Meet the Team

Like our players, the iProSkills coaching team reflects a broad range of cultures and backgrounds. Our staff members alone represent ten countries and speak 15 languages. All our coaches hold licenses through the United States Soccer Federation, among others. Staff members have playing and coaching experience at the community, high school, college, professional and international levels. We are united by our love of soccer and a dedication to providing our youth with high-quality training, mentorship, and opportunities.

Costel Catalin Serban

Founder, Director of Coaching

Hometown: Vaslui, Romania
Languages: English, Romanian, Spanish

  • BA – Physical Education and Sports Management, Alexanandru Ioan Cuza, Romania
  • MA – Physical Education and Sports Management, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Romania 
  • F.C Vaslui, LPS Vaslui, Unirea Banca 
  • Romanian Beach Soccer National Champion
  • Two-time Romanian Futsal National Champion
  • UEFA Coaching License, Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF)
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level C
  • World Soccer Academy Certified

With many years of elite professional playing and coaching experience in Romania and the United States, Coach Costel Catalin Serban has dedicated his life to soccer. As the Founder and Director of iProSkills Soccer Academy, he brings unsurpassed dedication, energy and charisma to the organization. Since starting iProSkills in 2015, he and his wife, Madga, have poured themselves into the club, which has grown from seven players to over 250 strong in less than five years. Coach Costel maintains many strong ties to fellow soccer professionals and coaches across the United States and Europe. He brings international talent to the club through his own experience and invitations to visiting coaches from around the world. He also organizes bi-annual trips to Europe for iProSkills players, including players on scholarship.  He has built iProSkills into a high quality, diverse, inclusive club where everyone is respected, encouraged, and appreciated. Coach Costel knows each of his players and their families and works tirelessly to help each young athlete grow, learn, and succeed.  

Magdalena Pasko

Administrator

Hometown: Tyczyn, Poland
Languages: Polish, English, Romanian

Co-Founder and Administrator of iProSkills Soccer Academy, Magda is in charge of everything that happens off the field. She handles all administration, registration, and scheduling for the club. Magda knows all the iProSkills players, and they know she’s the real boss! Her favorite part of her job is seeing young athletes develop, grow, and overcome challenges. A Chicago resident since 2005, Madga lives in Albany Park and has a background in nursing and psychology. 

Igor Tirsina

Goalkeeper Head Coach

Hometown: Chișinău, Moldova
Languages: English, Russian, Romanian

  • State University of Moldova
  • State University of Moldova Soccer Team
  • CSCT Buiucani, FC Rapid Chișinău
  • U16 Moldovan National Team
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level E

Coach Igor was the second coach to join the iProSkills team and has been with the club since 2015. He has professional goalkeeping experience with teams in his home country and with Big Cat Goalkeeping in Chicago. Coach Igor remains active in soccer, playing in the Chicagoland Premier Soccer League (PSL) for FC Moldova. After winning the first league championship, his team was promoted to the Premier League in 2018. Coach Igor lives in Old Irving Park and enjoys music and outdoor sports. He recalls that when he was eight years old, he was selected as the goalkeeper for his youth soccer team because he was both the youngest and the tallest member of the team. He has been a goalkeeper ever since and loves working with young athletes of all ages. 

Matei Paun

Program Director, U5-U10

Hometown: Bucharest, Romania
Languages: English, Romanian, French, Korean 

  • Bartlett High School Soccer Team
  • Knox College Soccer Team, Division III
  • Assistant Varsity Coach, Bartlett High School (2011-2014)
  • Illinois High School Association (IHSA) License
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level E

Coach Matei grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, and has experience playing at the high school and college levels. Prior to joining iProSkills he taught high school soccer and has many years of experience teaching youth soccer for all ages. Coach Matei has a background in secondary English education and is a former English and Social Studies teacher at the middle and high school levels. Matei has a gift for working with younger players and loves to see his students develop new skills both in the classroom and on the pitch. 

Pema Tashi

Coach, U8 & U9

Hometown: Chauntra, Tibet
Languages: English, Hindi, and Tibetan

  • BA in Health and Human Science, Focus in Physical Therapy, Northern Illinois University
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) 
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level D 
  • MATC Madison – Soccer Team

Coach Pema played soccer at the high school and college levels in Wisconsin. After an injury forced him to retire from playing, he began coaching soccer for the Tibetan community in Madison, WI. He joined iProSkills in 2019 and loves working with young athletes. He lives with his wife and young son in Albany Park and enjoys history, dance, hip-hop, and watching historic soccer matches. Coach Pema recalls that as a child, when he was out on the soccer field he felt free. Coaching has allowed him to stay involved in soccer and to pass on to young athletes his love for the game.    

