Alison Foley featured in Plymouth Wicked Local!

PLYMOUTH 50-for-50: Her competitive nature set Alison Foley apart from the rest on the soccer field

PLYMOUTH 50-for-50: Her competitive nature set Alison Foley apart from the rest on the soccer field

She’s part of their 50-for-50 series!

Posted at 6:00 AM

A true passion for the game helped Alison Foley excel as a soccer player and coach.

PLYMOUTH – The list of soccer credentials for this week’s 50-for-50 profile Alison Foley is long as well as impressive, and it all began with Plymouth Youth Soccer.

“It seems so long ago,” Foley joked. “My dad, Tom, was vice-president of Plymouth Youth Soccer, and he helped get it up and running with league president John Tocci. My older brother played soccer and that opened the door for myself and my brother (Plymouth North Girls Soccer Head Coach Eric Foley) to get involved with the game.

“I loved playing soccer when I was younger, and I guess I was lucky enough never to lose that love of the game.”

After a great playing career at Plymouth-Carver (Class of 1988) and then Keene State College (’91), Alison easily transitioned into the coaching ranks. She started right away as an assistant coach while working on her graduate degree at James Madison University. She was there for four years before traveling to Texas to take over as head coach of the Angelo State program for two seasons.

The Boston College head coaching job opened up in 1997 and that’s where Foley would call home for the next 22 seasons, becoming the winningest coach in program history (280-145-39). Along the way she led her teams to 15 NCAA Division I tournament appearances. Foley’s teams made it to the Sweet 16 eight times, the Elite 8 in four seasons as well as the Final Four in 2010.

Dennis Azevedo coached Foley in soccer and basketball at Plymouth-Carver. He said there was one thing in particular that set her apart.

“Alison had a competitive fire inside her that was unlike anything I’ve seen before or since,” Azevedo said. “She was absolutely driven to win and was not going to stop until she got to where she wanted to be.”

“I remember one home game when we were taking on Weymouth South for the Old Colony League championship,” Azevedo said. “They were coming off the bus and walking down the hill at the old Mario J. Romano Field when we saw that the coach was wearing a sweatshirt that had a P-C on it with a slash going through it.

“The girls were a little ticked when they saw what she was wearing, as was I, but Alison came up to me and said not to worry because she had the situation handled. Well Alison goes out and scores four goals and we take the OCL title with a 5-1 victory.

“That tells you all you need to know about Alison’s competitive nature. We were already a good soccer team, and Alison’s talent and drive made us into a very good soccer team.”

An All-State center midfielder twice at Plymouth-Carver, success followed Alison to Keene State, where she was a Division III All-American in 1990. She scored 33 goals and added 24 assists for 90 career points and is still ninth in career assists and points and 10th in career goals in program history.

Alison left Boston College after the 2018 season, but soccer is still a big part of Foley’s daily life. She’s a scout for the U.S. Youth National Soccer program and is CEO of Foley Athletic Advising, a business that helps guide families through the college recruiting process.

“I’m having a lot of fun with this business venture,” said Alison, who turned 50 last month. “We work as a consultant for prospective student-athletes who might be looking to play in college. We’ve got a lot of soccer players, but we have a good amount of kids that play other sports as well.”

A big part of finding the right college path for families is remembering there are two parts to the student-athlete combination.

“There are equal parts to that equation: student and athlete,” Alison explained. “It helps when you look at a prospective college and take athletics out of the equation. Does the school have what you want if you weren’t playing sports? You have to look at the size of the school, what majors does it have that might interest you, and what are the other intangibles” that could sway your decision.

“You also must remember that choosing a college is a process. Things very well could change along the way.”

Foley is becoming more experienced with the college recruiting process every day. Her daughter, Sidnie, is a high school junior being recruited as both a track star and a soccer player.

“I’m going through the recruiting process right now with Sidnie,” said Foley. “It opens your eyes seeing it from a different point of view.”

Foley recently finished her second book with co-author Mia Wenjen. “The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: The Insiders Guide” is available on Amazon as well this week.

Each week during 2020, the 50-for-50 project will profile a Plymouth person or state championship team that positively impacted the town in the last 50 years. To nominate someone, email Sports Editor David Wolcott Jr. at with information on the nominee.

The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide is Out!

Alison Foley and I have a new book out, The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide, that helps parents and athletes navigate the college athletic recruitment landscape.

The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide

The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide by Mia Wenjen and Alison Foley

Did you know that 80% of parents put their kids in sports with the hopes they can attend college on an athletic scholarship? But, without knowing the facts and strategies behind attaining the elusive full-ride scholarship, only 7% of high school athletes move on to college sports.

