CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland State University head men's soccer coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic announced the promotion of assistant coach Visnu Maharaj Tuesday morning.
Maharaj, who formerly served as a second assistant coach, will be promoted to the program's top assistant coach with this announcement.
"Visnu has been a valuable asset to the program for years now, first as a player then as a member of coaching staff," Ubiparipovic said. "His dedication to the program and professionalism is second to none. He also brings knowledge and experience in the game needed to help drive my vision of the program in the right direction."
Maharaj has served on the Cleveland State staff for the past five seasons, including the past two as a second assistant coach. He had previously served as the program's Director of Operations for the prior three campaigns.
"I would like to thank Director of Athletics Scott Garrett and Coach Ubiparipovic for this opportunity," Maharaj said. "I am fortunate to continue to grow as a person and as a coach in such a special place and under Coach Ubiparipovic. Our shared values, vision and objectives for the program and its student-athletes make this an unparalleled opportunity to continue broadening my coaching career."
During the 2018 campaign, Maharaj 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.
Maharaj, who primarily worked 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 in 2017, the Vikings improved over 50 places in the RPI from the season prior to him joining the coaching staff. Maharaj was tasked with helping an incredibly young back line. In 13 of 19 matches, CSU started two newcomers 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.
In 2009, Maharaj was invited to preseason camp with the Colorado Rapids of the MLS but rejected an amateur contract offer.
Maharaj also serves as the Director of the High School Boys Program for Cleveland Force Soccer Club (formerly CSA Impact United).
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.