UST Women's Soccer Camps
Head CoachNikola Barjaktarevis
Barjaktarevic joined The University of Saint Thomas on August 5, 2013 and will be at helm of the women’s soccer program, starting with inaugural season in fall 2014. Addition of women’s soccer highlights the commitment of the university and athletic department as they continue the success both in Red River Athletic Conference and NAIA level.
Barjaktarevic is not new to building a program from the ground up. He successfully started the women’s soccer program at The University of Texas at Brownsville in 2007, a process that culminated in the team’s advancement to the Elite 8 round of the NAIA National Tournament in 2012, a current national rank of No. 9 by the NAIA and an impressive career record of 79-27-7. While at UTB, he has won four Red River Athletic Conference Championships, made three NAIA National Tournament appearances, named Red River Athletic Coach of the Year three times as well as NSCAA Regional Coach of the year. Just this spring he was honored with RRAC 2013 Coach of Character Award. Other team accolades include the NAIA Champions of Character Award in 2009 and 2012, and 2013 NAIA Team Academic Award.
His coaching philosophy is based around academic excellence, recruitment and retention, player development as well as building relationships. His approach, seeking student athletes with character and a passion for excellence both in the classroom and in their sport, has proved successful, and he plans to use the same approach as he begins recruiting this fall. In his career Barjaktarevic recruited several players that represented their countries at the national level in soccer, and some of his student-athletes continue to play in WPSL, W-League and professionally abroad.
Before coaching at UTB, Barjaktarevic spent time at Dana College (Neb.), where he was head women's soccer coach for three years. At Dana, his program produced 17 All-Conference players, two NAIA All-region players, two All-Americans and 9 NAIA Academic All-Americans players. His teams were also recognized for outstanding academic achievement with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award.
Coach Barjaktarevic served as a graduate assistant men’s soccer coach at Hastings (Neb.) College. During his time there, the Broncos were 45-4-1, clinched the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) title twice, and finished No. 18 and No. 3 in the NAIA overall rankings. While assisting at Hastings College he also served as Hastings High School’s head boys’ soccer coach for two seasons, leading the Tigers to their first winning season in school history. He continued his involvement with high school soccer in Blair, Nebraska where he was the head boys’ soccer coach for Blair High School in 2004, while coaching at Dana College.
His interest in the growth and development of soccer is also recognized in his work with Nebraska State Soccer Association ODP (Olympic Development Program) where he served as a coach for various teams between 2002 and 2005. As a part of the soccer community, Barjaktarevic was involved in variety of other soccer camps, clinics and activities such as Bob Warming's Creighton Soccer Academy, John Keating’s Fast Footwork Program, Nebraska State Soccer Association & Region II Camps, Scorpion Soccer Camps, among others.
A native of Belgrade in Serbia, Barjaktarevic was a member of several premier soccer teams before coming to the United States to continue his education. A standout defender, Barjaktarevic led the NAIA’s third-ranked defense in 2000 at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and Health degree from Union University and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Hastings College. Coach Barjaktarevic holds a United States Soccer Federation National “A” Coaching License and also a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Premier Diploma.
Barjaktarevic and his wife, Natasa, have a four year daughter, Mia.
Student AssistantNataki Stewart
Nataki Stewart enters his first season as a student assistant coach for the University of St. Thomas women’s soccer program. Stewart, however, is no stranger to UST having spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as a player. As a student assistant, Coach Stewart will assist with fitness and conditioning, recruiting, and team defending.
Before UST, Stewart was a two year letter winner at San Jacinto College-South where he helped the Coyotes to two straight NJCAA conference finals as a Freshman and as a Sophomore under current U.S. Soccer technical advisor Dr. Dave Santesteban. Santesteban, according to Stewart, has played an integral role in his development on and off the field. The Jamaican native also credits his success and work ethic in the classroom to the vigorous curriculum he withstood during his time as a high school student at Manning’s School in his home country.
“I am grateful to Coach Santesteban for not only allowing me to start my playing career at the college level but also for the values and philosophy that he instilled in me. His philosophy was simple, DART; which stands for disciple, altruism, respect and teamwork, which for me epitomizes the formula for success in all aspects of life”.
It was this desire that brought him to UST where he continued to excel as a student-athlete. As a UST player, Stewart was a NAIA Scholar Athlete during the 2013-2014 season, an award given to a junior or senior with an accumulative GPA of 3.5 and above. As a junior, Stewart helped the Celts endure a rough season which was brought about by injuries to key players. As a senior, he helped the Celts win the 2013 NAIA Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) soccer title which gave them an automatic berth to their 2nd NAIA national tournament in the program’s short history. In addition, he was part of a defense that averaged less than 1.5 goals per game which ranked 9th in total shutouts in the country.
“It was such an honor to play for UST. It is definitely an experience that I won’t forget due to the infectious leadership from Coach Smith, Coach Champenoy and his crew of assistants. In addition, to my brothers on the soccer team and the quality education received from CSB. These are all people that have played a critical role in this chapter of my life, but now I am looking forward to serving in a different capacity."
Stewart will continue his education at UST in fall 2014 having just gained admission to the Cameron School of Business graduate program. A key point to note is that he was exempt from taking the usually required Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) due his impressive accumulative GPA.
Student AssistantMarcus Walden
Coach Walden comes to UST with over 20 years experience in various areas of soccer in the Houston Area. As a player, Walden was a four-time letterman at St. Thomas High School where he earned multiple accolades at the State and District Level. He played various adult amateur leagues including HFA Division 1 and the highest level of youth soccer.
He also brings over 10 years of experience as a referee working the highest levels of the youth game, including the US Development Academy, ECNL, and WPSL Elite. For the last two years, he has worked as a Referee Instructor and Mentor teaching different facets of the game to new referees.
Coach Walden came to UST to study Environmental Studies and Theology after a 6-year career in the US Navy. He brings a wealth of knowledge in leadership and teamwork. He is excited for this opportunity to give back to the UST community and to help develop leaders of faith and character. Walden’s primary responsibility will be working with goalkeepers, as well as leadership and teambuilding.