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 audreypress.com 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 dwolcott@wickedlocal.com with information on the nominee.

Podcasts about The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide!

Co-author Alison Foley will be on Tackling College Sports podcast with Chris LeGates

Co-author Alison Foley will be on Tackling College Sports podcast with Chris LeGates on Thursday, May 14th at 11 am EST.

Co-author Alison Foley will be on Tackling College Sports podcast with Chris LeGates

Also, she will be on  Over the Ball podcast with Kevin Flynn on Thursday, May 21 at 10am EST.

Alison Foley will be on Over the Ball podcast with Kevin Flynn

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Tackling College Sports episode 039 with Alison Foley is available here. We discuss recruiting during COVID-19. Lots of useful info for student-athletes & her new book “The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship” is available here.

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

Three bonus chapters in new eBook of How To Coach Girls!

New How To Coach Girls ebook with 3 bonus chapters! Purchase it here.

There are 3 bonus chapters in eBook of How To Coach Girls:

  • When Girls Don’t Want to Be at Practice
  • Integrating Injured Players
  • Making Connections Team Building Games

Three bonus chapters in new eBook of How To Coach Girls!

When Girls Don’t Want to be at Practice

We heard from parent volunteer coaches who coach younger girls’ teams. What do you do when a parent has signed up their daughter to try a sport but she doesn’t want to be there? Perhaps she is not participating or distracting others. How do you get these players engaged?

Integrating Injured Players

Whether it’s a long term injury or a short term one, how do you keep injured players from feeling like they are part of the team when they can’t do the practice?

Making Connections

We have found that girls stay in sports when they have meaningful social connections with teammates and coaches. Sports is a great way to meet new people and coaches can facilitate connections between girls through quick, fun, and easy icebreakers and games that are easy to integrate into a practice. Special thanks to Sidnie Kulik, Alison’s daughter, for the ice breaker games and topics in this chapter!

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Alison Foley Featured in Boston Globe

Alison Foley Boston Globe

Alison Foley, co-author of How To Coach Girls, is featured in the Boston Globe.

 

BE MAGAZINE

How young is too young to recruit kids for college teams?

As women’s soccer coach at Boston College, Alison Foley grappled with practices that had girls committing to teams while in middle school.

Alison Foley, the winningest coach in the history of Boston College women’s soccer, became troubled by the sharp rise in recruiting middle school girls through “verbal commitments.”Alison Foley, the winningest coach in the history of Boston College women’s soccer, became troubled by the sharp rise in recruiting middle school girls through “verbal commitments.” (JONATHAN WIGGS / GLOBE STAFF)

 

By the time Alison Foley entered her senior year at Plymouth-Carver High School in 1987, there was little doubt she was headed for big things in college soccer. Still, under NCAA rules, she waited until that fall to take her five official college visits and decide where to spend the next four years. She ultimately accepted an athletic scholarship to Keene State College, going on to earn All-America honors.

But as the head women’s soccer coach for Boston College for the last two decades, Foley saw the landscape change dramatically. On the books, the NCAA now required prospective recruits to wait until junior year to visit colleges. In reality, though, at most elite Division I women’s soccer programs, team rosters were all set by the time of those visits. College coaches had long ago buttoned up their recruiting class through an off-the-books “verbal commitment” process that made the official one look like something of a sham.

The trend started with offers to 10th-graders, and then ninth-graders. About six years ago, Foley was troubled to see Division I coaches turn their focus to eighth-graders. The nonbinding verbal commitments were contingent on the girls being able to keep up their grades to meet college admissions standards for recruited athletes.

Still, how in the world were girls supposed to make that kind of consequential decision about college while in middle school, Foley wondered. Yet she could only see the trend accelerating. She’d become the winningest coach in the history of women’s soccer at BC. But for her program to continue thriving in the intense Atlantic Coast Conference, she’d need to spend time talking to middle school girls.

NCAA rules prevented her from initiating calls or sending texts to any girls before junior year. But it was perfectly legal for college coaches to give their phone numbers to promising players’ club coaches and then wait for those girls to call.

When they did call, Foley found that questions she typically asked high schoolers didn’t make much sense. “Do you want to do business or economics?” she says. “Half of them don’t even understand what economics is. They still have a piggy bank.” She noted that a large share of middle schoolers gravitated to colleges near them, too young to imagine ever being away from home.

