AMIR KETTANI | ASSISTANT COACH / GOALKEEPER COACH
Amir Kettani is in his fourth season as assistant coach at Cleveland State. He returned to the school where he was part of the coaching staff in 2008 and a student-athlete from 2002-04.
During the 2015 season, Kettani helped Aleksandar Drobac lead the Horizon League in both goals against average (0.73) and save percenteage (.828). Drobac ranked among the top 20 in Division I in both categories and only got better as the season went along as he allowed two goals over the team's final eight games.
Kettani has previously worked with Alan Kelly, who was the goalie coach for the Irish National Team, and has also worked with Dan Gaspar who is presently the goalkeeper coach for the Iranian National team.
He has also been an integral part of the Cleveland International Developmental Academy coaching staff, working as a goalkeeper coach with the U-14, U-16 and U-18 teams. During his coaching tenure, Kettani worked with Charlie Horton, who was a member of Leeds United, who played in the English League Championship. Horton is also on the U23 U.S. National Team.
Kettani attended Ashland University playing in the 2001 season at goalkeeper his freshman year and then transferred to Cleveland State where he played from 2002-2004. In 2004, he earned First-Team Horizon League honors as a goalkeeper and was a co-captain and team MVP during his final season.
VISHNU MAHARAJ | ASSISTANT COACH
Visnu Maharaj enters his fifth season on staff at Cleveland State in 2018 and his second as an assistant coach. He was promoted to assistant coach following the 2016 season after serving as the Director of Operations for the previous three campaigns.
Maharaj, who primarily works with defensive players, helped the Vikings reach the Horizon League Tournament Semifinals during the 2017 season. Cleveland State won its Tournament quarterfinal match with a 4-0 victory at Wright State, the largest margin of victory by CSU in its Horizon League Tournament history. The Vikings also became the first team since 1999 to win a HL Tournament contest by at least four goals as the lower-seeded team in the match.
With Maharaj’s assistance, the Vikings improved over 50 places in the RPI from the season prior. Cleveland State played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, as its non-conference strength of schedule ranked 15th at the end of the regular season. CSU faced 10 teams among the top 101 in the RPI, the most in the League, as the Vikings faced three top-15 squads and two that advanced to the Elite Eight.
Maharaj was tasked with helping an incredibly young back line. In 13 of 19 matches, CSU started two freshmen at central defense. The Vikings also started three true freshmen on their four-man back line in both of their HL Tournament matches. Despite the youth, the Vikings allowed only 10 goals from the run of play in their final 16 matches of the campaign.
Primarily a central defender, Maharaj earned a pair of letters as a student-athlete with the Vikings (2012, 2013). In his time with Cleveland State, he was a key component of the CSU defense, appearing in 17 matches and making 13 starts. He helped the Vikings claim the 2012 Horizon League Championship and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Maharaj, who was forced to retire in 2013 due to injury, was the team captain of the Nashville Metros of the Premier Development League in 2012. He also played for Rocket City United of the National Premier Soccer League in 2010.
Maharaj was a member of the Venezuelan U-17 National Team and competed in the South American U-17 Championship in 2009, where berths to the U-17 World Cup were determined. He also competed in the U-15 South American Championship in 2007. In his youth international days, he played against the likes of Coutinho, Neymar and Casemiro.
Maharaj was invited to the residency program at Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academy and Columbus Crew Academy in his youth days. He played alongside Wil Trapp, a MLS All-Star for the Columbus Crew and U.S. soccer international, and Carlos Salcedo, a Mexican international player and member of Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.
In 2009, Maharaj was invited to preseason camp with the Colorado Rapids of the MLS but rejected an amateur contact offer.
Maharaj has also served as the lead coach for high school youths at local club CSA Impact United since 2015.
Maharaj earned a Bachelor's degree in international business in 2015 and a graduate degree in sports management in 2017, both from Cleveland State. He resides in downtown Cleveland with his wife, Victoria, one of the all-time winningest tennis players in Cleveland State history.
SINISA UBIPARIPOVIC | ASSISTANT COACH
Head coach Kirk Harwat announced the hiring of Sinisa Ubiparipovic as assistant coach in January 2018.
Ubiparipovic, who attended high school and college in Northeast Ohio, brought over a decade of professional playing experience and coaching stints at multiple youth clubs to CSU.
"We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to add Sinisa to our coaching staff," Harwat said at the time of his hiring. "His experience as a professional player in MLS and NASL is second to none, learning from some of the best coaches in North America. His knowledge of the game and experience is in line with what our program is looking for to continue to push us to the next level."
Ubiparipovic appeared in over 200 professional soccer matches, including an even 100 in the Major League Soccer (MLS) ranks with New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact.
Ubiparipovic was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft and went on to play four seasons with the club. He played in 12 MLS matches in his debut season and helped the Red Bulls qualify for the playoffs, where he featured in both matches his side played.
Ubiparipovic was a key piece to the Red Bulls' run to the 2008 MLS Cup Final under head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, the current Mexican national team manager. He started all four postseason matches in helping the squad to the first Cup final in franchise history. Ubiparipovic went on to play in 18 matches during a 2010 campaign that saw the Red Bulls finish in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Ubiparipovic moved to the Montreal Impact for the 2011 season and subsequently posted three goals and four assists in 10 matches, an effort that saw him recognized as the club's newcomer of the year. He helped the side transition into the MLS during the 2012 campaign while scoring a pair of goals on the season.
Ubiparipovic competed for the Ottawa Fury in 2014 and 2015, posting nine goals across 48 fixtures over the two campaigns. He helped the team to the Fall season title in 2015 by posting five goals and six assists in the campaign. The squad only lost once in the fall season and subsequently earned a berth in Soccer Bowl 2015.
Ubiparipovic finished his playing career with the Indy Eleven the past two years, seeing action in 34 matches. He helped the Eleven to an undefeated record in the 2016 Spring season and a berth in Soccer Bowl 2016, the second time in as many seasons he helped a team to its first Soccer Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Prior to this appointment at CSU, Ubiparipovic was a member of the coaching staff for the U-17 and U-18 teams at Cleveland Soccer Academy Impact United. He helped high-level youth players when he assisted with the Fury FC Academy while playing for Ottawa. Ubiparipovic has also helped out with Cleveland United SC on a seasonal basis since 2012, helping train and develop young players.
"Sinisa is also well connected in the Cleveland soccer community, which will go a long way in bringing the best local talent to CSU," Harwat said. "We are looking forward to integrating him into the CSU soccer family and are excited about the future of our program."
The first-ever player from Akron to be drafted in the MLS SuperDraft, Ubiparipovic began his collegiate career at fellow Horizon League member UIC before transferring to the Zips program after one season. Ubiparipovic was a two-time All-American for Akron and was named the 2006 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year under then head coach Caleb Porter. Ubiparipovic scored 42 goals as a collegian, including a career-high 17 during his junior season. While with Akron, Ubiparipovic and Harwat were teammates under head coach Ken Lolla.
Among the numerous teammates Ubiparipovic had in his professional career were former France national team captain Thierry Henry, current Mexico national team captain Rafael Marquez and former United States national team captain Claudio Reyna.
A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ubiparipovic earned a Bachelor's degree from Akron in sociology and criminology in 2006.