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06 / 20

Stinson Leads Hoops On and Off the Field

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: June 20, 2019

By: Joshua Chung

EAST LANSING – Mich. Anna Stinson, the most experienced player on Lansing United, believes her main goal is to spark a joy for soccer in young girls around the area who may need a role model to look up to.


With a full time, job as a physical therapist and being married, Stinson still pushes herself and works hard every day to help Lansing United achieve a successful season.


Stinson graduated from Illinois State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and received her doctorate degree at Grand Valley State in 2017.


During Stinson’s time at Illinois State she was a 3-year captain for the women’s soccer team, while receiving numerous awards including; a nomination for NCAA Women of the Year Award, a 3-time recipient of the Elite 18 award, where one athlete from each sport of the conference is honored for the highest achievement in academics and athletics, and was a 4-time All-Conference performer. At the time Stinson finished, she ranked fourth all-time with 19 assists.


Stinson is known by her teammates as “Grandma Anna” because of her leadership, veteran advice, and impact she brings for United.


Anna Mitchell, teammate, said Stinson is looked up to by many younger players, including herself.


“She (Stinson) always comes to the rescue,” said Mitchell. “Whether that be helping a teammate out in the middle of the game because of a cramp in their calf, or just advice to the ones going through college right now. She is wise and is more than willing to share her wisdom.”


Stinson is a huge advocate of hard work and passion, regardless of the situation and no matter how much you play.


“That’s what being a leader is all about,” said Stinson. “Being there for your teammates with encouragement and support and creating a fun environment for everyone on the team.”


Stinson explained that it is very difficult to balance both her playing career and work career. However, she explains that a big help is the support of her husband, Andy, who continues to support her passion for playing.


“I am actually coaching two teams on top of all that because I never say no to anything,” said Stinson. “Soccer has opened up so many opportunities in my life to be able to positively affect others, and I love being able to use soccer as a platform to make a difference in people’s lives.”


Stinson has always been an incredibly competitive person and player and this sport has helped her released some of that intense energy out.


“If I didn’t get it out through soccer, I probably wouldn’t have any friends and I might lose my job,” said Stinson. “I also love being a part of something bigger than myself, because being on a team demands sacrifice, humility, and dedication.”


Stinson’s concern and wanting to help others is a reason she was named a Top 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award for the 2013 season. A prestigious honor that recognizes achievement in four major categories – community, classroom, character and competition. Stinson was the first player in program history to be nominated.


United head coach Jason Crist said Stinson comes to the field with a lot of energy and youthfulness, which allows her to fit in perfectly with the young players socially.


“She’s a veteran leader who has been there and done that, while giving that role model figure for some of the younger girls to look up to,” said Crist. “You can’t put a value on it. She’s kind of a timeless wonder, very fit, effective, and very durable. Her effort is so good that it kind of sets the bar for the rest of the players.”


Stinson explained that she has never been on a team with better chemistry. Everyone loves every player and coach on the roster despite the different backgrounds.


“That is what makes playing for Lansing United so incredible,” said Stinson. “We can laugh, joke, and throw out some epic dance moves, but we know when it’s time to focus as well.”


Jeremy Sampson, owner of Lansing United, has played a crucial part in supporting Stinson during her time with United as the family has brought nothing but happiness to her family.


“All of this is possible because Jeremy Sampson and his family provide us with everything, we need to be successful, and they truly treat us all with respect and gratitude,” said Stinson.


Mitchell and the rest of the team captain’s explained that Stinson’s commitment and dedication to the team will mean more than she’ll ever realize.


“We can rely on her any minute of the game,” said Mitchell. “She will work till the final whistle without a doubt. She is someone who I will always think fondly of and I am very grateful she’s in my life and on my team.”


With a full career on her plate, Stinson knows she has patients that count on her to take care of them when needed and that it is difficult to adjust to schedule conflicts.


“Luckily, my bosses, Scott and Bree, and my coworkers at NovaCare have been so supportive of me in allowing me to pursue this passion,” said Stinson. “They treat me like family, and I cannot thank them enough for their support.”


Crist said Stinson brings a level of “If she can do it and that age with no complaints, then anyone should be able to do it” type of mentality to the team.


“If there’s ever a player out there that’s done with their college career and has no reason to be really out killing their fitness all the time, and she’s that fit and working that hard, it makes it hard for anybody to do anything less,” said Crist.