LYNN — Tuesday’s 24th annual Agganis Girls Soccer All-Star game will be a special one for St. Mary’s coach Jim Foley. He’ll have one final chance to coach three of his players, including his daughter, Jenna, on the Spartans’ home turf at Manning Field.
“I wish I had some more time,” Foley said. “They grow up so fast. It’s going to be nice to have one last go-round with Jenna at Manning. We’ve had a great run at St. Mary’s. It’s going to be awesome coaching her and seeing her play, as her dad especially.”
Along with midfielder Jenna Foley, St. Mary’s teammates Sherly Feliz (midfielder) and Joslyn Deschenes (defender) will suit up one last time for their high school coach.
“It’s nice to get a chance to coach them one last time,” Foley said. “It’s kind of bittersweet. All three of them played a huge impact on the program. My daughter has been in the program since she was a sixth-grader. It’s bittersweet but it’s great to be able to coach this group one last time.”
Foley will also coach his cousin, Beverly attacker Jordan Butters, on the South all-star team.
The three Spartans, all four-year varsity players, played key roles in the success St. Mary’s has seen over the past four seasons. They helped the Spartans to four Lynn City Championships, four Division 4 North state tournament appearances and a Division 4 North sectional championship as freshmen in 2015. St. Mary’s went back to the sectional final in 2016 but fell short to Division 4 powerhouse Amesbury.
This past season, the trio led St. Mary’s to an 11-6-1 mark and the No. 10 seed in Division 4 North. St. Mary’s defeated Lowell Catholic in the first round of the tournament and Tech Boston in the quarterfinal. The Spartans fell one goal short in the semifinal, a hard-fought 1-0 loss to Amesbury.
“They worked hard all four years they’ve been here,” Foley said. “It’s a testament to the school. Jeff Newhall does a great job as athletic director. These three girls worked really hard. It’s not like they just show up. We try to put them in the best places to succeed and do what they do, but these three worked very hard and that’s why we’ve been so successful. We’re really going to miss that next season.”
All three have their future endeavors sealed and official. Jenna Foley will attend St. Anselm, Deschenes is off to the University of Rhode Island and Feliz will play Division III soccer at Wentworth. Feliz signed her letter of intent in March.
“Sherly’s going to get on the field,” Foley said. “It’s tough to break in as a freshman but she has the work ethic and the skill level to break in. She’s going to do very well. All three of these girls have graduated from high school and are going to college. That’s what’s most important.”
Foley’s involvement with the Agganis games stretches beyond coaching. He serves as the Agganis Game Director for the boys and girls soccer games, working alongside Agganis Director Paul Halloran in organizing rosters and making sure things run smoothly.
“I enjoy it, I enjoy working with Paul,” Foley said. “He does a great job getting everything organized and running. I help him put the boys and girls teams together. I enjoy working with the Agganis community. They do so much for the community, helping with all the scholarships and all that. They’ve done a lot for the community. It’s a worthwhile thing to volunteer your time for.
“Not all of these kids will play in college,” Foley said. “It gives them one last chance to play the sport they love for one last time, a sport they probably played in high school for four years. It’s a unique experience for a lot of these kids. A lot of them realize they might not play again. It gives them one last time to lace them up and play. There’s multiple athletes that play in multiple all-star games and that’s nice to see.”
The 24th Agganis All-Star girls soccer game kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Manning Field, followed by the boys game at 7.