Foster playing for Oxford United in 2009
|Full name||Luke James Foster|
|Date of birth||8 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Mexborough, England|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|2004–2005||→ Scarborough (loan)||7||(0)|
|2005||→ Alfreton Town (loan)||18||(3)|
|2006||→ York City (loan)||5||(0)|
|2012–2013||Preston North End||6||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:11, 24 February 2016 (UTC).
Foster started his career as a trainee with Sheffield Wednesday, signing a professional contract with the club at the age of 18. He joined Scarborough on work experience in September 2004, and was also loaned out to Conference North side Alfreton Town in February 2005 until the end of the 2004–05 season. On returning to his parent club, Foster was released, and joined Lincoln City in June 2005. After failing to cement a first-team place at Lincoln, he was loaned out to York City the following season on a two-month loan, making a handful of appearances for the club.
In January 2007, Foster was released by Lincoln, and he joined Stalybridge Celtic on a short-term contract, making six appearances for the club. He left Stalybridge a month later, in order to join Oxford United on an initial six-month deal. Foster went on to play over 100 times for Oxford in just under three years at the club, winning two end of season awards in the process. However, he joined Mansfield Town in January 2010 for an undisclosed fee after he was told that his contract would not be extended at Oxford. He was made club captain at Mansfield and played regularly until the end of the 2009–10 season. Despite this, he left the club at the end of the season and joined Stevenage on a two-year contract in May 2010, helping the club earn promotion to League One in their first ever season in the Football League. After just one season at Stevenage, Foster joined Rotherham United in June 2011, spending an injury-hit season with the club before being released. He briefly spent time at Matlock Town, before joining Preston North End in December 2012 for a six-month period.
Born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, Foster began his career as a trainee with the Sheffield Wednesday youth system. He joined Conference National club Scarborough on work experience in September 2004. Foster made his debut for Scarborough in a 1–0 defeat to Hereford United, coming on as a 76th minute substitute. He started the following match in the club's 2–1 loss at Carlisle United, and went on to make 10 appearances during his loan spell. Foster returned to his parent club, but failed to make any first-team appearances, and was subsequently loaned out to Conference North outfit Alfreton Town in February 2005 until the end of the season. He made his Alfreton debut in the club's 3–0 victory against Woking in the FA Trophy. He scored his first goal for the club in a 3–1 loss against Southport, and scored again a week later in Alfreton's 2–1 defeat against Kettering Town. His third and final goal for Alfreton came in the following game, scoring the first goal in the club's 3–0 win at Barrow. He played his last game for the club in the final game of the 2004–05 season, in a 3–1 loss at Stafford Rangers. Foster played in 19 games for the club, scoring three goals.
On his return to Sheffield Wednesday in May 2005, Foster was released and later joined League Two side Lincoln City on a one-year contract ahead of the 2005–06 season. Foster made his debut for Lincoln in the club's first game of the season, a 2–1 defeat to Notts County. However, he failed to hold down a first-team place and had to wait a month to make another appearance for the club – coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute in Lincoln's 2–0 win against Stockport County. However, he was unable to string a series of appearances together throughout the campaign, and made 17 appearances, scoring once in a 5–0 win against Grimsby Town on 25 March 2006. Despite a lack of first-team appearances, Foster signed an extended one-year contract at the end of the season. However, Foster did not feature again for Lincoln during the 2006–07 campaign and after training with York City, he joined the Conference National team on a one-month emergency loan on 5 October 2006 due to injuries to defenders, making his debut for the club the following day in a 1–0 win against Aldershot Town. This loan deal was extended for a second month in November, but after Foster suffered an ankle injury during the last week of the loan, he returned to his parent club in December. He made his last appearance for York in the club's 1–0 loss to League One side Bristol City in the FA Cup first round. He made seven appearances for York during a two-month loan spell with the club.
Foster returned to Lincoln in December, and a month later was told by the club that he was free to find another club after being deemed surplus to requirements at Sincil Bank. Shortly after, in January 2007, he mutually agreed to cancel his contract with Lincoln, enabling him to join Conference North side Stalybridge Celtic. He made his debut for Stalybridge in the FA Trophy, starting in a 1–1 draw against Kettering Town, scoring an own goal just before half-time. He scored his first goal for the club against one of his former employers, Alfreton, netting the winner in a 2–1 victory. He made six appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring once.
