Soccer (Men) – Coaching Staff
Head Coach Oz Bakirdan is in his 14th season at Illinois Central College. Since starting as the head coach for the ICC men’s soccer program, Coach Bakirdan has built the ICC program into a regional and national powerhouse.
ICC men’s soccer has been consistently ranked in the top ten over the last seven years reaching as high as third in the nation in 2006, 2007, and 2009. The ICC men’s team has been the dominant team in Region 24 compiling an impressive record. Illinois Central College won the Central District Championship to advance to the NJCAA Division I national tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. Coach Bakirdan, his staff, and players help develop young soccer talent in Central Illinois by helping with both the East Peoria United Soccer Club and the Morton Blaze Soccer Club.
Associate Coach Ron Smith enters his 14th season as an FIFA licensed coach of the ICC Cougars. Since starting as the associate coach for the ICC Men’s Soccer program, he has helped build the ICC men’s program into a powerhouse with four national tournament visits. Prior to his arrival at ICC, Smith was the head soccer coach with the Peoria Soccer Club and Sporting Futbol Club (Peoria). He served as head coach for a premiere traveling soccer club from 2000-2002 and was assistant coach from 1991-2000. He also coached and administrated the Parochial Soccer Program from 1980 to 2000.
Originally from Croatia, Zoran came to United States in 2010 and played for two years at ICC before transfering to Grand Canyon University in 2012. He played Division 2 in 2012/13 for Grand Canynon and finished in the sweet sixteen of NCAA tournament. During the 2013/14 season, Zoran played in the NCAA Division I.
While at Illinois Central College, Zoran was voted as freshman of the year for Region 24 in 2010, and he was also voted as the Defender of the year. Zoran earned the honor of team captain for both of years at ICC and both years at Grand Canyon University.