GVSU assistant coach follows Jeff Hosler to new places, experiences

GVL / Emily Frye      
Womens Soccer Assistant Coach Annette Stromberg on Oct. 27th.

GVL / Emily Frye Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach Annette Stromberg on Oct. 27th.

Mason Tronsor

When Jeff Hosler took the reigns as the Grand Valley State head women’s soccer coach in 2014, he wanted to bring over the success he built at his previous job at Alma College. Annette Stromberg was a key piece in carrying that out.

“I’ve known Annette since she was junior in high school,” Hosler said. “It became apparent to me when she became an upperclassman that there was something special about her.”

Now a graduate assistant coach for the Lakers, Stromberg was a midfielder for the Scots during Hosler’s head coaching stint at Alma. During her sophomore season in 2010, Stromberg helped the program capture its first-ever Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) regular season title.

The following season, she helped lead the Scots to the 2011 MIAA Tournament title and the program’s lone NCAA tournament berth. Stromberg graduated from Alma after playing in 82 games, tallying 30 points and earning a bachelor’s degree in integrative physiology and health science with a minor in chemistry.

The post-graduation time was initially tough for Stromberg. She missed playing the game she loved and knew she wanted to stay close to it. Hosler soon reached out to Stromberg and invited her to join him on the staff at Alma.

“He has become like family to me,” Stromberg said. “I’ve learned an incredible amount from him.”

She stood on the sidelines and learned from Hosler during the 2012 and 2013 seasons at Alma. Stromberg also started coaching the TNT Dynamite Soccer Club and became an evaluator for Michigan’s Olympic Development Program.

When Hosler left Alma for GVSU in 2014, he invited Stromberg to join him as a Laker. She accepted the invitation and followed her former coach to a higher level of competition in Division II.

Despite being a career midfielder, Stromberg was asked to work with the goalkeepers at GVSU. She approached the new area with enthusiasm, studying the position and talking to different coaches, and quickly gained confidence in her new gig.

“I spent a lot of time researching and talking to other coaches,” Stromberg said. “One of the coaches at Michigan State, Stacy Heller, was a goalkeeper so I talked to her a lot about the fine details of the position.”

During the 2014 season, Stromberg helped senior goalkeeper Andrea Strauss elevate her game. By the end of the season, Strauss ranked eighth nationally in goals against average (0.423). She also joined the GVSU career record books by recording the fourth-lowest goals against average (0.41), fourth-highest save percentage (.883), tying for the fourth-most solo shutouts (16) and posting the fifth-most wins (22) in program history.

This season, Stromberg has taken to a new face in net. Freshman goalkeeper Emily Maresh has used Stromberg’s guidance to embark on an impressive first season at GVSU.

Maresh has started 12 of the 15 matches for the Lakers this season. Of those 12 matches, she has faced 78 shots and has allowed just six goals. She also has recorded seven solo shutouts.

“Annette is super helpful,” Maresh said. “She definitely pushes us and makes it very competitive in practice.”

Earlier in the year, Maresh missed a few games due to an undisclosed injury. Luckily for the Lakers, the next-woman-up mentality was in effect as Stromberg prepared backup goalkeepers Paige Pryson and Sofia Sweier to step in for the injured Maresh. The goalkeepers and a stellar defense kept the Lakers afloat, as they combined for a 4-0 record and allowed just one goal while facing 13 shots during Maresh’s injury.

Looking back on her journey, Stromberg never would have guessed she would become a soccer coach, let alone on the collegiate level. She was always set on pursuing a career in the medical field, but she just could not give up the game she loved.

“I had never thought of coaching as a career,” Stromberg said. “When my season ended my senior year, I just couldn’t give up the game and Coach Hosler recognized that. Since then I just haven’t been able to get away.”