Foley’s own daughter was developing into a more serious soccer player, and Foley felt a gulf growing between the advice she was giving as a parent and the strategy she was pursuing on the job. She told her daughter: Give yourself the chance to bloom academically, develop physically, and get to know yourself better so you can make a well-reasoned college choice. But as a coach, she joined her competitors in pursuing the top middle school athletes. “My value system,” she says, “wasn’t lining up.”

Lilly Reale and her younger sister, Sophie, had been all-in on soccer since shortly after they joined the South Shore Select soccer club eight years ago. Both committed as eighth-graders to playing for Boston College. Lilly, a chatty 15-year-old defender and member of the US national soccer team for her age group, has played in Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, and China. Sophie, a ponytailed 14-year-old striker who wears braces, just returned from her first overseas trip, to Spain.

Their mom, Melissa, says all the shuttling to practices and tournaments has been challenging but worth it. “It’s not easy being a 14- or 15-year-old girl in today’s society,” she says, “and I think soccer has been a wonderful distraction for them.”

She says she and her husband, Jeff, were careful never to pressure their kids to get a free ride to college via sports. Instead, they hoped soccer would eventually help their girls get into a good college that would be a good fit. Alison Foley had a close association with their soccer club and saw the girls develop over the years. The Reales felt reassured their daughters would be in good hands with her at BC.

Just before Christmas, though, Boston College made an announcement that stunned the world of women’s soccer. After 22 years, Foley was resigning as head coach. Other veteran BC coaches had departed following the arrival of a new athletic director on campus, but, with Foley’s record 280 wins, few people had seen her exit coming.

“I made the decision,” Foley says. “It wasn’t necessarily one thing. I’m a big relationship person, and things have to feel right for me.”

Lilly Reale learned the news while scrolling through Instagram and called her mom in tears. The entire family felt bewildered. They had nothing in writing to back up the verbal commitments. Would the new BC coach “decommit” one or both of the girls?

Foley says now, “When I gave the offer to Sophie, I certainly didn’t think I was going to leave so soon.”

After BC named Foley’s replacement in January, and he got a chance to see both Lilly and Sophie play, he made it clear BC remained committed to them, according to their mother. Though the Reales remain grateful for what soccer has done for the family, everyone’s eyes are open wider now. “Five years is a long time away,” Melissa says. “When the girls started in soccer, did I think they would be committing to a college in the eighth grade? Absolutely not.”

These days, Foley runs a consulting business advising girls (mostly high schoolers) and their families on how best to navigate the waters of college soccer. She tells her clients to choose their college based largely on what the campus offers. “If they have engineering, they’re going to have engineering four or five years from now,” she says. “But the coach might not be there.”

Foley loves her new role but acknowledges that she has her work cut out for her in trying to make the recruiting process less stressful. “There’s too much panic, in parents, in players,” she says. “Once a kid commits, it’s on their Instagram. Then everybody else thinks, ‘Oh no, there’s one less slot available. That window is closing. I’ve got to hurry up and make a decision.’ ”

All of this is leading to burnout and rushed decisions and, in some ways, lost childhood. The pressure that starts as early as kindergarten soccer and escalates all the way to the college quad has become insanely fierce, she says. “I think it’s unstoppable.”

But there is one surprising new development that has left her feeling more optimistic. On April 19, the NCAA adopted a new rule that prohibits coaches in many sports, including women’s soccer, from having any communication with prospective recruits before the end of their sophomore year in high school. The restriction went into effect May 1.

I ask Foley if she thinks this new rule will fix the problems, or if coaches and families will simply find a new loophole. (The NCAA decided against an outright ban on verbal commitments, saying it would be too hard to enforce.) She replies, “I hope everybody abides by it, and they don’t fight it.”

This conversation I’m having with Foley takes place on the last day of April, the eve of the new rule going into effect. “There are probably a lot of calls going on right now” between coaches and kids trying to wrap up verbal commitments, she cracks. “And there will be all night.”

If the new policy helps bring some sanity back to recruiting, she says, she might even want to return to coaching. Right now, she’s content to take the advice she gave her daughter — a 10th-grader who has yet to commit to a college — and just slow down.


