Coach Damir Culina founded Croatia Chicago SC in 2018 and has coached youth ages 5 to 13. Since its founding, Coach Damir's teams have had great success winning their team's divisions in YSSL and NISL and laying the foundation for the club's strong reputation in Chicago's North Shore and beyond.
Coach Adrian joins us from Barcelona, Spain, where he played 2 years for Club Sudanell. He received his coaching license in Spain and coached youth ages 3-9 years old. He was also the assistant coach for the Sudanell’s Men’s Team in Catalan’s 3rd division. Not only does Coach Adrian bring tons of coaching and playing experience to the club, he has a background in education. He works as a dual language elementary school teacher since 2018. His education background is a huge asset when working with and teaching our young soccer players. Coach Adrian is an avid Barcelona FC soccer fan and loves playing soccer, running, and any kind of physical activity.
Coach Stipe is a life-long soccer player and athlete, dedicated to providing high quality instruction to each young soccer player. He holds a U.S. Soccer Grassroots license and has coached youth 4 to 10 years old. As a native from the northern Chicago suburbs, he played for the Maroons SC, Green White SC, Shwaben SC, Hrvat SC, Zrinski SC. Besides soccer, Stipe is a health and fitness enthusiast who enjoys weightlifting and running. Outside the soccer, Stipe is a civil engineer and father of two sons, who are also in the program.
Coach Craig brings substantial playing and coaching experience to our soccer club. He played Division 1 soccer at Butler University, competing in the NCAA Big East Conference. He then joined the Indianapolis Twisters to play professionally in the Continental Indoor Soccer League. He holds a USSF "B" coaching license and coached for nearly a decade in Indianapolis (Indy Inferno / Carmel United) leading his teams to several State Titles. In addition, he managed Off The Wall Sports (an indoor sports complex in the Indianapolis area) for over seven years, where he coached soccer clinics for youth 4-18 years old. He grew up in the St. Louis area and attended Lindbergh High School. He was inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame for his extraordinary soccer career.
Coach Cathy brings nearly a decade of coaching experience and a wealth of playing experience to the soccer club. Prior to her time with Croatia Chicago/Little Checkers, she coached youth that ranged from 4 to 18 years old at Northwestern University’s Youth Summer Camp, Wilmette Wings S.C., Walter Payton College Prep, and YMCA. During college, Cathy played for Northwestern University Women’s Soccer team, competing in the Big 10 Conference. As a native of the Chicago northern suburbs, Cathy played for a variety of local soccer clubs and at Niles North High School. She still plays soccer for fun in a local women’s league. Off the soccer field, Cathy is a practicing attorney, a wife, and mother of two boys.
Coach Marin is a trainer for our 2016 travel boys. He is always fun and energetic. During his youth, he played for Zrinski SC, Hrvat SC, Team Evanston, and Fenwick High School. He continues to play soccer in local men's leagues in Chicago. Outside the soccer field, he is an engineer and a "big car guy" who loves to work on cars.
Coach Gabe has coached youth aged 3 to 11 years old for almost a decade with AYSO and Little Checkers. He currently coaches our 2016 Pre-Travel players. He brings the best out of our young players through his endless patience, positivity, and fun demeanor. Outside the soccer field, he has four sons who keep him busy and has an active hobby in racing cars!
Coach Ivan (aka "Juki") is the lead soccer coach for the players in our Little Checkers soccer clinic and developmental league. He coaches boys and girls, ages 6 to 9 years old. He creates a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for young players to have fun and learn the beautiful game of soccer. Coach Juki is the father of three children.