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Soccer: Ragin' Cajuns Eight For Eight - Rebecca Foley

With eight home matches and eight seniors on the 2017 squad, RaginCajuns.com will be profiling each senior heading into home weekends.  This weekend senior Rebecca Foley will be featured.

LAFAYETTE – Patience is a virtue that is learned from hard work and adversity.  Senior defender Rebecca Foley has seen her share of adversity, but she's learned to grow and mature from it become an inspirational leader both on and off the field for the Ragin' Cajuns women's soccer team.
"As I person I take so many lessons that I've learned in the past four years, not just from soccer, but even outside of soccer," said Foley.  "Almost every single day I use the mentality of patience and hard work almost every single day."
Foley comes from Coral Springs, Florida and she had inspiration to become the person she's become today right in her own home.  Before making the choice of which school she was going to attend, her family was hit with a bit of news that could've submarined her college career before even starting.
Her mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, but she didn't miss a beat and Foley saw that. 
"My mother, she was a rock star through it all and she taught me to be patient and to not give up," said Foley.  "She's a fighter, and being a young woman to see your mother go through that, it teaches you a lot as a person. 
"For me it put in place that if someone you truly care about can get through these things, then you can get through anything."
Her mother's fighting spirit prepared Foley for the challenges she would face through her years of playing soccer at Louisiana, but first the game gave before taking.
Foley started playing the beautiful game when she was 11-years-old and still living in St. Louis, Missouri.  "My older sister played basketball and I wanted to try something different that was my own, and I had friends in school that played soccer and I decided to sign up and give it a try," said Foley.
"Because I was so much taller than everyone else they put me in the age group that was a couple of years older than I was at the time," said Foley.  "I started and I never stopped because I wanted more from it and really fell in love with the game." 
It was soccer, and her love for the game, that helped Foley get through the first big hurdle she faced as a young woman, when her parents separated and she made the move to south Florida.
"When I moved to south Florida I joined the teams down there and I made friends I'll have for life and those friends became family," said Foley.  "With my parents going through what they were, my coaches and teammates became my extended family and soccer gave me that. 
"The comrodery that you gain from being a part of the team is special.  And I feel soccer gives you that specifically because I think that it takes a certain type of person, with a lot of heart, to get out there and run around in the hot sun."
With her love for the game solidified it was time to take her talents to the next level, and while she drew strength from her mother's battles, she began the search for a school to attend.
It was in that search that her father stepped in and gave her a helping hand to get through that decision.
"My dad had actually moved to this area for his new job right around the time I was looking at schools," said Foley.  "He brought up Louisiana, and we took the tour together.  I really liked that I would be around my father and that helped me make the choice of coming here to Louisiana."
Besides her father's proximity, other factors went into her decision to make the move to Lafayette, the food being a big part of it.  "I'm a bit of a foodie so that part really caught my attention," said Foley. "And the food down here is great like I've never seen."
But there were other factors that made Foley want to join the Ragin' Cajuns family.
"The atmosphere here is great and I felt like everyone I talked to was really kind," said Foley.  "It's also a slower paced lifestyle here as compared to the south Florida way of life and the red brick of the buildings on campus really drew my attention since it was a unique style I hadn't seen before."
What Foley didn't know was that she was instore for a learning experience like she'd never seen before when she stepped up from high school to college.
"In my life, I've never been pushed as hard as I was here," said Foley.  "I've got this god given ability of being tall and big but until coming here I'd never truly pushed it to the limit."
She slightly unprepared for the challenges she faced and during her freshman season she took a redshirt she wasn't ready to play and didn't see one minute of action.
During that offseason, Foley was faced with a decision she didn't think she would ever have to make. 
"I took a step back and during the winter break of my freshman year I said to myself that I'm done, that I'm not going to play and I'm going to go back in the spring and I'm going to quit," said Foley.
But once again she turned to her parents for the strength of patience and with her mother's strong will of never giving up and her father's own personal experiences dealing with the same situation she was going through, "my dad, when he was in college, he went through a similar scenario and I never knew that.  He told me about it when I was going through my situation here at Louisiana," said Foley.  She decided she wasn't finished with soccer.  "there was that little voice inside of me that said don't you dare quit, don't you dare be a quitter," said Foley.
And with that driving force she rededicated herself to the game, and now during her senior season the hard work is finally paying off. 
"Her play time wasn't regular for us the last few seasons," said head coach Scot Wieland.  "But last year she was such a selfless player for us.  She made trips knowing that she wasn't going to play but she wanted to be there and that's so inspirational to her teammates.  You've got to have kids like that on the team, having someone like her is extremely important."
Foley got her first start on Sept. 1 against Southeastern Louisiana and she played all 90 minutes.  Since then she hasn't missed the starting lineup since, racking up 498 minutes which is already more minutes than the previous two season combined.
"It all happened during one practice we had this season," said coach Wieland.  "we were working on winning the ball off set pieces.  And she got up in the air for a 50-50 challenge and it was just one of those moments where I said, there it is."
That fearlessness paid off during Nicholls when she scored her first career goal on exactly what earned her the starting job, a set piece.
"It was a perfect ball, I didn't have to go through anyone to get there," said Foley.  "Una [Einarsdottir] served it perfectly and I just made the run and placed it in there." 
"At first I was like ok good and didn't even break a smile, but then I heard Whitney [Taggart] say to me to smile and I responded with a big ok and ran up to my teammates extremely happy with a cheek to cheek smile."
As this season rolls along, Foley knows that no matter what happens she's ready to face anything because in her life, she's already handled so much.
"As I person I take so many lessons that I've learned in the past four years, not just from soccer, but even outside of soccer," said Foley.  "Almost every single day I use the mentality of patience and hard work almost every single day."
Foley's patience has become her virtue, and the hard work she's developed here means success for the Cajuns on the pitch and success for Foley in life once she finally quiets the little voice in her head that just wouldn't let her give up the beautiful game.

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