After just a month at Stalybridge, Foster returned to the highest tier in non-League football, joining Oxford United in February 2007. He made his Oxford debut two weeks after signing for the club, starting in a 1–0 home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers. He played nine times during the club's 2006–07 campaign, scoring once in a 2–0 win over St Albans City at Clarence Park. At the end of the season, he signed a new one-year contract with Oxford keeping him contracted to the club throughout the 2007–08 season. Foster featured off the bench in the club's first two fixtures of the season, but only made one further appearance during September 2007 – with Oxford manager Jim Smith stating that Foster needed to "improve the way he leads his life" in order to "stand a chance" of getting back into the Oxford first-team. After this, Foster witnessed an upturn in form, featuring regularly until the end of the season, although he was given a one match suspension following his sending off against Northwich Victoria in March 2008. At the end of the 2007–08 season, in which he made 39 appearances, he won Oxford's Supporters Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards. As a result of his impressive form, he signed a new two-year contract with the club in July 2008.
During the 2008–09 season, Foster continued to feature regularly for Oxford, starting in both of the club's two defeats at the start of the season – a 3–0 defeat to newly promoted Barrow, followed by a 1–0 loss to Weymouth at the Kassam Stadium. He assisted one of the goals in the following game, a 6–3 win against Eastbourne Borough. However, in Oxford's next game against Wrexham, Foster was sent off after just 11 minutes for "denying Wrexham's Shaun Whalley a clear goalscoring opportunity". As a result, he missed the next two games, returning to first-team action against Ebbsfleet United in late August 2008, but was again sent off for a foul on Craig Stone. Foster did not feature again in the first-team for another month, when playing in a 3–1 win against Cambridge United. He consequently regained his place in Oxford's defence, and played regularly until the end of the season. He scored his only goal of the season in a 2–1 victory over Lewes in February 2009. Foster made 44 appearances for the club during the season, scoring one goal, as Oxford narrowly missed out on a place in the Conference Premier play-offs. The following campaign, Foster was again a regular under manager Chris Wilder, appearing in all of Oxford's games up until December 2009. He scored his first goal of the season in Oxford's 1–1 draw against Barrow on 3 October 2009. On 28 November 2009, Foster was sent off in a 1–1 draw against Barrow in the FA Cup, resulting in Barrow being awarded a penalty kick and subsequently scoring. During January 2010, manager Chris Wilder revealed that Oxford would not be extending Foster's contract in the summer, stating "we were not going to extend Luke's contract after the summer. He wanted that option to pursue offers from other clubs and he has done that".
He subsequently entered talks with Cambridge United in January 2010, although nothing materialised. Mansfield Town also enquired about signing Foster, although they initially decided against making a bid, citing Foster's "high wages as the main stumbling block". However, a week later, Mansfield signed Foster on a one-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee and he was instantly appointed the club captain. He made his debut in Mansfield's 4–1 victory over Forest Green Rovers, but was sent off in a 1–0 defeat to York in March, which resulted in him receiving a two-match suspension. He made 16 appearances for Mansfield during the second half of the 2009–10 season. At the end of the season Foster made a comment on his Facebook page, calling the club a "shambles", but later apologised to both the club and its fans. He was released in May 2010, with Mansfield boss David Holdsworth saying "it's a practical decision for both the club and Luke".
Foster joined newly promoted League Two side Stevenage on a two-year contract on 31 May 2010. Foster made his Stevenage debut in the club's first ever Football League fixture, a 2–2 draw against Macclesfield Town, playing the whole game in the centre of defence. After the Macclesfield game, Foster did not appear in the first-team until late September 2010, coming on as a late substitute in Stevenage's 1–0 away win at Lincoln City. He then appeared as a 52nd-minute substitute in the club's victory over Burton Albion, but was sent-off for a foul on Shaun Harrad. Foster scored his first goal for Stevenage in January 2011, scoring the first goal of the game in Stevenage's 4–2 home win over Barnet. Foster received his second red card of the 2010–11 season in a game against Northampton Town, receiving the red card for a foul on Nana Ofori-Twumasi, a game that Stevenage went on to lose 2–0. Stevenage appealed against the sending off, but the appeal was subsequently rejected. This ultimately meant that Foster had played his last game of the 2010–11 season, serving a four-match suspension that ruled him out of Stevenage's end of season 3–3 draw with Bury, as well as the club's subsequent play-off campaign. Foster played 23 times for Stevenage in his only season with the club, scoring once, and the team went on to win promotion into League One via the play-offs.
