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Athlete Spotlights

LacrosseU: Conor Foley 

In the past few years, Conor Foley has been able to combine his love for lacrosse with two things he’s passionate about – his home state of Massachusetts and his family’s Irish heritage. 

Foley, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has played for Ireland’s national team at two recent world championships. 

“Playing for UMass is something that’s really important to me,” said Foley. “Wearing ‘Massachusetts’ across my chest – I grew up here in Massachusetts and have always looked up to the players that have played here, and [wanting to] continue that, and also playing for something bigger than myself with Ireland, playing for my heritage.” 

He found the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 2022 Men’s U21 World Championship in Limerick, Ireland at his first international debut. 

“I couldn’t believe how awesome Limerick was. It was great to host those games and play in front of family and friends,” said Foley. 

In Limerick, Foley tallied 23 goals and dished out 9 assists, leading Ireland to seventh place in the tournament. Foley had the opportunity to represent Ireland again in San Diego, California this past summer at the Men’s Championship, racking up 16 goals and 8 assists.  

“Playing in San Diego was unbelievable as well. Running into guys from UMass this past summer was pretty cool,” said Foley. “Seeing guys like Jeff Trainor, who now plays in the PLL, dominate on the world stage was awesome. Also Fitzy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played for Israel and he guarded me, and it was fun to match up against him in a real game. Trying to keep it serious while also knowing he’s my buddy, that was fun.” 

Foley has strong admiration for being able to represent his family’s heritage on the international stage. 

“Representing Ireland in lacrosse means everything to me. Coming from a family of lacrosse players, I think growing the game over there [Ireland] is something that’s really important to me and it means a lot,” said Foley. 

That growth is not limited to Ireland. Foley’s experiences at the world championships have opened his eyes to the global growth of the game. 

“You can really see how much the game has grown and how much support it’s getting,” Foley said. “Lacrosse is growing at an exponential rate now that it’s in the Olympics and now that you’re seeing college and professional lacrosse getting more attention, it’s very exciting … It’s every athlete’s dream to play in the Olympics, and hopefully, getting that chance would be unbelievable.” 

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