UNCP’s Anna Grossheim – All-American soccer star, local hero

Soccer standout Anna Grossheim balances her studies while working as a EMT and a Red Springs firefighter

Anna Grossheim is a UNC Pembroke soccer superstar by day. Real-life superhero by night.

Grossheim has been tearing up Conference Carolinas’ opponents on the pitch for the past four seasons. Off the field, she moonlights as an EMT––helping save lives. Not only is she trained in life support and cardiac care, but she is also a volunteer firefighter with the Red Springs Fire Department and a certified rescue diver.

“I got my EMT certification in high school, and I didn’t think I was going to use it for anything,” she said. “But I enjoyed it after getting more immersed in it. I like helping people––knowing that my skills may mean life or death for someone––that motivates me.”

Grossheim’s hectic schedule––particularly during soccer season––doesn’t leave much time for leisure.

For Grossheim, a typical day begins with soccer practice at 2:45 p.m. Though practice doesn’t start until 3, she arrives early to work on free kicks and individual drills. After practice, she rushes home to mentally prepare for a grueling 12-hour night shift with Robeson County EMS. At 8 a.m., when most college students are crawling out of bed––Grossheim, an online student––is curling up in hers.

“It’s one of those things that I enjoy so much that I don’t mind being a little bit sleep-deprived here and there,” she said.

In four years, she has grown accustomed to middle-of-the-night trauma calls. Off campus, community members recognize Anna as a friendly emergency service worker. On the pitch, opponents and coaches alike have come to know the Garner native as one of the most dominant midfielders in program history.

A three-time All-American soccer standout, Grossheim is a two-time Academic All-American, sporting a near 4.0 grade-point average. She was recently named to the 2023 College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-Southeast Region squad.

In 2022, she became just the second player in UNCP history to earn All-American honors from two organizations in the same season. She broke the UNCP career record for assists earlier this season. She led the team to a first-ever regular season championship, then helped the Lady Braves take home the conference championship for the third time.

“We’ve had a lot of fun on the field this year. My role on the field is to set up the players in front of me for goal-scoring opportunities and assists. I love being a playmaker,” she said.

Grossheim, a senior sociology major, strives for the same level of excellence in the classroom. Keeping up her grades was instilled in her at an early age.

“Mom stressed that growing up. Then Coach Lars (Anderson) always stressed academics when I got here. He’d say, ‘You are a student first. Make sure your academics are as good as they can be and that will allow you to do the fun part, which is playing soccer.’”

Grossheim has relished her time at UNCP while building relationships in the community. So much so, after graduating in December, she will pursue a Master of Public Administration, take advantage of an extra year of eligibility due to COVID and return for a fifth-year next season.

“It’s been a lot of fun! College is when you get away from home and you learn a lot about yourself. I’ve learned more about myself these last four years than I have my whole life,” she said.