Senior leader poised for big season with GVSU soccer

GVL / Emily Frye
Junior Mid-Fielder Katie Klunder #2

GVL / Emily Frye Junior Mid-Fielder Katie Klunder #2

Mason Tronsor

As one of the main leaders on the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team, senior midfielder Katie Klunder has always been an energetic, up-beat person.

Consistent. Reliable. Smiling. Katie Klunder. 

Things were not always easy for the veteran leader. Klunder, a Grandville, Michigan native, has been through many ups and downs throughout her career at GVSU.

“I’ve had a very interesting and awesome four years so far,” Klunder said.

Klunder took her lumps freshman year. Coming from Calvin Christian High School, she faced challenges while trying to adjust from the high school to the college game.

No one took it easy on Klunder her first season at GVSU. The coaches and leaders on the team made sure she learned the ropes of Division II soccer and knew that it was a privilege to play the game.

This new style of practicing and toughness made many of Klunder’s recruiting classmates quit. She and senior forward Katie Bounds are the only two remaining players from that recruiting class. Bounds and Klunder roomed together their freshman year.

“Katie has come a really long way from her freshman year,” Bounds said. “She’s blossomed into an amazing soccer player.”

Klunder had thoughts about quitting herself, but her faith in God told her to stick it out.

That was the turning point in Klunder’s career at GVSU.

The next season, Klunder became more acclimated to the college lifestyle and play on the soccer field. This allowed her to enjoy the moments and make them count.

“My sophomore year was a complete 180 from my freshman year,” Klunder said. “We are blessed to be stressed.”

Her sophomore year, Klunder and the Lakers won the national championship when many counted them out. She played big minutes the previous season which helped her prepare for her second year.

It wasn’t long into her soccer career when Klunder began to stand out on the pitch.

At age 5, Klunder played for a community recreational team. The league had a rule where if a player scored three goals, they could not score anymore.

Klunder would always score three goals.

Klunder continued to play both high school soccer and travel soccer. She was not heavily recruited from her high school because of the school’s size, however GVSU coaches watched Klunder’s travel team games and liked what they saw.

“Katie is a very easy-going kid who always has a smile on her face,” said Jeff Hosler, head coach of the GVSU women’s soccer team. “Everyone on the team respects Katie.”

Klunder was part of the team that saw GVSU make a coaching change, swapping longtime coached Dave DiIanni and bringing in Hosler. 

“We were all super nervous about the coaching change at first,” Klunder said. “You see someone almost every single day of your life and then they are just gone.”

Ever since Hosler arrived when Klunder was a junior, he has been trying to bring out the aggressiveness in her. Off the field, Klunder an easy-going, all-smiles person, but on the field she is almost the same.

“There isn’t really much difference on and off the field with her,” Hosler said. “But that is what we are trying to change. We want her to play with more of an edge.”

Klunder’s senior campaign has started off crisply. She has a goal to her credit and she can usually be seen flying around the field being involved. Follow the number two blue jersey at GVSU’s next soccer game.

The ball will probably be nearby.