Alison Foley on SportLight!

Alison Foley on SportLight: Special Guest Saturday.

She talks about playing soccer, coaching girls at Boston College, and her two books: How To Coach Girls and The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide

Our Book has reached Ireland!

Thank you Aisling Nig Ruairc and Joyce Lamb!


Hi Mia and Alison,

Below is a link to an interview Aisling did about her project Keep Your Girls Playing which she has been rolling out since September with the coaches, parents and 12-13 year old girls in our local GAA club:

There has been very positive feedback from the wider GAA community about her interview and she’s been happily recommending your book to any of the coaching educators that have been in contact. Hopefully you might get a few more book orders from Ireland!

Wishing you both a very Happy New Year.

Kind regards,

Joyce and Aisling

Cuala teenager showing how to keep girls playing Gaelic Games by John Harrington

And her ‘Keeping Girls Playing Project’ is having such a positive impact in Cuala that it will hopefully give other clubs some really helpful food for thought as to how best to keep girls involved in team sport.

“When I was researching this I came across a survey saying that one of two girls will drop out of team sport by the age of 13 and are three times more likely to give it up than boys are.

“It kind of shocked me at first because I know from my own personal experience of all the benefits that come from playing team sport.

“But when I thought about it made sense because my own team lost around half of our players by the time we were 13 and struggled to field a team at that age.

Alison Foley will be on Throw Big Throw Far Podcast!

Throw Big Throw Far Podcast

Alison Foley will be featured on Throw Big Throw Far Podcast on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 10:00 AM with Joe Frontier to talk about The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide.

Throw Big Throw Far Podcast

Throw Big Throw Far Podcast is for throwers and coaches who want to get better.

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Train With Me || Alison Foley Soccer Training || Episode 4

Train With Me || Alison Foley Soccer Training || Episode 4

Alison works with two girls on technical soccer skills, core strength, and fitness. Our fourth installment of high-intensity training drills to do at home.

To learn more about Foley Athletic Advising including more free training videos, check out her website.

Alison offers comprehensive on-field training, skill evaluation, and recruiting advising. On the field, she works with student-athletes to help them achieve their full athletic potential. Off the field, she works with student-athletes and their parents to create a stress-free roadmap to take the confusion out of the recruiting process and help get into their dream schools.

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.

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Soccer Team Service Project

How To Keep Girls In Sports series with Berkshire Soccer Academy

Once nice way to build team chemistry is to do a service project together. Many players on the team are so overscheduled that they are too busy to do charity work so doing it as part of the season is a nice way to fit it in.

You can let the players decide what they want to do. It can be as simple as wearing pink during one game to raise awareness for breast cancer. Collecting used cleats, gear, and uniforms at the end of the season to donate is another easy way to get kids involved.

If you want to let your team do service work during a practice or even as the practice and want ideas, here are some charities to support:

GuideStarCharityNavigator, and CharityWatch are a few websites that will give you an overview of an organization’s financial health and budget breakdown. GiveWell does in-depth research on programs that it determines have had the most impact on people’s lives and then suggests a handful of charities it deems best at delivering these programs.

We have our own list here:

Sports-Related Nonprofits

p.s. Don’t forget to verify the charity to make sure it is a tax-exempt organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service by reviewing its Form 990.

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.

Girls, Confidence, and Giving Feedback

Is it surprising that girls and women regularly underestimate their abilities and intelligence? It’s the opposite for boys and men who overestimate theirs.

Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, and her team asked 250 undergraduate biology students about their intelligence as compared to their colleagues.

“I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend,” Cooper said. “Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were ‘stupid.’ I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it.”

She found that men are 3.2 times more likely than women to believe they are smarter. On average, a man has a 61% chance of believing he is smarter than his colleagues, while a woman has only a 33% chance.

This confidence disparity by sex is not just true for biology students. Girls (and women) also underestimate their abilities across the board from academics to the workplace to sports. And, also notable, is that boys (and men) are the complete opposite, believing that they are better than they actually are.

Coach Alison Foley with South Shore Select

What does this mean for coaches of girls? The key to coaching girls is to establish a trust relationship with each member on your team. Only when this exists — and this means getting to know the whole person not just the athlete — will that player be able to accept feedback.

Coach Alison Foley recommends finding opportunities to give positive feedback to each player during practice. She says that it doesn’t always have to be skill based. Recognize players who shown empathy on the field. Praise teammates who have contributed off the field by doing service work. Celebrate teammates’ extracurricular achievements in performing arts by supporting their events.

She advises that girls can never be in the unknown. “Girls needs constant positive feedback because if they are not receiving it, they assume that either they are not doing well or that the coach doesn’t like them,” counsels Coach Foley.

Coach Alison Foley and Coach Ainslee Lamb

Field Hockey Coach Ainslee Lamb, who contributed to HOW TO COACH GIRLS, recalls asking her college players what they thought they do well. Even players on the national team were hesitant to acknowledge anything they do well. It’s not false modesty; it’s this same phenomenon that girls and women truly underestimate their own abilities.

It’s the small things that matter. Taking the time to connect with each player on an individual level will keep her in the game. She might not have the best shot. She might not be the fastest on the field. But if coach take the time to compliment a cool pair of cleats or thank her for doing something thoughtful or recognize her improvement, she’ll keep coming back. And one day, she might be even be the best on the team.

Alison Foley Mia Wenjen How to Coach Girls

Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, with girls quitting at 6x the rate of boys? 

Alison Foley, Boston College’s Women’s Head Soccer Coach, and Mia Wenjen, parenting blogger at, help coaches — both parent volunteer and professional — crack the code of how to keep girls in sports. 

Twenty-two chapters cover major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the challenges of coaching your own daughter. This is a hands-on manual to help coaches keep girls in sports!How To Coach Girls by Mia Wenjen and Alison Foley

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.