Neil Swidey is the Globe Magazine’s staff writer. E-mail him at swidey@globe.com and follow him on Twitter @neilswidey.

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We’re Keynote Speakers for 3rd Annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Symposium

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)

 

Alison and I are thrilled to be presenting the keynote address for the 3rd Annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Symposium!

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)

We will also be leading a breakout session on Gender Equity – Empowering Women and Girls

Friday, May 10, 2019

MIAA/MSAA Office, 33 Forge Parkway, Franklin MA

Registration: 8:30-8:45am

Opening Session: 8:45-9:00am

Concurrent Sessions 9:00am-12:00pm

Lunch: 12:00pm

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)

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We were featured in AYSO 90 Second Soccer Parent Newsletter

We were featured in AYSO 90 Second Soccer Parent Newsletter

Thank you to the AYSO for including us!

How To Coach Girls featured in 90 Second Soccer Parent Newsletter, a national e-newsletter for all AYSO parents.

The newsletter can be found here: https://madmimi.com/p/c4f75d

We were featured in AYSO 90 Second Soccer Parent Newsletter

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How To Coach Girls Event at Regis College rescheduled for Feb 26!

Regis College Map

Our event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 26 from 6:00-7:15 pm in the Upper Student Center (note new location)

(How to Coach Girls event scheduled for Tuesday, 2/12 at Regis College has been postponed due to the impending snowstorm.)

We will be at Regis College for National Girls and Women in Sports Week!

How To Coach Girls for National Girls & Women in Sports Week 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

6pm-7:15pm

Upper Student Center: Campus Map

235 Wellesley St.

Weston, MA 02493

This event is free and open to the public.

Regis College Map

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Introducing Foley Athletic Advising

Foley Athletic Advising Alison Foley

Alison Foley left Boston College as Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer Team at the end of 2018. She launched her own company, Foley Athletic Advising:

At Foley Athletic Advising, we offer comprehensive on-field training, skill evaluation, and recruiting advising. On the field, we work with student athletes to help them achieve their full athletic potential.  Off the field, we work 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.

Foley Athletic Advising offers these services:

·      Individual Athletic Advising

·      Individual & Small Group Soccer Training

·      Assessment

·      Soccer Boot Camp for Teams

·     New England Top 100 College Showcase

 

Thank you to Sean Kenny, a US National Soccer Team Scout, for his kind words about Alison Foley of Foley Athletic Advising and co-author of HOW TO COACH GIRLS.

She has created the NEW ENGLAND TOP 100 COLLEGE SHOWCASE

Where: Boston, MA

When: June 8th and June 9th, 2019

Time: 9am – 6pm

The New England Top 100 College Showcase is an invitation-only event for girls who want to play soccer at the next level. It is an excellent way for players to get exposure without having to endure the expense and travel of other showcase events as we will bring college coaches to Boston.

Our showcase has commitments from top college women’s soccer coaches around the country in all divisions including UCLA, Georgetown University, Cornell University, Barry University, University of Bridgeport, Iona College, Fairfield University, Providence College, Southern Connecticut State University, Brown University, Albany University, Princeton University, and more, as well as scouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team. We will be updating our list of colleges weekly.

This is an opportunity for up to 100 female soccer players to participate by being nominated by their club and high school coaches.

Here is the form for High School and Club coaches to nominate players.

Players who are not nominated can attend Assessment sessions to earn a place at the showcase.

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Alison Foley Contributes Quote to HerLife Magazine

Alison Foley Contributes Quote to HerLife Magazine

Thank you to Catie Watson for letting Alison Foley contribute to your article on Qualities to Look For in a Children’s Sports Coach” for HERLIFE magazine. Here’s my quote:

I believe that  Coaches represent one of the most powerful positions in our kids’ lives.  Over time with good training, they can improve athletic skill and physical development which is very important.   However, instantaneously with words, they can impact players minds.  They can build up confidence or break it down.  They can elevate self-worth or leave kids to question themselves.  They can empower young athletes to believe in their dreams or strip these aspirations away.   Very few athletes will play in college or go on to a professional level.   Developing the physical skill set should be a secondary priority when choosing a coach.   Finding a coach that will encourage, speak with motivating words and be kind when needing to be critical is the number one criteria in coach selection for young athletes.

Alison Foley Contributes Quote to HerLife Magazine

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