'If he wants something, he gets it," Pirates coach Efrain Gutierrez said of Foxwell.
Matanzas boys lacrosse coach Efrain Gutierrez still remembers the game Pirates goal keeper Bryson Foxwell “found himself.”
Foxwell had just moved from Baltimore County, Maryland, and joined the junior varsity lacrosse team when he enrolled at Matanzas High School. He was talented, but relatively timid and easily angered after giving up a goal.
When the Pirates traveled to Gainesville to face Buchholz in spring 2016, Gutierrez pulled his young goalie aside and gave him some advice during warmups.
“Listen,” Gutierrez said, “no matter what you do, just be aggressive. Be aggressive on the ball.”
“He epitomizes what it means to be a Matanzas lacrosse player. He’s willing to make sacrifices to achieve his goals. He works hard on and off the field. And he works tremendously hard in the classroom. If he wants something, he gets it.”
Efrain Gutierrez, Matanzas coach
Foxwell had over 20 saves that night, leading the Pirates to a 2-goal win over the Bobcats.
That night was the key that unlocked Foxwell’s potential. Three years later, he’s now a two-year starting goalie for the varsity squad, a team captain, a soon-to-be college lacrosse player and what Gutierrez calls “the backbone” of the Pirates’ defense — a title Foxwell relishes.
“It’s up to me to stop goals. I’m the last line of defense,” he said. “When I’m playing goalie, I’m not thinking about anything else but stopping the ball.”
He works hard on the field and in the classroom.
He’s even held a part-time job the past few years, working at Mamaling Asian Street Food for almost three years. While balancing being a student-athlete, he was able to save up enough money to buy his own car: a used, dark gray Audi A4, which he purchased a little over a year ago.
“He epitomizes what it means to be a Matanzas lacrosse player,” Gutierrez said. “He’s willing to make sacrifices to achieve his goals. … If he wants something, he gets it.”
One thing he’s always wanted, from the time he started playing lacrosse seven years ago, was to one day earn a college scholarship. He visited Wingate University in North Carolina in January, and was offered by the Division II program. He committed in February and signed his National Letter of Intent in March.
He liked the culture of the team. The energy was electric, and they felt like family — just like at Matanzas. They also won the South Atlantic Conference Championship two years in a row.
Foxwell wants his Pirates team to advance to the district final for yet another year. The Pirates lost a 9-8 heartbreaker to bitter rival St. Augustine in 2018.
They want a rematch.
“We hate them. Probably a little too much,” Foxwell said. “I just want us to play like I know we’re capable of.”