Reid Foley remembers his earliest days on a lacrosse field, when, as a 9-year-old, he became extremely familiar with just how hard the sport’s solid rubber ball is.
“My older brother (Brian) would throw me in the goal and shoot on me,” Foley recalled with a laugh. “He was in high school then, and he was good. It was tough at times, but it helped me. I enjoyed those days playing with him and my other brother (Sean).
“Brian went on to play at Roanoke College. I fell in love with the game by playing with my brothers, and I decided I wanted to be good and play in college one day, too.”
Roughly eight years later, Foley doesn’t spend any time in the goal – but he’s become a bit of an expert at making sure the solid rubber ball does.
This spring, the Myers Park junior racked up 53 goals and an eye-popping 59 assists for the Mustangs, who finished the season with a 15-3 record and reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association regionals.
Along the way, Foley nabbed all-state and All-American honors and also is Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 Southern Mecklenburg Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Foley was one of the state’s most versatile players, frustrating teams with his ability to shoot and pass. His 59 assists, for instance, were an astounding total for an attackman – or any position on the field. His emphasis on deft passing developed while following the career of his favorite player, recent University of Virginia graduate Steele Stanwick, who won the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is regarded as college lacrosse’s version of football’s Heisman Trophy.
“(Stanwick) was just a great feeder, always keeping his eyes up,” Foley said. “I sort of try to stay the same way. I value my ability to keep my eyes open always and try not to be selfish so I can make the extra pass, and it kind of worked out for me this year.”
Flanked by another spectacular scorer, fellow junior Drew Ortiz, Foley was able to attack his opponents in different ways. Some days, he focused on scoring, as he did when he posted six goals against Butler; other times, he could be take the action as it came, evidenced by a five-goal, four-assist performance against Providence.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder used a combination of strength and speed to conquer opponents, but, as Foley said, “Those aren’t my greatest strengths. I try to out-smart people. That works for me a lot.”
Foley has never gotten a “C” in his high school career, and he expects to continue that streak when he attends the Air Force Academy, where he has committed to play after graduating from Myers Park in 2013. He chose Air Force after considering Rutgers, High Point, Stonybrook and Amherst.
“I’m glad my (college) decision is out of the way,” he said. “My goal is to maybe get time as a freshman and work my way up to starting, hopefully, my freshman year. From there, I’d love to become a captain and maybe become a leading scorer.”
Just as he did this spring.