Dejan Sajic 

Director of Coaching, Girls’ Program

Hometown: Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Languages: English, Serbian-Croatian, German

  • Degree in Physical Education and Sport, University of Banja Luka
  • FK Sloga Doboj, FK Nikos Kanbera, FK Trebava Soccer Teams
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level D

A member of the iProSkills team since 2016, Coach Dejan has experience playing soccer on multiple teams in Serbia and Bosnia from 2010 to 2016. He has coached youth soccer in a variety of settings and oversees all programming for girls at iProSkills. He remains active in soccer as a member of FK Morava, a first division team of Chicago’s Metropolitan Soccer League. Dejan lives in Albany Park with his wife and loves nature, hiking, and cliff diving. A lifelong lover of the beautiful game, Coach Dejan wakes up at 5:30 am on Saturdays to watch the English Premier League. 

Victor Ishimwe

Coach, U10 – U12

Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda
Languages: English, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda

  • U18 & U20 National Teams, Rwanda, Division I, Best Young Player Award
  • SUNY Broome Community College Soccer Team
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Level D

A member of the iProSkills family since 2018, Coach Victor leads the U10 and U12 teams with unparalleled dedication, professionalism, and care. He has experience playing at the international and college levels in both his home country and the United States. Coach Victor lives with his wife and two wonderful sons in the Edgewater neighborhood and is a big Manchester United fan. He loves playing with his children, listening to music, and going for long runs along the Chicago lakeshore. 

Cori Otil

Coach and Technical Advisor 

Hometown: Reșița, Romania
Languages: English, Romanian

  • Reșița CSM Soccer Team
  • Degree in Physical Education and Sports, University of Cluj Napoca, Romania
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Professional Level B
  • Coach of Romanian National Teams, U16 & U18
  • Coach of Illinois National Champions, Chicago Champs, U9 & U10

Coach Cori has over 26 years of coaching professional soccer players in Romania, including overseeing the personal development of many players who went on to play at the international level. A member of the iProSkills team since 2019, Coach Cori brings to the club a lifetime of elite soccer expertise and experience. He is also certified in physical therapy, massage, and nutritional and personal training. A father of three boys, Coach Cori lives in Des Plaines and enjoys reading, sports, art, and classic rock. 

Radu Gramada 

Assistant Coach

Hometown: Făgăraș, Romania
Languages: English, Romanian

  • FC Nitramonia, Division II, Romania
  • University of Ioan Slavici, Timișoara, Romania 
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License – Pending

Coach Radu has been involved with iProSkills as a parent for many years, and officially joined the coaching team in 2020. Radu played professional soccer in Romania and has local youth coaching experience. Coach Radu lives in Arlington Heights with his wife, Camelia, and two young sons. He loves history, sports, jokes, and standup comedy. His many talents include handstands and juggling a soccer ball like a pro. 

Nick Lemperis

Club Manager

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Greek

  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License, Level E

Coach Nick had been a member of the iProSkills family as a parent for many years when, in 2017, his passion for soccer and values of the club led him to step into the role of Club Manager.  Nick provides guidance with league scheduling, local and national tournaments, team training, club functions, fundraising, and support for the coaching staff, players, and families. Coach Nick lives in the Peterson Park neighborhood with his wife, his daughter, and his son who plays with the iProSkills team. Coach Nick has a background in criminal justice, is a lifelong soccer fan, and loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.

Tiffany Brugman

Assistant Coach, Girls’ Program

Hometown: Springfield, Ohio
  • Degrees in Elementary Education & Special Education, University of Dayton
  • Endorsement in Physical Education
  • National Board Certified Teacher; Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction
  • United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Coaching License Level E

Coach Tiffany was involved with iProSkills as a parent for two years before officially joining the coaching staff in 2019. Tiffany was a Division I scholarship athlete at the University of Dayton. She was an All Ohio selection in high school, played ODP, and traveled with Club Ohio during high school and college. She coached two years of club soccer in Ohio where she worked closely with girls’ programs focusing on college recruitment. She then coached three years of high school soccer in Chicago at Francis Parker. Tiffany also coached both boys and girls for nine years in both soccer and basketball at the middle school level. She served as the Network 2 coordinator for CPS for all sports. Tiffany has two sons who both play for iProSkills. She met her husband, Mike, at the University of Dayton where he was a member of the Men’s Soccer Team. Tiffany enjoys being active with her family, reading, and playing Words with Friends when she can’t find anyone to play Scrabble with her.