Coach Hadzic brings his love for soccer to CR

Will Hanigan, Sports Writer

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As the old adage goes, “There is always more to a person than meets the eye.” This is true of Xavier head soccer coach Amir Hadzic. Immigrating to America from a war torn communist Yugoslavia, Hadzic has suffered and seen some true atrocities in his lifetime. Through all that he has seen, he attributes soccer to giving him all of his lucky breaks in life.

“Soccer has given me so many opportunities in this blessed life I have had. It got me out of Bosnia, it got me to America, it got me a job, and it has brought me happiness every step of the way,” Hadzic said.

After ivil war violence in his hometown of Sarajevo, where 200,000 of his fellow Bosnians were killed and 2 million made refugees, Hadzic knew he had to leave if he wanted to save his life. He gave up playing soccer professionally and left his friends and family with only two bags. Hadzic was forced to crawl on his stomach through a tunnel to reach the people who could get him to a refugee camp in Croatia.

“The only possession I really had that was worth a lot to me was a notebook that I wrote about every game I had played in. I think that meant a lot to me because it had a lot of happy memories from by hometown, and it felt like I was bringing a part of that life with me. To this day, I still remember every game I ever played in,” Hadzic said.

After making it to the refugee camp in Croatia, Hadzic managed to rejoin a professional club there and played against some of the best clubs in Europe, with Fiorentina and Leeds United among two of the prestigious clubs he faced. After war threatened Croatia, Hadzic finally made his way to America, and finally Iowa, where a vacant coaching advertisement in the newspaper landed him the coaching job at Mount Mercy, and eventually the Xavier coaching job as well.

“The ability to impact the lives of young people is such a blessing for me,” Hadzic said. “Everyone is able to take their peaceful lives here for granted, and it makes me happy to see this, because no one should have to go through what I went through. Again, I can only say I am a blessed man.”

Hadzic continues to make an impact on the players he has coached at Xavier.

“Amir cares a lot about all of his players and wants the best for them on and off the field,” senior Thomas Bean said. “He has been a great coach, but more importantly,  he has been a great role model.”

Hadzic hopes to lead the Xavier soccer program to another title this year, having already won four titles. He will continue to build soccer in Eastern Iowa and share his experiences and knowledge with the players he coaches.

Will Hanigan

Sports Writer

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Coach Hadzic brings his love for soccer to CR