The Ole Miss soccer team will soon be without its leader on and off the pitch. Channing Foster, the Rebels’ leading goal scorer and four-time SEC honoree is exhausting her remaining eligibility before heading north in January 2022.
Foster was drafted 32nd overall into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) by the Chicago Red Stars. While Foster was surprised, the pick came after four seasons of success for her at Ole Miss. In her freshman season in 2017, Foster netted 12 goals, second only to Ole Miss record holder CeCe Kizer. In the three years since, Foster has totaled 35 goals and many SEC honors.
While her time at Ole Miss is drawing to a close, Foster plans to play one more season and leave her legacy at the University of Mississippi.
Why did you decide to come back for the spring season and use up all of your eligibility? What solidified that decision for you?
“I don’t know. I just wasn’t ready to give it up yet. I wasn’t ready to leave. Most of my teammates that are my age are staying also, and so it’ll just be really neat to kind of get to go through five years with all of them. I feel like (the team) still has a lot of potential and a lot of things that we haven’t accomplished yet that we would like to. I just wanted to have another chance at it.”
What was your immediate reaction to hearing your name announced in the draft?
“It was crazy because I didn’t know. Typically, you have to declare for the draft to enter it, and since I was planning on coming back, I hadn’t done any of that. I didn’t know I was going to be draft eligible until three days before. I got a phone call that they changed the rules to allow people that were staying in college to still be drafted because of COVID. So in a sense, it was nice because I hadn’t had the anticipation, and all of the stress and anxiety leading up to it that I might have had otherwise.”
“Just knowing that I was going back to school, it was kind of nice because there was no pressure. If nothing happens, it’s okay. Whenever they called my name, it was just so exciting because it’s something that I’ve looked forward to, and worked hard towards my whole life and dreamt about since I was a little girl. Just to see it all come to fruition was really, really cool.”
How far into the future are you looking? Do you already think about what’s after the NWSL?
“I think it would be so cool to go overseas, just to experience another way of life and other cultures, especially with soccer being so big in other countries. I think it would be so cool to go to a country where soccer is everything and just to get to experience that. I have a few friends playing in England right now and then a couple in France. They get to go to all of the men’s games and I think that would be so cool, to just be able to go to an English Premier League game anytime I wanted to. Especially while I’m young before I have a family or anything else, it’d be really cool.”
When you leave in December, will you have any regrets from your time here?
“So far I don’t really have any regrets. I mean, I’m sure there’s games that I look back on and I’m like, ‘I wish I had done this differently… I wish I had finished that (shot).’ I’m usually pretty hard on myself, but just as far as my experience overall, I’ve been so blessed. My time in Oxford has been amazing. I’ve loved it.”
“There would be any regrets. Hopefully, it’ll continue to be that way. I’ll give it my all every game so that hopefully I don’t have to look back and think, ‘Okay, well, maybe try a little harder.’”
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.