Sawyer Strelnieks–Staff Writer
Bill Elgersma is on his fourth season with the head coaching position of the women’s soccer program. In addition to this, he merged programs and is also head coaching the men’s program. With two graduate assistants, Ryan Gresse and Andrew McMillan, and Craig Stiemsma as the keeper coach, a full plate is an understatement for the coaches of these programs.
Elgersma works on planning and executing back-to-back practices between the two teams while his assistants work on training sessions and breaking down film daily.
“The biggest change is the amount of thinking time needed to process training, players, formations, opponents, and my athletes as students and people,” said Elgersma. “I worry that I will lose sight of who they are beyond soccer because I am in the vortex right now.”
Elgersma’s biggest role change this year has been coaching both teams with a broader approach. He has placed a larger role on his assistants, letting Stiemsma be responsible for all things related to keepers and managing the day-to-day details of scheduling, officials, and eligibility.
Elgersma’s two graduate assistants work on the run-of-play analysis and daily 6 a.m. training sessions. Gresse is the primary assistant for the men’s team while McMillan is the primary assistant for the women’s team with some overlap going both ways for the coaches.
“I have noticed this year that Coach has done a better job of using the graduate assistants to break down film and explain new formations,” said Kenzie Bousema, a senior captain. “Coach Mac and Gresse have been extremely helpful but also quick to challenge us as players. I am looking forward to the rest of my senior season with the girls and coaching staff.”
With so much planning and running practices, Elgersma has had to rely heavily on his assistants to pick up much of the coaching areas that he used to take care of himself. He has had to learn a whole new team and the playing style of the men’s team.
“Games and practices are much more intense this year for a couple reasons,” said Patrick Munsey, a sophomore captain. “One being Elgersma’s attitude of playing players that fit his style and way of soccer and not necessarily the best technically which leads to a lot of competition for spots.”
The women’s team is grateful to have Elgersma back for another season and the guys are excited to have a very committed coach.
The players have noticed how much Elgersma has put into both programs, and how he is still putting just as much time into the women’s program as he has in years past.
“That man is more strong-willed than a bull in the ring,” said Dallas Parker, a senior captain. “He will do everything in his power to build this program, even if it means his sanity is pushed to its limits.”
Elgersma continues to advance each team to reach their maximum potential with great expectations for both programs this season.
The men’s team is looking at being in the top four in the regular season with hopes of having a run to this year’s semifinals. The women’s team is looking at clinching a post-season spot in the playoffs and staying above a 0.500 rating this season.