All signs indicate a smooth transition for Hanna Schuermann.
Schuermann, 26, an assistant coach for the Gibault High girls soccer team for the last three seasons, has been hired as the Hawks’ new head coach. The Waterloo native replaces Matt Reeb, who resigned last week. Reeb will remain the boys soccer coach at Gibault.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Schuermann said. “Matt had mentioned (resigning) to me at the beginning of the season, so I kind of knew ahead of time what could be happening.”
Schuermann is a 2007 graduate of Gibault. She was a senior when the Hawks, coached by Jim Corsi, finished second to Rockford Lutheran in the Class A state tournament in Naperville. Schuermann, a forward, led Gibault with 15 goals and 10 assists. She earned a scholarship to University of Alabama at Huntsville, where she played two seasons.
Schuermann inherits a talented team that has won three consecutive regional championships. Gibault was 8-10 this season, losing to Alton Marquette 2-1 in the title game of the Class 1A Columbia Sectional.
The Hawks return their two leading scorers in Carley Olson (14 goals, six assists) and Abby Hasenstab (13 goals, eight assists). Maddie O’Neill (seven goals, nine assists) also returns.
“I have 10 seniors coming back,” Schuermann said. “I have a couple of pretty good juniors and sophomores, and I know I have some very good freshmen. Some of them, I’ve actually coached before, so I’m very excited about that. It will be a fun season.
“I want to go further. I want to place first in state. My senior year ended on a good note for us, but we wanted something more.”
While some young people are eager to leave their roots, Schuermann embraces them. Taking over at the school from which she graduated is right up her alley.
“I’ve known that I’ve always wanted to be a soccer coach,” Schuermann said. “I’ve been coaching since I got back (from Alabama). For six years, I’ve had kindergarten through eighth-graders. I’ve coached at every level. (But) I couldn’t ever imagine that I would get to be a high school coach already. So it’s definitely something very special to me.”
Until she was an assistant at Gibault, Schuermann said she wasn’t aware of the organizational skills and mental preparation necessary to be a head coach.
“I didn’t realize how much thought went into every game and practices every day,” she said. “As a player, it always was just, ‘Hey, we show up to play and we’ve got to play as hard as we can every day.’ (Reeb) really knew what he was doing. Just watching him be around the players and other coaches every game, in and out of practice ... Not having done it, I don’t think I would be able to be a head coach.”
Schuermann remains friends with several of her teammates from the memorable 2007 season, including Ann Taylor, Kate McManus, Katie Morris, Jenny Sotak, Casey Hermann, Tara Kennedy, Chelci Beckerle, Jackie Wirth and Kathy Kentch.
“I still play with a lot of those girls. A lot of those girls, I’ve played with since I was 10,” Schuermann said. “(Monday) night, I’m playing with half of those girls in an indoor league for fun.”