Coaches of GV: Jeff Hosler


GVL/Kevin Sielaff

Josh Carlson, Staff Writer

Starting at a young age, Grand Valley State University’s women’s soccer head coach Jeff Hosler has seen what it takes to be a coach not only on the pitch, but also off of it.

“My dad was an attorney by day, coach by night.” Hosler said. “Super committed to the development of people and the development of the players at the youth level.”

Hosler, being the oldest of four, was either at his practice being coached by his father or with him at his siblings’ practices. Playing, watching and learning from his father and other great coaches along the way seemed to have planted a seed from a young age.

After Hosler graduated with a business degree from Alma College as a student-athlete, he was set to start at John Hancock University. Due to the nation’s economy at that time however, he decided to looking elsewhere to coach. Shortly after exploring some professional soccer options, he ended back in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan where his coaching career started.

Hosler started coaching at his alma mater, East Lansing High School, under his head coach from his playing days Nick Archer. Archer is a legendary coach in Michigan for boys’ soccer, with the most wins of any coach in in the state at 660.

From there, Hosler fell in love with the job. Just two years later, he was coaching year-round among 12 different teams ranging from fourth grade to high school. He even coached some AAU basketball. This shows exactly how he does anything in life: full sails ahead and giving it everything he has.

Not long after, Hosler kept with his trend in coaching his alma maters and landed the women’s head coaching job at Alma College in 2006. He inherited a Scots team that had only three winning records in the 16 years of its program’s existence.

Hosler quickly changed that. In his eight seasons at the Scots’ helm, Hosler had a 91-55-12 overall record. This matched the programs 90 total wins in their 16-year existence prior to Hosler’s arrival. He also coached them to their only MIAA regular-season title in 2010 and a 2011 MIAA tournament title, which gave Alma’s women’s soccer program their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

Today, Hosler is the head coach for women’s soccer at Grand Valley State University. In his first six seasons as a head coach for the Lakers, he flaunts a 138-11-5 overall record, which is the highest winning percentage of any coach in Laker history. With that, he also has coached the Lakers to three NCAA Championships, five NCAA title game appearances and has reached the Elite Eight in each of his six seasons at GVSU.

With a long list of successes and plenty to brag about, Hosler stays humble and dedicated to the exact reason why he decided to go into coaching in the first place.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great players, and beyond that, I’ve had kids who believe and buy into what I’m trying to do,” Hosler said. “I didn’t get into coaching because of winning, losing, or staying in the game of soccer. I got into it because of the relationships and the mentor factor. Those relationships are everything to me. For all the wins or losses, it’s the invites to weddings or meeting their first child. Those moments mean way more than any win on any given weekend.”

This again shows signs that the core values planted at a young age have grown into something special today.

“I do it the same way my dad did it,” Hosler said. “He didn’t do it for the money, he didn’t do it for the recognition, he did it to truly give back, and his passion to develop and help teach. My pillars as a coach have always been first and foremost, be honest, open, and develop a relationship. The second is to be a teacher of the game and of life. I think because I’ve focused on those things, it’s given us some opportunities to go out and succeed.”

Along with his father and his high school coach Nick Archer, Hosler also gives credit to coach Scott Frey, who coached him at Alma for two years before moving on to coach at Messiah College. Frey now holds the belt for the winningest active coach in Division III for men’s and women’s soccer. He also giving nods to all of his coaches throughout high school, AAU and club.

“I’ve been really blessed,” Hosler said. “They are incredible at what they do. They instilled a lot of values and paved the way for me.”

Hosler also has three children of his own, two daughters and one son. He gets to keep his family around the sport, just as his father once did, and he enjoys having his children heavily involved in the program.

“Any given year, they’ve got roughly 30 incredible mentors that they look up to and get to interact with,” Hosler said. “If you walk into my two older girls bedroom, nine and seven, they have pictures of our players up on their wall or drawings they put up of a player. On a personal level, it’s really incredible to see them and the interaction our players have with them. I think our players and our team really value that. I see our kids at Grand Valley as an extension of the Hosler family.”

As for a future season in the spring, Hosler is sticking to the same message that has always worked.

“COVID is a crazy thing going on for everybody, and who knows what turns tomorrow may take,” Hosler said. “But, if you control what you can, which is truly just you being your best and focusing on those things, at least your set up to be in a better place You’re continually growing and improving as a person.”