As the Director of Coaching, I would like to welcome everyone to the official Olympiacos Soccer School in Chicago. It is with great excitement that we kick off the 2011 – 2012 season. For all of us who are passionate about soccer, the creation of the Olympiacos Soccer School in Chicago is an historical and promising endeavor.

This is the first time ever in Chicago’s soccer history that Olympiacos FC, Greece’s most successful professional soccer club, gives the youth of Chicago unique opportunities for professional play. Thank you for joining our soccer family – I am confident that you will not be disappointed.

Olympiacos FC is winner of 38 league titles, 24 Greek cups and 4 Super Greek Cups. The Club has also a strong presence in the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues. Being the 1st Official European Academy in the United States, it promises to offer the high quality standards as the mother academy in Athens, Greece. Like never before, the opportunity is now given to all kids – boys and girls in the Chicago land area to demonstrate and develop their talent. Young players now have a direct link to Olympiacos FC academies in Greece and the possibility to be chosen for first team play. The chance to earn a potential scholarship to a college here in the US and also to travel to the club’s pro facilities in Greece to train in order to prove they can become part of the club’s pro roster of only 100 youth, is now REALITY. These 100 young players compete and, through intense training and education, work to realize their dream that one day may become part of the Pro roster of the 1st team. The training Olympiacos Soccer School Chicago will provide includes the intense characteristics and standards that the mother club has set – all through a fun and constructive experience for players and parents.

Growing up, I shared similar dreams. As a child, my ultimate dream was to play professional soccer for Olympiacos, the team of my heart. But since I lived too far from the training grounds the team had at the time, and transportation was an issue since my father couldn’t drive me because of his job, I went to the club Panionios FC, which was closer in distance to my house. That was a club that also produced many talented soccer players for the Greek League throughout the years. My adventure began at the age of 12 and by 16 years old, I was living the dream. I have played professionally for many great soccer clubs – PANIONIOS, AEK, IRAKLIS, and ARIS as well as for the U17 National team, Greece’s Men’s National Team, Champions League and for the UEFA Cup. This experience has shaped me into the person I am today. In order to get there though, I had to work diligently and sacrificed many things. Discipline, respect for coaches, teammates and opponents have always been my backbone. Throughout my soccer career, my passion and love for the game has been my driving factor. Similarly, these are characteristics Olympiacos FC and I personally look for in player development and parent participation. Those important elements, as well as working towards every child’s well being while having fun in the learning process is the motto I carry.

I am ecstatic that my 15 years of professional playing soccer experience combined with my 12 years of training and coaching young boys and girls of every age and level allows me to continue working and doing what I am passionate about. Having worked with college, semi- pro as well as amateur players, I have come across much talent. I am happy that I was able to help these young players achieve their goals. Without a doubt, continuing to do what I love while building the character of young athletes is an extension of my dream.

I am inviting all of you who share the same passion and same values to built our children’s future through the great game we call ‘soccer’.

Niko Mirtsekis

Born on November 4, 1968

Professional Soccer Coach holding a USSF “B” license and a NSCAA youth diploma.

Nikos Mirtsekis began his football career at age of 12 when he entered the soccer academy of Greek professional team, Panionios. He made his debut in the Greek Super League with Panionios on December 3, 1989 and played with them until 1994. He went on to play with AEK Athens (played in the Champions League), Iraklis (played in the UEFA Cup) and Aris. Mr. Mirtsekis also played (1) time with the Greek National team and (10) times with Greece’s U-17 team.

Upon moving to the USA, he played for the Milwaukee Rampage and Rockford Raptors. While living in the USA, he coached youth teams for clubs such as Hinsdale Hurricanes, Barrington Soccer Club, WVSC West Virginia and Concordia University Division 3. He was also the evaluator for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) of Illinois. He once again moved back to Greece in 2009 where he became the coach of Greek Fourth Division club Olympiacos Kefalonias and recently ran the club’s youth academies.