Boys Soccer: St. Laurence’s Nate Grosse the SouthtownStar 2012 Boys Soccer Coach of the Year
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media November 25, 2012 5:30PM
St. Laurence High School Soccer coach Nate Grosse in Tinley Park, Illinois, Sunday, November 11, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: December 27, 2012 6:04AM
When Nate Grosse took over as soccer coach at St. Laurence, one word summed up what he most wanted to change about the program: commitment.
“I talk to my players a lot about the commitment and the dedication it takes to being a part of something,” he said, “and the benefits you can receive from being committed and dedicated to something. Whatever it is, you can make something special by committing to it.”
During the 2012 season, the benefits for the Vikings included a second straight Catholic League White title and the program’s first regional championship since 1988.
Those accomplishments have helped Grosse earn the title of Fire/SouthtownStar 2012 Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“I’m very honored and humbled to receive this type of recognition,” he said. “Definitely, as the head of the program you know you can’t do it without the staff around you. I have to give a lot of credit to my assistant coaches, the athletic department in general and the school for supporting the program and making things possible.”
Grosse, 33, is an Omaha, Neb., native who was a standout defender at Burke High School in Omaha before playing college soccer at Truman State University (Mo.) and graduating from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
A job in Peru, where he worked with the brothers who run St. Laurence, led him to Burbank, where he became a Spanish teacher and soccer coach at the school.
After four years as an assistant, Grosse’s first campaign as head coach in 2010 ended with an 11-9-2 mark.
Last season, a young team captured the program’s second Catholic League White title, raising expectations for 2012.
“I knew I had a lot of solid players with a lot of experience at the varsity level coming back,” Grosse said. “Before the year, our captains set our goals for the year and luckily we were able to accomplish them.”
The Vikings went 5-0 in conference play to win their second straight White title, but what they sought was playoff success after last season’s loss to Joliet Catholic in their postseason opener.
St. Laurence topped Bowen and St. Rita to capture the elusive regional crown before a 3-1 win over Tinley Park in the Class 2A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinal.
It took a loaded Washington squad, which also eliminated Southland powers Lemont, Bremen and Lincoln-Way West, to end the Vikings’ run in the sectional final. St. Laurence finished 14-8-1.
“Our guys had their sights set on winning a regional title and seeing where we could go from there,” Grosse said. “Making the sectional final was a nice bonus. This year was definitely a step in the right direction for our program.”
Grosse hopes it’s just the beginning.
“We try to work a lot with the park districts in the area and the club teams,” he said. “Just from talking to those coaches, there’s been a lot more players talking about having interest in coming to St. Laurence and wanting to be a part of the soccer program.
“Hopefully, the benefits of the season will be seen in the years to come and we can continue to build off the success we had this year.”