Feb. 17, 2014
By Jerome Boettcher | Subscribe to Commodore Nation
Simone Charley is a psychology major from Hoover, Ala., who splits her time on the soccer field and track. On the pitch this fall she earned SEC All-Freshman honors by scoring five goals—second-most on the team—and sharing the team lead with five assists. This winter and spring, the 18-year-old will compete in the triple jump, adding to a family tradition. In addition, her cousin, Damien Charley, played football for the Commodores from 1995 to 1998.
Commodore Nation: Why did you decide to play two sports in college?
Simone Charley: I’ve been doing both for so long. I started soccer in kindergarten and then track in first grade. They’ve always gone hand in hand. When I was little, it would always be, “OK, you have soccer in the spring and fall, then track in the summer.” It was my routine. I couldn’t imagine not doing both. It is a part of my life.
CN: One sport you favor more than the other?
Charley: I like different things about both sports. For soccer, I like how it is a team sport. You’re a family, and you have people you have to rely on. Also, I like track because it is an individual sport. What I put in is what I’ll get out of it. That competition, everything is up to me.
CN: Your brother, Myles, jumps at Troy. Your sister, Nicole, triple jumped at Auburn. Just in your blood?
Charley: My dad didn’t run track, but my mom did. But she was a sprinter. I guess jumping is just me and my siblings…I started triple jump my sophomore year just because my brother and sister are triple jumpers and I want to be like them.
CN: What is the trick behind excelling in the triple jump?
Charley: I would say practice, practice, practice just because the technique can be a little challenging to get down. You have to keep practicing it to be comfortable with it. My whole thing is not thinking. Clear your mind and don’t overthink doing different techniques and drills. Just clear your mind, and it will come naturally.
CN: Highlight moment of your career in either sport?
Charley: My sophomore year of high school for triple jump. That was my first year doing triple jump, and I had been consistently hitting 36s, 37s, which is pretty good. Then, state meet, on my first jump I (had a personal record) and hit 40 feet—the first time I had. I ended up winning, and I wasn’t even expecting to win (she won the next two state titles for a three-peat and owns the state record). I had playoffs for soccer the day before, and then I had to drive five hours to Gulf Shores for the state track meet that night right after my soccer game. I wasn’t even expecting to win. I was just like, “Uh, I’ll just come out here and jump. Whatever happens, happens.” Then I end up PR’ing. That was the highlight of my career.
CN: You were born in Boston. How long have you lived in Alabama?
Charley: I moved to Alabama when I was 2 years old. I don’t remember much. I still have family in Boston, as well, on my dad’s side. My mom’s side is actually from England, so that is where a lot of them live. Her parents live in Grenada right now. They were both born in Montserrat (a Caribbean island), and they moved to England when my mom was born.
CN: When you’re not juggling the demands of two sports and classes, how do you like to spend your free time?
Charley: What do I like to do? Sleep (laughs). No, I like to read and write as well. I’m also very active in my church. I recently started going to Cross Point Church here (in Nashville). But I’m very active in Faith Chapel Christian Center (in Birmingham). My mom actually works at our church. God gets all the credit for everything.