Velimir Crljen

Velimir Crljen is a Croatian former footballer and manager who played in the Croatian First Football League, American Professional Soccer League, Canadian Professional Soccer League, and S.League. He also had several notable terms as a manager for Toronto Croatia in the CPSL/CSL.

Velimir Crljen
Crljen in 2011
Personal information
Full name Velimir Crljen
Date of birth (1966-07-23) 23 July 1966
Place of birth SFR Yugoslavia
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992 HNK Šibenik 1 (0)
1994 Toronto Rockets 5 (1)
1996–1998 Singapore Armed Forces FC
2000 Toronto Croatia
2001 Jurong FC
2002–2006 Toronto Croatia
Teams managed
2000 Toronto Croatia (player/coach)
2003 Toronto Croatia (player/coach)
2005 Toronto Croatia (player/coach)
2009 Toronto Croatia
2011–2015 Toronto Croatia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing career

Crljen played with HNK Šibenik of the Croatian First Football League in 1992.[1] In 1994, he went abroad to play in the American Professional Soccer League with the Toronto Rockets. He made his debut on July 8, 1994 against Seattle Sounders.[2] In 1996, he played in the newly formed S.League with the Singapore Armed Forces FC, where he formed an instrumental triumvirate with fellow Croatian imports Ivica Raguz, and Jure Ere.[3] During his tenure with SAFFC he won the three league titles, Singapore Cup, and the Singapore FA Cup.[4]

In 2000, he returned to Canada in the role of player/coach for Toronto Croatia in the Canadian Professional Soccer League.[5] Crljen managed to achieve a CPSL Championship after defeating the Toronto Olympians.[6] After a one year absence he returned to Singapore to sign with Jurong FC.[7][8] In 2002, he permanently returned to Toronto Croatia, where he would eventually make the full transition from a player to a manager.[9] He won his second CPSL Championship as a player in 2004.[10]

Managerial career

In 2003, he resumed his dual role of player/coach for Toronto.[11] After a year sabbatical from coaching he returned to manage in 2005, and was named the head coach for the 2006 CSL All-Star team.[12] In 2009, he fully retired from competitive soccer and returned to managing Toronto Croatia, where he was dismissed at the conclusion of the season.[13] He returned in 2011 to lead Croatia to a championship, and followed by a double in 2012.[14][15] In 2012, he was recognized by the league with the Coach of the Year award.[16] He added another championship title in 2015, making Crljen one of the most successfully managers in CPSL/CSL history.[17][18]



Singapore Armed Forces FC
Toronto Croatia


Toronto Croatia


  1. "Velimir Crljen". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  2. "July 8, 1994". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  3. "S-league: Facts & Figures". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  4. "S-league 1999 season". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  5. "Canadian Professional Soccer League". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  6. Glover, Robin. "October 1, 2000 Toronto Olympians vs Toronto Croatia". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  7. "Match Number: 019". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  8. "2001 - Mar. 14 - Croatia on the move; Crijen overseas; Windsor gets game". 4 January 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  9. "CPSL - Canadian Professional Soccer League". 25 December 2002. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  10. Glover, Robin. "October 11, 2004 CPSL Rogers Cup Final Vaughan Shooters vs Toronto Croatia (by Rocket Robin)". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  11. "October 1, 2003 CPSL Toronto Croatia vs Brampton (League decision)". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  12. "May 7, 2006 CPSL All-Stars vs Clyde FC (Scotlanc) (from CPSL media release)". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  13. Gossai, Amit (17 May 2010). "Toronto Croatia opener delayed |". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  14. "Canadian Soccer League". 24 January 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  15. "October 27, 2012 CSL Final--Toronto Croatia vs Montreal Impact Academy (from CSL website)". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  16. "November 15, 2011--Toronto Croatia's Tihomir Maletic MVP For Second Year...Annual Award Winners Announced Sunday (from CSL website)". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  17. Adamson, Stan. "TORONTO CROATIA WIN A SQUEAKER FOR CSL CHAMPIONSHIP….Milton score Second Division victory | Canadian Soccer League". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  18. Pavic, Marko. "Toronto Croatia ponovo najbolja, osvojila je kanadsko prvenstvo". (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 July 2019.
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