFC) where she played for 3 years. She played for her club year round where her team competed in the DA league, playing against the best competition in the country. She and her team had an undefeated season her senior year, and made it to the National Championship in 2022. During her time at SFC, she was named a top 30 player in the midwest region. After graduating from Wheaton North High School in 2022, Shae continued her education and soccer career at the University of Belmont, a small D1 school down in Nashville, where she committed to as a junior in high school. She started nearly every game at Belmont, and after finishing her freshman season, she transferred mid-year to play in the BIG 10 conference here at the University of Iowa. She just finished her sophomore season, winning the BIG 10 Championship and having a great season with her team! Shae is studying business marketing and will be getting her real estate license in the next few months. Soccer has been a huge part of her life since she was 5 years old, and she is excited to pass along the love she has for the sport with all the youth players.
Intern Volunteer Coach
Coach Brandon was born and raised in Leicester, England. He started playing soccer at Birstall United FC at the age of 4 and then moved to Allexton New Parks FC. At age 15, he was scouted by Mansfield Town FC and played for the academy for 2 years. At the age of 17, he decided to move to the United States. He played for Hawkeye Community College and holds the all-time assist record. He also received first-team conference honors in his sophomore year, along with two-time player of the week. One in the conference and one recognized nationally. He then transferred to Mount Mercy University for his Junior and Senior years and will be graduating in May 2024. In the summer, Coach Brandon plays semi-professionally for the Cedar Rapids Inferno. He is member of coaching staff at Mount Vernon High School. He has been in love with this sport since an early age and is passionate about it. Therefore, he would like to selflessly share his experience and knowledge with others.
Intern Volunteer Coach
Coach Ensar was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He began playing soccer at the age of four and at the age of five, he joined the youth academy of the most prominent club in Bosnia, FK Zeljeznicar. He played for the same club throughout his youth and was even promoted to play with older generations of players, gaining a lot of experience playing against older competitors. At the age of fifteen, he received an invitation to join the U-16 National Team of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After playing three games, he was promoted to the U-17 team, where he traveled all over Europe and played against different countries such as Wales, Azerbaijan, Finland, Czech Republic, among others, with some games being for the U-17 European Championship. At the age of eighteen, Coach Ensar decided to come to the USA to play college soccer. He spent his first year at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and then transferred to Mount Mercy University. This season, he played for the Mount Mercy Mustangs as a sophomore. As soccer has been an enormous part of him since he was only four years old, he would like to share his insights and experience with all aspiring soccer players.
Macy was born in Hilliard, Ohio and has played soccer since the age of 4. She always loved the goalkeeper position and has grown with it throughout her career. She played for Ohio Premier at age 12 up until age 18 where she competed on the ECNL teams throughout those years. During her high school season she played for Hilliard Bradley where she mainly played as a forward to focus more on her ability to play with her feet, which she always knew would help her in goal. Her sophomore year of high school she committed to play at the University of Iowa and has been the starting goalkeeper since halfway through her freshman year. She has been apart and played for both B1G tournament champion teams at Iowa and was the B1G Defensive MVP of the tournament in 2021 and was named first team all north region in 2023. She plans to play professionally after she graduates with her masters in sport and rec management and wants to go into coaching following her career. She loves teaching the sport and seeing the players she coachs fall in love with the competitive and passionate environment and hopes to share her experience and knowledge with those she trains.