CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland State University Director of Athletics Scott Garrett announced the hiring of Sinisa Ubiparipovic as head men's soccer coach.
Ubiparipovic, who attended high school and college in Northeast Ohio, will be elevated into the permanent position after serving as Acting Head Coach since mid-March.
"Coach Ubiparipovic has done an excellent job managing our men's soccer program this spring," Garrett said. "After having spent some time getting to know Sinisa, visiting with our student-athletes and evaluating the type of leadership our men's soccer program needs at this time, the decision was clear."
Ubiparipovic was elevated from his previous role as the program's top assistant. During the 2018 campaign, he helped the Vikings to a pair of wins over Power Five programs, the first such occurrence for the program in over 25 years. He also guided CSU to a win over eventual Horizon League champion UIC, one of just two defeats for the Flames in their last 19 matches against league opponents.
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get started," Ubiparipovic said. "I've taken something away from each coach that I've had, and I plan to mesh those ideas together for what best suits the program here."
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 was 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 former 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 was recognized as the club's newcomer of the year. He then helped the side transition into MLS during the 2012 campaign.
Ubiparipovic closed his career by competing with the Ottawa Fury and Indy Eleven over his final three seasons. He helped both sides to their first Soccer Bowl appearances in franchise history.
Prior to joining the CSU staff as an assistant, Ubiparipovic was a member of the coaching staff for the U-17 and U-18 teams at Cleveland Soccer Academy Impact United. He also helped train high-level youth players when he assisted with the Fury FC Academy while playing for Ottawa.
"Sinisa's performance since March, his familiarity with Cleveland and northeast Ohio and his background and achievements as a player, both collegiately and professionally, are characteristics that provide great value to our program," Garrett said. "What means even more though is how much he is invested in our student-athletes' growth and development, not only as soccer players, but as students and people as well. I am confident that Sinisa will be a role model for delivering a transformational student-athlete experience while competing for Horizon League championships."
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. He was inducted into Akron's Sports Hall of Fame in the fall of 2018.
"I want to grow the program and leave it in a better place than I found it," Ubiparipovic said. "We have to make sure the trend is upward—not only in results, but also making sure the right character student-athletes are here that are representing us well off the field."
Among the numerous teammates Ubiparipovic had in his professional career were former France national team captain Thierry Henry, former Mexico national team captain Rafael Marquez and former United States national team captain Claudio Reyna.
Ubiparipovic's brother, Slavisa, was a two-time All-Horizon League First Team honoree at Cleveland State in 2008-09.
A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ubiparipovic earned a Bachelor's degree from Akron in sociology and criminology in 2006.
What They're Saying About Ubiparipovic
"Sini is one of the most intelligent players I had the opportunity to play with in my career. He is a great friend and player who knew how to demand the most out of himself and hold his teammates to the same high standard. It has been no surprise to see his success already in his coaching career, and I am confident that he will take Cleveland State's soccer program to a very high level."
- Ryan Richter, Former Professional Player
(Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, Ottawa Fury FC)
"Cleveland State just hired an incredible coach and an even better person. As a former teammate with the New York Red Bulls of MLS, Sinisa and myself developed a great relationship both on and off the field where I could see early on that he was an astute student of the game whether it be discussing players, trainings or game tactics. He is well respected throughout the national soccer community, and I have no doubt that Sinisa will be a successful coach in all facets of leading a collegiate soccer program."
- Luke Sassano, Technical Director, FC Cincinnati
(Former teammate with Ubiparipovic with New York Red Bulls)
"Throughout my time as a player, Sinisa has been one of the sharpest footballing minds I've come across. As a young player, he was a veteran who took me under his wing and helped provide me with insights to better my game. Any program that gets someone with his character and playing background is going to take their program to the next level."
- Zarek Valentin, Portland Timbers, Major League Soccer
(Former teammate with Ubiparipovic with Montreal Impact)