No athlete wants forced time off, but Shannon Foley (Col ’07) used a season on the sidelines to her advantage.
In 2006, she tore a ligament in her right knee while playing in a summer soccer camp at UVA. The injury took her out of the lineup for the entire season. So she put her eyes to work while her leg rested.
“I learned a lot just from watching soccer,” says Foley, a graduate student in the Curry School of Education. “You definitely notice people’s tendencies, and you relate them to yourself.”
One focus was working on set plays—from free kicks to corner kicks. The dividends have been obvious this season. Against West Virginia, Foley curled a corner kick past the keeper into the net.
An assist in that game also brought her close to the UVA all-time assist record. Against Liberty University on Sept. 21, she made history with her 31st career assist.
Though she’s thrilled at that accomplishment, team goals are more important. One of those is to make a strong run in the NCAA Tournament.
Beyond this season, Foley is eyeing a teaching career, possibly abroad. Wherever she goes, she will have learned a lesson through her injury. “It makes you appreciate playing a lot more,” she says. “It was definitely a wake-up call.”