SCHENECTADY – Niskayuna’s Kristen Zimmerman said that her three daughters have always had free choice to make their college decisions.
It’s just always been a re-Union.
Addie, a sophomore, is the latest Zimmerman to wear Union College’s garnet and white for the family, which has earned all its bachelors degrees from the school.
Addie’s Union experience has been made even more positive by the fact that she’s a member of the women’s soccer team that is off to a 7-1 start, and hadn’t allowed a goal before a 1-0 loss to Liberty League foe St. Lawrence last weekend.
The women’s soccer team, and several other teams, will be home Saturday for Homecoming and Family Weekend. For the Zimmermans, that’s a short drive, which given their history is appreciated.
Kristen met Joe Zimmerman when she was a freshman and he was a sophomore. She played field hockey, and he rowed crew. They married after graduation, and Joe went to work for General Electric, which caused the family to move quite a lot.
“It was never with the idea we’d end up back so close to Union,” Kristen said.
When they moved to Niskayuna, when Addie was a freshman in high school, oldest sister Olivia had enrolled in Union. She went on to row crew and graduate in 2020. Next came Fiona, who played women’s soccer and graduated last year.
When it was Addie’s turn to decide, she said it came down to Union or St. Lawrence – a fact that elicited a playful groan from Union coach Karen Gurnon Perron before practice earlier this week, considering the Dutchwomen just lost to the Saints.
“I feel like in the end what pushed me toward Union is that it’s the one thing everybody in the family has had, a constant,” Addie said. “We moved around a lot when I was little, lived in a bunch of different states, so it’s kind of cool that everybody in my family has had Union as their college experience.”
It also allowed Addie and her to play for a season on the same team.
“Playing with Fiona was great because in all their years of playing soccer, they’d never done that before” Kristen said.
“She let me make my own decision, which was good,” Addie said of Fiona. “They all, everybody in my family was, ‘Try to figure out what you want to do.’ It just happened to be Union was what I wanted.”
Addie said that the idea of not traveling to Canton, and having home be close enough to pick up forgotten items or get a home-cooked meal, but far enough away to feel like she’s at her own place was very appealing. And playing soccer with her sister was a bonus.
“We knew that Fiona was a big part of the team, and to have Addie have that year with Fiona was probably very special for her family. We saw them at a lot of games, as we do now,” Perron said.
As a freshman, Addie played in seven games and scored one goal against Bard on Sept. 22. Three hundred sixty-three days later, Addie scored her first goal of the season against Bard again.
“It must be a tradition, I don’t know,” Addie said, chuckling. “We’ll see what happens next year.”
Perron said Addie is improving and helping a strong group.
“She’s really trying to hone in on her skills to try to be really dangerous in front of the goal,” Perron said. “And we’ve talked about some of her strengths and things we want to continue to play to, to use that speed. And she’s working on her strength and doing a better job of not getting knocked off the ball as much. I think that has definitely improved, even since preseason.”
Both Addie and Perron know it’s a good group this season, and they think it is capable of even better things.
“Obviously starting with so many shutouts was amazing, but even when we let in our first goal, nothing changed as far as intensity. We continued to play up to the standard we had been putting in at practice and all the rest of our games,” Addie said.
“What we’re trying to strive for – 7-0 was wild to start the season – is more consistency on the field,” Perron said. “Even in those last couple games we won, I think the team knows we could have done more. Just understanding a win is great, but we need to make sure we’re up to snuff when it comes to our league play because our league is always challenging.”
There’s one more Zimmerman – a son, Becker. There will be no pressure on him, either, but…
“We always joke with him and tell him he’s not a member of the club,” Kristen said.
That club, though, has brought a lot of joy to the Zimmerman family.
“With being a family that’s moved around a lot, you change schools a lot, I definitely think they find comfort in knowing Union has been there,” Kristen said. “It has served all of us very well.”
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