The new face of GV soccer: Jim Conlon


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Josh Carlson, Staff Writer

A new era is beginning in the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team with the departure of seven-year head coach Jeff Hosler. GVSU named Jim Conlon the new head coach of the women’s soccer team on July 30, 2021.

Conlon joins the Laker family, bolstering an impressive record of himself with soccer programs. He departed from Division III Washington University, where he led them to three national championship appearances in his twelve seasons and winning Washington’s first-ever title in 2016.

Conlon also spent four years on the Loras College men’s soccer team, where he found something that he contributes to his success in coaching today.

“I had the great privilege of coaching high school soccer during my collegiate career,” Conlon said. “I think that naturally duck-tailed itself into a graduate assistant position while getting my masters, and from there, I knew there was a lifestyle that would allow me to impact lives. Coaching has been an absolute blessing to me for my entire career.”

Although he left a position he held for 12 years, Conlon felt that GVSU was the right fit for him and is happy with his new home.

“I think GVSU is a great community filled with a bunch of people who care for the ultimate goal, which is the students and their experience,” Conlon said. “Coupled with the best intentions for the students and a championship environment inside the athletic department, it is just a great atmosphere to have our women grow as people and athletes.”

Conlon takes over a team that is loaded with talent, even with the departure of all-star forward, Ava Cook, who joined Hosler at Michigan State University this season. Conlon inherits an offense that has ranked top two in the nation multiple seasons in a row. Conlon is returning a redshirt sophomore, Chantel Carranza, who was a first-team All-GLIAC selection and will lead the attack for the Lakers.

Conlon returns both starting center backs for the Lakers on the defensive end, with three-time All-American, Cecilia Steinwascher, anchoring the defense once again. The Lakers are also returning reigning GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Mia Hansen, who can help also make an impact defensively.

After inheriting a group of women who have seen plenty of success in their college careers, Conlon plans on showing them exactly what they’re used to seeing. Checks in the win column.

“I think the main focus is going to be maximizing the potential of this 2021 group,” Conlon said. “We’ve got some amazing women, who are very talented athletes. The primary focus is going to be getting the most out of their potential to achieve that success.”

While only having one month to transition into a completely new program, Conlon isn’t worried at all about what he and his team’s success will look like as the season begins this fall.

“The transition has been great,” Conlon said. “It’s been a lot of time listening, a lot of time soaking in things on top of having my personal thoughts of the direction we need to go. And the women have been absolutely unbelievable. They have been working at a high rate and have been very communicative, and I think we are in a really good position as we transition—while it was a quick one—to have a good opening weekend.”

The Lakers head into the season once again ranked number one in the GLIAC preseason rankings and will start their fall regular season with a pair of home games before they make a trip to Missouri and face off against two non-conference opponents.