As a parent and teacher, Amber Vrieze wants her kids to learn the same small-town values she grew up learning.
As the new Somerset varsity volleyball coach, Vrieze wants to teach those same values to her athletes.
Vrieze has been an assistant coach in the Spartan program the past five seasons. She was hired during a recent Somerset Board of Education meeting.
Vrieze has been a Somerset elementary teacher for 15 years. She grew up in New Richland, Minn., part of the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva School District, where she played basketball, volleyball and softball. Vrieze attended UW-River Falls, where she met her husband when they were teammates on a co-ed softball team.
You can find Vrieze at just about any Somerset sporting event. She sells tickets at Spartan football games and she runs the game clock at Somerset basketball games. Five years ago, long-time Somerset volleyball coach Sarah Praschak asked Vrieze if she wanted to join the coaching staff.
"I said absolutely. She was a great role model, mentor," Vrieze said. "She was pretty instrumental in making me love the coaching side."
Vrieze said her high school coaches were her role models and she wants to build her program to follow the style she learned.
"I envision, no matter the talent, I want to be a unified program where we work well together. I grew up with scrappiness, determination, building that teamwork element," she said.
The Spartans had 42 girls in the program last year and just two seniors graduated, so she's expecting the team to have healthy numbers this fall. Vrieze said she wants to make sure Somerset has a strong youth program, with the goal of making volleyball fun for the young players.