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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Head Coach Steve Holeman fills out soccer staff with familiar faces

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Coaches Nathan Stockie (right) and Henry Zapata (left) talk to Wimberly Wright (middle) as she heads off the field.

The Texas State women’s soccer team recently underwent a major change. After 23 seasons, former soccer head coach Kat Conner decided to call it a career. On February 9, Texas State announced that Steve Holeman would be her successor and the university’s next soccer head coach.
Now, Holeman is tasked with maintaining a winning culture while also adding his own flavor into the mix. On April 4, Holeman announced the hirings of Hannah Smith, Henry Zapata and Nathan Stockie to fill out the rest of his coaching staff. Alongside Holeman, these coaches will work to leave their mark on Texas State soccer.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do here,” Zapata said. “We’ve got amazing facilities and obviously this campus is absolutely beautiful. I’m enjoying my time here getting to know people and getting to see the area. It just keeps getting better and better.”
Zapata joins the team as an associate head coach and is looking forward to being able to work with Holeman again. Last year, Zapata served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Iowa State, but prior to that, he had spent four years as Holeman’s associate head coach at Lamar University. The chance to reunite with his old friend was something he couldn’t pass up.
“[Steve]’s a great person first and foremost, a person that cares about you off the field and on the field,” Zapata said. “There are some reasons I had to leave Lamar that had nothing to do with Steve, but I always told people I would’ve worked for him for a long, long time. This was an opportunity to do that again.” 
In fact, each of the new hires has spent time at Lamar with Holeman prior to coming to San Marcos. Smith was one of Holeman’s assistant coaches this past season at Lamar and will now be the Texas State Soccer Director of Operations. 
Stockie was with Holeman the longest at Lamar, serving as an assistant coach for five years. Now, he plans to bring a unique mindset to the team when he takes up a similar role at Texas State. 
“We want to play with a chip on our shoulder,” Stockie said. “[At Lamar], we weren’t as big a school as others, but yet we were beating these schools that thought they were out-recruiting us or thought we were gonna be an easy win. Just bringing that chip on your shoulder mentality, that’s what we want to do here.”
Stockie knows what it’s like to have that kind of mentality not only as a coach but as a player too. Prior to joining Holeman’s staff, Stockie was playing soccer professionally in Finland for Jippo Joensuu and PEPO Lappeenranta, playing in 50 matches over three seasons. 
After retiring, Stockie wasn’t quite sure what his life would look like, but after spending some time on Holeman’s staff, he found his answer.
“When I was done playing I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to be involved in the game, but then working for Steve and working in a college environment really rejuvenated my love for the game,” Stockie said. “I love the relationships you get to develop with the players and how you kind of get to help them and guide them through a very pivotal part of their life.”
Building those relationships is paramount for this coaching staff. They recognize that the transition to a new coaching staff is a big change for the team and after having one coach for so long, it can be hard for the players to adjust to something different quickly. 
According to Stockie the key to getting his players to believe in him, is to believe in them.
“Buying into them, by investing in them,” Stockie said. “If we show that we care about them not only as soccer players, but as people, then it’s much easier for them to trust us in our process as well, so it’s really important for me to build those relationships with them.”
To build those relationships between the players and coaches, it is important that the coaches are aligned in their vision, and this group certainly is. The staff is very close with each other for their time at Lamar has built an almost familial bond between Holeman and his crew. That’s evidenced by some of the stories Holeman’s staff has shared about their leader.
“One of the biggest things that stands out to me is that when I got married in 2018, Steve actually officiated my wedding,” Zapata said. “That’s a part of the relationship we’ve built as a staff, we don’t just work together, we hang out together, we’re kinda like a family.”
Clearly, Holeman has endeared himself to his fellow coaches and now they’ll all look to do the same with the players as they plant their roots and instill their program at Texas State. They don’t just want to win, they want to create something bigger and all that starts now.
“We want to be the game that’s circled on the schedule, we want people to say ‘that’s the team we need to beat, that’s gonna be our tough game,’” said Zapata. “We want to establish a reputation that here at Texas State we do it the right way, our student-athletes love what they’re doing, and we’re a team that’s competing for championships.”

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