Fox has MVP-type season in UPSL, then heads to law school
After his senior season in college was cut short in 2018 due to injury, Cole Fox of Anchorage figured his playing days were finished.
Then he found redemption in the UPSL.
“I didn’t even know I was going to get the chance to play because of the pandemic,” Fox said. “I just kind of fell into it and then it ended up being a great opportunity.”
Fox, of Dimond High fame, scored six goals in four games this summer to help the Alaska Timbers go 5-0-1 and win the Last Frontier division. He was named first-team All-UPSL and was one of four players nationally to be nominated for MVP honors.
The 6-foot-3 forward netted the first goal in team history on his way to having two goals in three separate games and finishing second on his team in points.
“We had a great squad,” Fox said. “Will (Lucero) and Jeremy (Johnson) are both fantastic coaches. I’m glad they gave me the opportunity to play. It was a team effort that led to us winning the league.”
Wrapping up his career with awards and accolades felt much better than how things finished at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he played only seven games as a senior before an injury ended his career prematurely.
In four seasons with the NCAA D3 Banana Slugs, Fox collected 3-3-9 scoring totals in 42 games. His best season came as a junior when he racked up three goals, one assist and nine starts in 19 games.
Playing with the Timbers allowed Fox to end his career on a high note. He played men’s league in 2019 but that didn’t cut it. He needed the UPSL.
“It was cool to just get the opportunity post college to be able to play at a high level and get back into shape that I definitely lost,” he said with a laugh. “I just love the game and playing with the guys, so I think it was a great opportunity for me.”
The nationwide UPSL came to Alaska in 2019 and the 2020 season featured four teams in Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley comprised of high school, college and older players.
“I think the UPSL overall gives Alaska a new dimension and a new chance for especially for younger players,” Fox said. “There are a lot of players looking to go to the next level and having a semi-pro league in Alaska provides that exposure.”
“I think it’s a great thing what Alaska is doing to provide a more competitive atmosphere than, just say, men’s league.”
With higher stakes, Fox felt a higher sense of responsibility to share his expansive experience with younger players who have aspirations to play in college. He provided context to questions and offered insight to help them get a leg up before making the jump.
“It’s always cool to see that desire in younger players to go on and play at the next level,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Fox, 22, graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2019 with a degree in Legal Studies and he’s now attending law school at George Washington University in our nation’s capital.
He credited the structure of college soccer for helping shape his work ethic as a student.
“You really don’t have an option to get behind on anything and that motivated me to work hard on the field and then off the field just get it done in the classroom so I could spend as much time as I thought was necessary on soccer, and I could really enjoy it without having deadlines or anything hanging over me,” he said.
“That also transitioned to law school, where having that structure throughout college has enabled me to keep that same mentality and desire and time management skills. Having that balance in under grad really helped prepare me for the time management of it because (law school) is a lot of reading and a lot of time, but I’m really enjoying it here.”
Fox said he loves living in Washington, D.C. He also spent two and a half months there as a summer intern when he was in college.
“When I was applying for law schools D.C. was one of my top choices,” he said. “I’m very glad to be back and I want to do something in the intersection of law and politics and look to help shape the political system.”
Fox will go from scoring goals as a striker to assisting people as an attorney.
“It’s my opinion the law doesn’t work for a lot of people it should,” he said. “I hope to help change that.”