As a soccer midfielder, Alison Foley knew a good deal about timing. She possessed both the skills and ihe instincts to deliver the ball at the precise moment to a charging striker poised to put the ball in the back of the net.
So when Foley recalled the circumstances that brought her to Keene Stale College, it was only appropriate that the Plymouth, Mass., native would talk about "timing" and the unusual circumstance that eventually put her in an Owl uniform.
"I went to Boston College on a recruiting trip, and they just happened to be playing Keene State," Foley said. "I just liked how Keene State played. I thought they had more passion for the game than any other college team I'd seen at the time."
"When I visited Keene State a few weeks later, I really liked the team and felt comfortable with Coach Dave Lombardo, and the rest is history," Foley said.
Stepping right on the field in her first collegiate game, ironically against Boston College, Foley wasted little time demonstrating the crowd-pleasing ball skills and unrelenting determination that helped catapult KSC to the NCAA Division II final four and earn her All-Region and All-New England honors as a freshman.
Eventually moved to the center midfield position by Coach Bert Poirier to exploit her talents, Foley became the Owls' field general. "He felt I had a good sense of the game and wanted everything to go through me," Foley said.
Foley more than lived up to expectations. Playing alongside talented teammates such KSC's all-time leading scorer, Philo Robinson, and present coach, Denise Lyons, she helped the Owls amass an incredible 56-20-6 record during a career that included four consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
"We were always ready to accept challenges," said Foley, whose Owl teams faced a demanding schedule that included several Division I opponents as well as some of the nation's top Division II teams at the time. "Even if teams had more scholarship money or had more talent, we were always determined to give the extra effort that would make the difference."
A four-time All-Region and All-New England selection, who would be named to the NCAA All-Tournament team on three occasions, Foley became the third KSC women's soccer player to earn All-America honors following her junior season
Although she still holds the Owls' game assists record (4) and is fourth on KSC's all-time scoring list with 90 points, Foley's career was more than just numbers or awards.
"It was her work ethic that made her special," said Poirer, who coached Foley for three seasons. "Whenever Alison stepped on the field, whether it was practice or a game, it was always 120 percent."
"Alison was the defining franchise player that put Keene State over the top," added Lombardo, the current women's coach at James Madison University, where Foley would begin her coaching career after graduating from KSC. "No one had a bigger heart. She was the glue that made it all work."
Foley, who returns to Keene State every summer to work at the Owls Soccer Camp, has utilized the same qualities that distinguished her as a player to become a successful coach. After spending three years as an assistant at JMU, Foley moved on to Angelo State University for a year before taking over as the head women's coach at Boston College last fall.