ANDERSON — With talent that comes from a lifetime of hard work at the game he loves and creativity born out of a fun-loving personality, Liberty Christian senior Cole Foreman can befuddle opponents with his footwork.
First the ball was there and Foreman makes eye contact with the defender, then with a shoulder fake and a quick sleight of foot that would make Harry Houdini’s hands jealous, it is gone.
And so is Foreman, with a smile on his face, looking for the open teammate or an open net.
His efforts this season produced seven goals and three assists for the Lions, who will compete at the Heritage Christian regional Saturday morning, their third trip during his four years at Liberty. The last two regionals resulted in a morning exit, but Foreman believes this time around will be different.
“Before we were playing to survive in regional. Now we’re playing to compete,” he said. “I think that’s really exciting.”
Foreman has been playing soccer his whole life and began club play in the sixth grade. He said when he isn’t playing, he is watching soccer on television. He fell in love with the game early on and developed his skills by watching instructional videos on the internet and spending hours in club and in his own backyard, alone with a ball, just putting in the work.
“When I was younger, I was watching YouTube videos on how to do tricks,” he said. “In practices at club, I’d work on putting the ball through people’s legs or over their heads. The more you do it, the easier it comes in games. And that’s the only way I want to play, if I can make you fall on the ground.”
He laughs as he says it, a simple sign of the enjoyment he gets from the game. That love of the game feeds his creativity which, in turn, leads him to make plays for his team. He is not shy about blasting away with shots from 30 to 40 yards out or fitting passes into tight windows, something his coach D.J. Callahan not only tolerates but encourages.
“He’s creative, he’s confident and that leads him to take chances because he believes in himself and that work he’s put in,” Callahan said. “You can see that he gets the results, so I’m all for him taking the chances that he sees as worth taking.”
Communication with his teammates is vital. One common benefactor of Foreman’s footwork is Liberty’s leading scorer with 20 goals, fellow senior Josh Cabello. He can also be victimized as Foreman sometimes fools not only the opponent but also his teammates. After playing together since middle school, Cabello said they’ve developed the chemistry that allows he and Foreman to stay on the same page.
“That happens sometimes. I can be watching his fancy footwork, and he makes a pass, and I should have been there,” Cabello said. “That happens a lot, to be honest. Just watching him do all his stuff and what he does to get his teammates involved, it’s really great.”
“Josh gives me confidence to take the shot,” Foreman said. “When he’s on fire, I’m on fire and we just feed off each other that way.”
Foreman hopes to continue playing soccer at the next level, saying he has been exploring several colleges, and hopes to make a decision once the season is over. Whatever school brings him into the fold will add a player who is not only talented but one who loves the game and finds constant joy in all aspects of the sport.
“It’s like my therapy,” he said. “Whenever I’m in a bad mood, I’ll just come out here and juggle the ball for an hour. It calms me down.”