For those looking to go to college on a sports scholarship, the recruiting process can be both daunting and overwhelming. The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide breaks down the process step-by-step to help parents and athletes navigate the system and find the right college fit. Inside the pages of this book, readers will discover the answers to essential questions, such as: how do I get recruited, what are coaches looking for, and when does recruitment start? The book also covers crucial topics including recruiting Do’s & Don’ts; ways to communicate with coaches, teams, and schools; how academics play into the recruiting process; how to build a recruitment kit; the role parents play,  and much more. This guide lays out all the advice needed to maneuver through the recruiting and scholarship process successfully – and with minimum stress.

The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide

available May 18, 2020.

Order here.


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More books by Mia Wenjen:

Asian Pacific American Heroes Mia Wenjen

Soccer Girl, Interrupted” ― An Afterword by Roberta Lunardo

Please welcome author and journalist Roberta Lunardo today, with an afterword to her book on her daughter’s soccer journey.


“Soccer Girl, Interrupted” ― An Afterword by Roberta Lunardo *

I hope I can find the words to express how proud I am of my daughter’s overcoming the toxic environment she had to face as a very young girl. Two years ago, when Melissa was only nine years old, she had to go through the events chronicled in “Soccer Girl, Interrupted” and her confidence was shattered. After a long process of identifying the problem―bullying, soccer mom from hell, unprofessional coach, favoritism, and politics in the U.S. soccer club mentality―we removed her from that situation, regrouped, and got ready for her journey of recovery.

Today, as I sit here writing these lines, I can honestly say that those events have made her stronger. It still took some time for her to start to believe in herself again―it’s a never-ending process―and once in a while, she’ll make comments about the adults who have let her down. 

You only stop to think about the effects of emotional abuse when it comes to the surface and your daughter says something like, “Could you change that workout alarm on your phone? That’s what my old coach used during drills, and I don’t want to think about him.” That one comment told me that it still hurt to remember what she went through but, nevertheless, she was now able to voice her feelings and look back at it with a little bit of detachment.

We are glad she didn’t decide to quit soccer altogether after her experience, especially because she has extremely talented friends, both boys and girls, who have given up club soccer after the unpleasant experiences they have gone through themselves. Instead, Melissa focused on clinics while making the transition to a new club, worked hard, and found her place on a new team―this time with a coach who is not only a teacher but had been a professional soccer player himself and has a strong background coaching high school soccer. 

Above all, her new coach had the sensitivity to shift from a long career coaching teenage boys, to take over two all-girls teams for the first time (one with 10-year-olds and another with 12-year-olds) and make it a goal to develop individual players for the good of the collective in the long term. After all, as Mia Wenjen and Alison Foley tell us in “How to Coach Girls,” coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal, and it takes a different approach when building the confidence of young female athletes.

Melissa has also been displaying her love for soccer in other ways: watching matches on TV, going to indoor soccer games to support a local professional team, and acting as Assistant Coach to Daddy as part of her own brother’s recreational soccer experience. The expression on her face when she is helping the little ones―ages six and seven, who inevitably look up to her―could only be described as joyfully proud.

Recently, her latest accomplishment in recovering from emotional trauma was her decision to go back to recreational indoor soccer, on top of her already busy soccer schedule. Watching her brother’s team play reminded her of how she started out playing indoor at age seven. She remembered how fun it was and asked us to sign her up for the upcoming season.

Today, she’s been acting as a team leader in the 10-12 age group indoor, considering her experience in competitive club soccer and assistant coaching. She helps organize the team from inside the field, reminds her players of positioning, encourages them to work hard while leading by example, and selfless passes to give others a chance to score, even if that means missing a scoring opportunity herself. Celebrating her teammate’s first goal ever in a game was just as meaningful to her (or even more) as celebrating a goal of her own.

And, since it’s a coed indoor soccer experience, she has gone back to being the battling beast we all knew from before she had adults tearing her down at her old club. When playing against boys, it seems that she believes in herself even more, because she knows that she can keep up with the most skilled and toughest players, because she is just as skilled and tough herself, and she is not “just a girl.” 

Averaging a couple of goals a game, sometimes from foul kicks placed with strength and precision on the upper corners of the goal, she’s been playing her heart out as she hears opposing coaches yelling at their players, “Take her out! Block her! Don’t let her beat you to the ball!” 

That kind of recognition and the encouragement she gets from parents from opposing teams after a match is all she needs right now to remember that she is allowed to keep going and follow her dreams. When parents come to congratulate me and my husband, saying that our daughter is a very good player, we simply smile and thank them for their compliments. However, deep down, what we tell ourselves is, We already knew she was a good player, but now we know she is safe and knows her own value.

Roberta Lunardo is a journalist born in South America who has been living in the United States since the early 2000s. She is the author of “Soccer Girl, Interrupted,” which chronicles her then 9-year-old daughter’s struggles in a toxic club soccer environment.

Celebrate End of the Season with Award Certificates for Every Player!

