Favorite athlete: Brandon Graham
Favorite team: Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Beating Upper Dublin in overtime of the playoffs.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When Jared Kolsun dropped a wide open pass against Springfield
Music on playlist: I listen to all kinds of music, including rap, rock and country
Future plans: I am going to college and majoring in nursing and want to specialize in orthopedics. Depending on the school, I may try to walk on for long snapping.
Words to live by: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” -Jesus Christ
One goal before turning 30: Own a house
One thing people don’t know about me: I was not going to play football in high school if baseball didn’t get cancelled because of COVID my freshman year.
By Mary Jane Souder
Football was not part of Joe Foy’s plans.
Baseball was the sport of choice when the now Plymouth Whitemarsh senior entered high school. But then along came COVID-19, wiping out Foy’s freshman baseball season, and with his sophomore spring season seemingly light years away, Foy decided to try out for the football team. It is arguably one of the best things to come out of a pandemic that altered his best laid plans.
“I started football in sixth grade, but then I didn’t play in seventh for whatever reason,” he said. “I started playing in eighth grade again. In ninth grade, my parents didn’t want me playing. I was going to play baseball and then COVID happened, and baseball was cancelled.
“The next year I was like, ‘I want to play football again,’ so I tried out for the team. I played football for the rest of my career. No more baseball after that.”
The baseball team’s loss was the football team’s gain. This fall, Foy is a captain of a PW squad that captured the SOL American Conference title.
“He’s been a huge part of our success,” PW coach Dan Chang said. “Joe’s having a stellar year on both sides of the ball. He’s a leader on our offensive line, and he plays defensive end for us. He’s also a long snapper, a short snapper. This year he doesn’t leave the field.”
It’s a long list of positions Foy occupies on the gridiron, none of them glamorous, but listening to Chang talk about his captain – it’s safe to bet he doesn’t mind a bit.
“He’s the type of kid – I have him first block in the morning,” the PW football coach said. “It’s basically a weight, strength training class.
“He’s always ready to go which is tough at 7:30 in the morning to be working hard like that. He’s a kid I can always rely on to be a positive influence and solid, who’s a ready-to-go-every-day type of kid.
“He’s a good student. He’s a kid you can rely on who’s going to work hard in class and be a good influence in class, a kid that other kids can look up to.”
Joe Foy grew up competing in sports. He played baseball up until ninth grade, and he continues to play CYO basketball with St. Philip Neri. He attended St. Philip Neri School through eighth grade and then enrolled in Plymouth Whitemarsh in ninth grade.
“I knew some (of my classmates), but it was an adjustment,” he said. “I was still the new kid to everyone. It was a little tough having to meet everyone, make new friends. Football really helped.”
Football entered the picture Foy’s sophomore year. His brother Jimmy, one year his senior, also went out for the team.
“He started junior year and didn’t play before that,” Foy said of his brother. “He influenced me because of his persistence in his play and how he wanted to get better each day.
“Watching him become a really good player in such a short amount of time made me want to push myself harder and be a great player like him.”
As a senior, Jimmy – in just his second year of football – earned first team all-league honors at defensive back.
Joe, also a quick study, played jayvee as a sophomore.
“Having to relearn all the movements and techniques was a little bit difficult, but with lots of practice and extra work, I got a lot better,” Foy said.
As a junior, Foy played on the defensive line and also saw action when the team used a double tight end formation.
“I wasn’t the best blocker for tight end,” he said. “I had to get my work done with having to block and all that.”
This year, Foy moved to tackle on the offensive line.
“I guess it was next biggest guy up,” he said of the move. “I absolutely love it on the line now. Going in, I was like – oh man, I’ve got to do this. It’s so much more fun than I thought it would be.
“I think I like defense more because it’s more challenging to have to learn what the offense is doing, and you have to adjust to what they’re doing.”
He is a valued member of both lines for a team that has dominated its SOL opponents.
“His athleticism on the offensive line is literally a big piece of what we’re able to do,” Chang said.
The Colonials dropped their first game of the season to Central Bucks South, and they were 1-2 after falling to Ridley two weeks later. After that, they won seven straight to close out the regular season and entered districts as the fourth seed in Class 5A.
“We knew if we wanted to be good and have fun, we had to step it up, so after losing to Ridley, we knew we had to step up the rest of our games,” Foy said. “I think we’re a lot closer team since then. We trust each other a lot more and have each other’s backs.”
As for his leadership style, Foy tries to lead by example.
“If I see someone that has their head down, I try and go over there – not cheer them up but bring them up,” he said. “Instead of saying, ‘What the heck are you doing,’ I try and bring them up instead of putting them down.”
Foy, according to his coach, is not the most vocal of leaders.
“He’s vocal when he needs to be, but he’s definitely noticeable,” Chang said. “His play on the field and his demeanor – always being ready to go, always being prepared is how he shows leadership.”
Like many football players, Foy was drawn to the sport for the opportunity to hit his opponent, but it became much more than that.
“Playing as a team, knowing you have a whole family with you while you’re playing – I liked that aspect,” he said. “Your teammates basically become your family.”
Foy isn’t sure if football will be part of his future at the next level, but depending on the school he attends, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trying to walk on as a long snapper.
“I find a lot of joy in that,” he said of being a long snapper. “I picked it up my junior year. It’s a lot of practice because you have to work on getting the ball back there fast with a good spiral on it and in a good location for the punter. It takes a lot of work.”
Foy – who has applied to Pitt, Penn State, Duquesne, Scranton and Maine - places a high value on academics.
“Since I transferred in from another (school), it was tough because the curriculum was different, so I kind of struggled my freshman year,” he said. “Moving on to sophomore year, I tried to step it up, challenging myself a little bit more. Junior year was when I actually wanted to get good grades, I tried to get in as many honors classes as I could. That’s continued into this year too.”
Foy is part of PW’s Fly Fishing Club, a hobby he enjoys during his limited down time, and he holds down a part-time job at Ye Old Ale House.
When it came down to choosing a major, Foy was thinking of either engineering or business but, instead, plans to major in nursing specializing in orthopedics.
“I didn’t necessarily get hurt all the time, but I think I sprained my ankle five times last year,” he said. “It just interested me to know what to do for it- what’s wrong with my ankle. Anything that happens during football – I research it.”
With his final high school football season in its final weeks, Foy acknowledges he cannot imagine high school without it
“For one, the people I’ve met on the way – the coaches, what they’ve done for me,” he said. “Honestly, I feel like I’m a better man now than I was before I was playing just because of respect and all that, having to respect coaches and what they teach. Football added a lot to my high school career. It means a lot.”