According to 90s rock band Blink-182, nobody likes you when you are 23, but more than enough people seem to like Santa Clara native Josh Foley. The 23-year-old graduated from Wilcox in 2014 and is already the longest tenured soccer coach at his alma mater. Now, in his fourth season as the head man of the JV boys team, Foley has helped varsity Head Coach Tomas Montes rebuild a program that saw varsity struggle mightily in 2016 and 2017, but now is competing for CCS Championships.
Last season, the varsity team went all the way to the CCS Championship in Division III, losing a tightly contested game, nearly tying it the final minutes. This year, the varsity squad has been playing toe-to-toe with teams in higher divisions during the non-league preseason portion of the schedule. For Foley, seeing kids he has coached at JV go on and have success at the varsity level is incredibly rewarding.
“It’s why I do the job. These kids, they will go as far as you tell them. If you tell them you want a certain standard, they will keep it. If you show them the same amount of effort and passion, and they’ll just give it back to you,” remarked Foley. “Work ethic and not giving up is what we have instilled in these kids. The fruits of their labor are coming at this point. [Varsity] has been playing D1 teams and haven’t lost yet this year.”
Thus far on the season varsity is 2-0-4, after finishing last season with an overall record of 14-3-5. Combined that is a record of 16-3-9, only three losses out of 28 total games played. One particular current varsity player, Shivam Amin, spent two years with Foley. The young JV coach saw the talent immediately and wanted nothing but to make sure Amin believed in himself as much as Foley believed in him as a coach.
“I had Shavim as one of my captains, he’s a bulldog on the field. Sometimes he would be a little unsure of himself as far as being in that role, but I always just pushed him to believe in himself and his abilities,” remarked Foley on Amin. “When he trusts his instincts and just plays, he’s amazing.”
While Foley has helped Montes by developing players at the JV level, Montes has helped Foley as a coach by playing the role of mentor to his coaching protege.
“When I was younger, when I first started as a teenager, I was all about passion,” recalled Foley on starting out as a coach. “I wanted to make a name for myself, and get us known, and that rubbed some people the wrong way, with the way we were winning. I made it a point to blow people out. Montes has helped me mature as a coach, teaching me how winning with class is just as important as winning. To have respect for the game, to have respect for the opponent. All of us have been on the other side of beat downs, you don’t want to lose like that. You want to have a classy reputation.”
With Foley and Montes leading the way, the Wilcox boys soccer program looks to be in good hands for years to come.