Foster signed for League Two side Rotherham United on 20 June 2011. He signed a one-year contract with the club, with an option of a second year. Foster made his debut for the club in a 3–0 home victory against Gillingham on 27 August 2011, coming on as an 84th-minute substitute with Rotherham already holding a three-goal advantage. After making no further first-team appearances the following month, Foster was made available for loan by manager Andy Scott. Scott stated Foster lacked both desire and fitness since signing for the club — "If you want to be match fit, you get yourself match fit. You can work in training, you can stay behind, you have days off, you can get yourself fit. Luke has not been in the side and that tells you everything you need to know". However, no loan move materialised, and Foster made his second appearance for Rotherham in a 3–3 away draw at Morecambe on 25 October 2011. He appeared as a 27th-minute substitute in the club's following match four days later, a 1–1 draw against Northampton Town, and subsequently made his first start in a 2–0 home victory over Aldershot Town on 5 November — Rotherham's first win in 10 matches. In December 2011, Rotherham manager Andy Scott revealed that Foster would miss the rest of the 2011–12 season as a result of a cruciate ligament damage sustained in a match against Hereford United on 10 December 2011. He was released by Rotherham in May 2012, having made six appearances for the club.
Ahead of the 2012–13 season, Foster went on trial with League One side Sheffield United. He played in the club's opening pre-season fixture, coming on as a 62nd-minute substitute in a 1–1 draw with Ilkeston. No move materialised, and Foster signed non-contract terms with Northern Premier League Premier Division side Matlock Town to build match fitness ahead of a return to the professional game. He made his Matlock debut just a day after signing, on 18 August, playing the whole match as Matlock opened the season with a 5–0 home loss to Nantwich Town. Foster made ten appearances in all competitions for the club, leaving in October 2012.
Preston North End
After a month without a club, Foster went on trial at League One club Preston North End in November 2012, managed by former Stevenage manager Graham Westley. The trial proved successful, and he signed on non-contract terms with the club on 18 December 2012. He made his debut on the same day in a 3–3 draw against Bury in the Football League Trophy, with Preston progressing following a penalty shoot-out. After impressing in his first four matches for the club, Foster signed a permanent contract, keeping him at Preston for the remainder of the 2012–13 season. In the club's next match, on 10 January 2013, a televised 3–2 defeat to Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena in the Football League Trophy, Foster scored his only goal for Preston, briefly restoring parity in the match as Coventry scored two injury-time goals to win the match. Foster made eight appearances in all competitions during his time with the club, and at the end of the season, new Preston manager Simon Grayson told him that his contract would not be renewed when it expired in June 2013.
Return to Lincoln City
On 1 August 2013, Foster agreed to rejoin Conference Premier side Lincoln City on a one-year-contract.
Foster signed for Lincoln's Conference Premier rivals Southport on 18 June 2014. On 24 February 2016, he joined National League North club Harrogate Town on a contract until the end of 2015–16, in order to move closer to his home in Barnsley.
Foster was named on standby for the England C team in November 2007 for a game against Finland C, but did not receive a call-up. He was called up again to represent England C in a game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo in September 2008. Foster played the whole match as England C lost 6–2 to Bosnia, assisting Luke Moore's goal.
Foster grew up in South Yorkshire. He has described himself as a "family man", but admits to making bad lifestyle choices in his "younger years". He has one son, whom his partner gave birth to in January 2010.
- As of match played 20 February 2016.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Sheffield Wednesday||2004–05||League One||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Scarborough (loan)||2004–05||Conference National||7||0||2||0||—||1[a]||0||10||0|
|Alfreton Town (loan)||2004–05||Conference North||18||3||—||—||1[b]||0||19||3|
|Lincoln City||2005–06||League Two||16||1||0||0||0||0||1[a]||0||17||1|
|York City (loan)||2006–07||Conference National||5||0||2||0||—||—||7||0|
|Stalybridge Celtic||2006–07||Conference North||4||1||—||—||2[b]||0||6||1|
|Oxford United||2006–07||Conference National||9||1||—||—||—||9||1|
|Mansfield Town||2009–10||Conference Premier||16||0||—||—||—||16||0|
|Rotherham United||2011–12||League Two||5||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|Matlock Town||2012–13||NPL Premier Division||9||0||1||0||—||0||0||10||0|
|Preston North End||2012–13||League One||6||0||—||—||2[a]||1||8||1|
|Lincoln City||2013–14||Conference Premier||31||1||3||0||—||3[b]||1||37||2|
|Harrogate Town||2015–16||National League North||0||0||—||—||—||0||0|
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