TerMeer sets single-season assist record at Grace Christian
Certain people can be counted on to lend a helping hand.
Zak TerMeer’s teammates on the Grace Christian University men’s soccer team know they can count on him to lend a helping foot.
TerMeer, a 2018 Plainwell High School graduate, racked up 21 assists this past season at Grace, setting the school’s single-season record in the process.
“On the record-breaking assist, I remember playing the ball through and waiting at half field,” TerMeer said. “I watched as my teammate put it away to give me the assist and then I remember celebrating at half field with my teammates.”
One of the teammates with whom TerMeer celebrated also had Allegan County ties.
Grace Christian sophomore Kendal Nieuwenhuis, who graduated from Allegan High School in 2018, actually played a key role in TerMeer’s record-setting accomplishment, scoring the goal that allowed TerMeer to tie the record.
TerMeer and Nieuwenhuis have a lengthy history playing with and against each.
“They played travel soccer together for Force and later played against each other in high school,” TerMeer’s father Tom said.
And while TerMeer and Nieuwenhuis graduated from high school the same year, TerMeer had to wait an extra year to start his collegiate career.
During the first scrimmage of his freshman season at Grace Christian, TerMeer dislocated his kneecap, forcing him to miss a month of action. Then, as he was preparing to return from the injury, TerMeer dislocated the same kneecap again.
That’s when he elected to have surgery.
“Rehab was a tough process as I lost all my strength in my leg,” TerMeer said. “But it got easier through the six-month process.”
TerMeer remained involved with his team during the rehab process.
“My mindset was pretty positive (during rehab) because I still was able to travel with the team and support them at every game,” he said. “And all my teammates were positive and very supportive through the process.”
While TerMeer was confident that he’d come back from the injury and be able to contribute to his team’s success this season, setting a record was not necessarily the first thing on his mind.
“After having to sit out a year and coming back from that, (setting a record) wasn’t really one of my goals for the year,” he said.
Yet set a record he did. And it wasn’t the first time he broke the single-season assist record for one of his teams.
During his senior year at Plainwell, TerMeer finished with 27 assists to set the school record for the Trojans.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling to have (the record at both Plainwell and Grace Christian),” he said. “I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by good teammates and coaches.”
Setting the assist record at Plainwell helped TerMeer earn All-State honors during his final high school season. And setting the assist record at Grace Christian helped him earn Second Team All-American honors.
“Being named to the All-American team was a great feeling,” he said.
While TerMeer had plenty to celebrate in terms of his personal accomplishments during the season, he had just as much to celebrate when it came to the team’s success.
Grace Christian qualified for National Christian College Athletic Association national tournament and finished fourth, posting a 16-5-1 record.
“It was a great thing to be a part of that,” TerMeer said of competing in the national tourney. “Starting the year, we were very young, but Coach Dustin Buchanan brought in very solid players that he knew would work well together to allow us to have the success we had.”
TerMeer hopes that success continues next season and the two that follow as he completes his collegiate eligibility. At the end of those three seasons, he hopes he has added the career assist mark to his single-season record.
“That’s a big goal of mine,” he said.
Away from the field, TerMeer plans to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in physical therapy.