By Daniel Prince
David Foley says his move to hometown club South Shields feels like “fate”.
The former Hartlepool United, Puerto Rico Islanders and Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward his joined the Mariners, subject to international clearance.
In the video above, Foley discusses his move to Mariners Park, his career in football so far and his hopes for the future with Shields.
He also talks about the pressure he says the Mariners should welcome next season, what fans can expect from him and about the support he expects to receive from his family in the wide-ranging interview.
By Daniel Prince
South Shields Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of David Foley, subject to international clearance.
The 28-year-old holds the distinction of being Hartlepool United’s youngest-ever player, having made his senior debut in 2003, aged 16 years and 105 days.
The forward, who was born in South Shields, went on to make more than 100 appearances for Pools, before making the switch to Puerto Rico Islanders in 2010.
The Caribbean-based club play in the American leagues, and while there, Foley won the CFU Club Championship twice, as well as the USSF Division Two Professional League.
Foley has since moved back to his hometown, and jumped at the chance to sign for the Mariners.
He said: “I’m very happy to have joined South Shields, and pleased to be getting back involved in football.
“I had to take a year out because of an injury, but everything is good now and I’m confident again.
“When I was approached by the club, it was perfect timing.
“I had just played football again and was debating whether to get back into the game, and this opportunity sounded perfect. It was like fate.
“For it to be my hometown club, as well, is fantastic, and with the direction the club is going in, it’s definitely something I want to be a part of.”
Arguably the finest moment of Foley’s time at Hartlepool came in 2009, when a stunning long-range strike sealed a 2-0 FA Cup giant-killing over Premier League side Stoke City.
He was convinced to move to Mariners Park after speaking with manager Jon King and chairman Geoff Thompson, and insists he sees this as a ‘long-term’ project for himself at the club.
The forward added: “I’ve just turned 28, and I’m thinking very much of the long-term at this club.
“After hearing what Jon and Geoff have had to say, this could really be a club that is going places, and it will be down to the players and staff from day one to get things right.
“There will be pressure on us from day one, because every team is going to want to beat us and every player is going to want to play for us, so there will be pressure there to keep your shirt.
“Our aim next season is definitely to win promotion, and that’s a good pressure.
“Looking at the players who have been signed so far, it looks like we’re getting a good group of lads here who are winners or have won elsewhere, and a lot of leaders.
“If we have a good group, and we combine that with the ambition of the club, it genuinely could happen.”
“He is a player with massive pedigree, so we’re delighted to have him on board.
“David understands the challenge that is ahead of him here, and he wants to be a part of that at his hometown club.
“He is another player who ticks all of the boxes for us in terms of his quality and the fact he is local, so we couldn’t be happier to have signed him.”
To read a factfile on Shields’ latest signing, click here: In Profile – David Foley
*You can watch an extended video interview with David later on Friday on Mariners TV*
You can see David and his new team-mates in action 21 times in the league next season at Mariners Park by purchasing a season ticket! For enquiries, please call 0191 537 2633, and for full details, follow the link: Season tickets – 2015-16
By Daniel Prince. Main picture courtesy of Frank Reid/Hartlepool Mail
Born: May 12, 1987, South Shields
Clubs played for: Hartlepool United (2003-10), Barrow (loan, 2009), Puerto Rico Islanders (2010-12), Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2013-14)
David Foley started his football journey on the books of Sunderland, who he was with for about five years from the age of seven.
However, after the Black Cats deemed the forward to be too small, Foley went on to be picked up by Hartlepool United, and he came through the ranks there, representing the club in Leagues One and Two.
The Newcastle United fan remains Pools’ youngest-ever player, having made his senior debut in a win over Port Vale in August 2003, aged 16 years and 105 days.
Despite his youth, the 5ft 4in Foley remained a key part of Hartlepool’s squad for many years to come, going on to make 115 appearances for the club.
He developed a reputation as being something of a cup specialist during his time at Victoria Park.
Foley scored in a League Cup giant-killing over then-Championship side West Bromwich Albion in August 2008, netting the vital goal to put Pools 2-1 up in extra-time. They went on to win 3-1.
Arguably his finest moment in a Hartlepool shirt came later that season when, in January 2009, he scored a superb long-range goal to seal a 2-0 FA Cup win over Premier League outfit Stoke City.
He found chances limited in the 2009-10 campaign, though, and Pools agreed to release him from the final three months of his contract in February 2010 so he could join Puerto Rico Islanders.
The Caribbean team played in the American leagues, and Foley was instantly in the thick of the action, winning the CFU Club Championship and USSF Division Two Professional League within months of joining.
Again, the forward showed his prowess particularly in the cup competitions, netting in a stunning 4-1 win over LA Galaxy in July 2010 in the CONCACAF Champions League, a competition Foley regards as the biggest he has played in during his career.
David Beckham did not line up against Foley in that game, but the American national team’s all-time leading goalscorer, Landon Donovan, did play.
In his second season with the Islanders, Foley won the CFU Club Championship again, and he stayed with the club until moving to Fort Lauderdale Strikers in January 2013. He is pictured playing for them below (article continues below image).
Since then, Foley has returned to England to work as a personal trainer, and after a year out of the game, now feels ready to return with his hometown club.
His move to South Shields marks a new chapter in his varied career, and he could make his debut on July 11 against familiar foes, Darlington, who are fierce rivals with Foley’s first club, Hartlepool.