Rinzema preparing for future off the field

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, September 27, 2012


MONTEVALLO – Many student-athletes retire to their dorms for a quick shower before bedtime after a day filled with academic courses, study hall, team meetings and practice.

Many days, University of Montevallo senior Mike Rinzema has one more item to check off his list.

The Toronto, Canada native often wraps up his day at the Montevallo Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter.

Rinzema could easily be satisfied with simply being a full-time student-athlete, but he has his focus on the big picture. Rinzema is hoping his commitment to help out in his community pays off in the long run by helping him land his dream job as a firefighter.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” Rinzema said.

The Falcons’ team leader helps defend the net on the field. His additional responsibilities as a volunteer firefighter haven’t affected his play, with the physical 6-foot-1 defender being named second team All-Peach Belt Conference and his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player after starting 20 matches a year ago. Rinzema, who was named the conference’s Defender of the Week three times as a junior, has helped the Montevallo defense limit opponents to just three goals through eight matches this season.

In 2010, Rinzema started 17 matches and was named to the Peach Belt Conference All-Tournament team. Rinzema has also managed to chip in offensively for the Falcons with four goals in his career.

Off the field, the kinesiology major helps defend the Montevallo community from natural disasters in his spare time.

“I go on a couple of calls a week,” said Rinzema, who is taking Firemanship classes through the Alabama Fire College at the Montevallo Fire Department. “In the evenings, I go down and do drills. After soccer season is over, I hope to go out on more calls with the guys.”

The intensity at the scene of a vehicle accident or an out-of-control fire can often rival the feeling in his stomach when his team’s trying to preserve a lead late in a match, Rinzema said.

“It’s definitely a big adrenaline rush,” said Rinzema, who was named his high school’s Athlete of the Year at Cardinal Leger Secondary School. “I’m nervous when I go out on a call.”

Rinzema said his experience as a volunteer has only solidified his desire to pursue a career as a firefighter.

“It’s been a great learning experience,” Rinzema said.

Montevallo men’s soccer coach Ken Hassler said he isn’t surprised to see the veteran player helping out his community.

“The Montevallo community has given him a chance to blend all three things with academics, athletics and the pursuit of his career goal. I really enjoy seeing him contribute to our community. I think it says a lot about who he is as an individual.”