Free Sports Award Certificates

I remember how nervous my daughter was when she moved up from the second to the first team at club soccer. She had worked hard all year to reach this goal, training every day between town soccer, club soccer, and a private coach.

After tryouts, her club played one final soccer tournament and the coach of the first team invited all the girls who were moving up to play on their team. Now, I want to note that my daughter and her second team friends knew the first team girls. The two teams had years of combined practices either when one coach could not make a practice or just for team building. There were strong bonds already, and the first team girls were uniformly welcoming.

Still, my daughter was worried about making a mistake in front of her new teammates. This tournament was hosted by her club soccer organization and was meant to bring all the different locations of the club together. In other words, no pressure. This was purely for fun!

At the end of the tournament, her new team gathered under a shady tree. The parent team manager was a kind man who always made an effort to make the new girls feel welcome. He and his daughter had prepared certificates for each player which was presented with a short, funny story and something from the drug store that best exemplified the award. For example, the Most Inclusive Player received a Kind bar.

My daughter was touched to be included in this informal ceremony. Even though, her new team didn’t know her that well, they created an award for her and told a story that made her feel like a valued part of the team.

To make it easy for parent volunteer coaches, we have free downloadable and editable award certificates on our website.

Free Sports Award Certificates

These 35 award certificates are for:

  • Most Positive Player
  • Best Free Kick
  • Best Assist
  • Best Goal
  • Best Penalty Kick
  • Best Throw In
  • Best Save
  • Best Passer
  • Best Attitude
  • Hardest Working
  • Most Dedicated
  • Best Award for Defending
  • Best Cheerleader
  • Most Responsible
  • Most Inclusive
  • Most Motivating
  • Fashionista
  • Never Gives Up
  • Coolest Cleats
  • Fastest Runner and Highest Jumper
  • Most Passionate
  • Most Improved
  • Most Knowledgeable About the Sport
  • Last One Off the Field
  • Always Willing to Help Out
  • Most Supportive
  • Most Focused
  • Performance Under Pressure
  • Risk Taker
  • Not Afraid to Try
  • Fun Award
  • Clutch Award
  • Award for _____________

We hope, as the spring season winds down, this will help coaches end the season on a high note.


Mia Wenjen blogs on parenting, education, and diverse children’s books at PragmaticMom. For more information about HOW TO COACH GIRLS, please visit our website. It is available for purchase at Audrey Press.

Alison Foley is the head coach for women’s soccer at Boston College. In addition to co-authoring HOW TO COACH GIRLS, she created a winter training class, Soccer on the Mat, that combines Brazilian feet skills with yoga.




Free Downloadable Soccer Player Evaluation Form for Coaches

How To Coach Girls FREE Soccer Player Evaluation Form

In HOW TO COACH GIRLS, Alison talks about the need to give positive feedback on a constant and regular basis to her players. She gives different examples of how to recognize the achievement of her players, both on and off the pitch.

As the season winds down, I remember how validating it was for my daughter to get a verbal and written evaluation form. Her soccer coaches used the evaluation to recognize and celebrate her development. From the point of view of Growth Mindset, soccer can be used a real-world example that consistent effort is the reason for new skills like curving a shot into goal, or 1v1 evasive maneuvers. Natural ability, particularly in a skill-focused game like soccer, only goes so far.

To make it easy for parent volunteer coaches to give their players an assessment, we created a free, downloadable form that includes attributes such as:

  • Works hard in practice
  • Leads by example
  • Sportsmanship
  • Team Player
  • Agility
  • Quickness
  • Aggression
  • Willing to learn new skills
  • Endurance
  • Overall Fitness
  • Game Sense

You can get the form here.

How To Coach Girls FREE Soccer Player Evaluation Form

Alison recommends that the written evaluation always be accompanied with a face-to-face private conversation. This can be done by simply doing short meetings in a corner of the soccer field. The idea is to go over the form, celebrating each player’s development, and recognizing where they were at the start of the season to how far they have progressed.

From this place of positive reinforcement, you can gently set with your player,  goals for next season, even if you are not going to be coaching this team again. It is often illuminating just to ask the question to the player, “what do you want to work on for next season?” Girls are often their harshest critics so words of encouragement go a long way.

My daughter’s first evaluation with her coach on the first team was simply centered around his telling her that she’s a good soccer player. For him to believe in her went a long way in making her feel like she belonged on this new, higher level team. It bonded to her to him as her coach in a way that she would put forth her best effort both on the practice field and in a game. For a coach to believe in a player is a gift that will carry past soccer games and into life.

I have a 3-ring binder of my daughter’s evaluations. It includes her report cards, standardized test scores, and sports evaluations. It’s a keepsake that I think she will appreciate when she has children and can look back at how working hard has shaped her life. It’s part of precious memories she will carry forever, including how her soccer coach believed in her and made her a better player.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.