Director of Athletics & Physical Education, Varsity Girls Soccer Head CoachSonoma State University, BS
email: chris.ziemer [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 636-2468
When we asked Chris about his favorite part of the day, he says, “I'd be lying if I said there was anything I looked forward to more than being on the field, coaching and working with our student athletes and teams.” Chris brings this sincere interest in helping students reach their athletic potential to all he does, from coordinating physical education exploratories for novices to cheering on elite athletes who are preparing to compete in college. Chris’s humor and warmth have endeared him to our student-athletes since the school’s early days.
Chris joined the Sonoma Academy staff in the school’s second year, as the athletic program was just getting off the ground. He was running several soccer organizations full-time, and came on to coach the girls soccer team until they could find a permanent coach. “I really enjoyed the girls and families on that team, and loved learning more about Sonoma Academy,” he says. “After years of coaching many of the most talented and motivated soccer players and teams in the area, it was refreshing to step back into a brand new program. I enjoyed the challenge of working with a range of student-athletes, some who were very experienced and motivated and others that were new to the sport.”
Not long after that first season, Chris was offered the position of Director of Athletics & Physical Education position. At the time, his plan had been to continue to run soccer specific organizations or to venture into coaching college soccer, but his father encouraged me to accept the full-time position at Sonoma Academy to see if it was something he would enjoy. It turns out that he enjoyed it quite a bit: “almost 20 years later, I'm glad I took my father’s advice!” he says.
Chris’s high school experience was a bit different from what some might expect. “I left high school during my junior year to travel to Germany, with the dream of becoming a professional soccer player,” he says. “It was a life changing experience for me. I eventually took the GED test to earn my high school degree, and graduated from college when I finished playing. My father was a teacher, so I always valued education, but it was fun to follow my passion and dreams of playing at the highest level.”
In his free time, Chris keeps busy with family, travel, and all things soccer. “I grew up in a very close knit family, and we always enjoy any time we get to spend together,” he says. Travel has been something Chris has always enjoyed, whether exploring Sonoma County or seeing the world. “Soccer is another huge passion, whether that be watching my children play, coaching, or watching and writing about soccer across the world,” says Chris.
Sonoma Academy has become a family affair for the Zeimers: Chris’s two daughters, Sally ‘17 and Gabby ‘20 have been Coyotes, and his young son Ely is growing up cheering the on the sidelines of Zeimer Field. It just feels right to share this special place with family. “The thing that I love the most about SA is the passion on display,” says Chris. “As a smaller school, we have plenty of opportunities to interact as a community, and also a lot of great entry points into extracurricular activities and growth opportunities.”