Feb. 22, 2013
This week we head south down Interstate-65 to introduce the second member of Vanderbilt's 2013 soccer recruiting class, a two-sport star from Spain Park High School south of Birmingham, Ala.: Simone Charley.
Charley is a five-year starter for Head Coach Robert Starr at Spain Park High School. She helped the Jaguars win three consecutive state championships from 2009 to 2011. As a sophomore, Charley was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for girls soccer in the state of Alabama.
A two-time first-team All-State selection, Charley was named the Birmingham News Female Athlete of the Year in 2012. The forward has led the Jaguars in scoring the past three seasons and had totaled 87 goals and 41 assists through her junior campaign.
At Vanderbilt, Charley plans to compete in both soccer and track and field, just as she has throughout high school. She was the first female at an Alabama high school to triple jump over 40 feet and has captured a total of four state championships in the event at indoor and outdoor competitions. Charley plays her club soccer for the Birmingham Legends. She won a state championship in 2011 as part of John Markey's '94 squad before joining Jeremy Hampton's '95 side last year.
Charley has a family tie to Vanderbilt and Commodore coaches credit her cousin, 1999 VU graduate and football letter winner Damien Charley, with first alerting them of his Simone's talent.
"It says a lot about Vanderbilt that Damien would take the time to stop by and bring Simone to our attention," VU Head Coach Derek Greene said. "I know he's excited. And we are equally thrilled to have Simone joining us."
On top of her athletic prowess, Charley has an excellent academic record at Spain Park. She was named the school's Student of the Year in 2010 and is a member of multiple academic honor societies.
Personal: Simone Naomi Charley... Born Feb. 4, 1995, in Boston, Mass.... Daughter of Sharon and Bobby Charley... Youngest of three siblings... Sister, Nicole, is a triple jumper at Auburn... Brother, Myles, is a triple jumper and long jumper at Troy... Cousin Damien Charley played football at Vanderbilt from 1995 to 1998... Plans to major in psychology at Vanderbilt.
Coach Greene on Charley:
"There will be a theme in this class: athleticism and speed. Simone is special. The first time I saw her play I walked away from the field saying, 'Wow. We have to get this kid.'
"Simone has great speed, she's great in the air and is very skillful. She brings a sophistication and knowledge to the game that typically you don't see unless a kid is competing at the highest youth level.
"Simone has every characteristic you want, not only as a soccer player but also as a student-athlete and as a person. She's a high-character kid who works so hard, as evidenced by her success as a two-sport athlete. She is already a strong enough triple jumper to score points for our track team, and I know they're excited about her. We're excited for Simone to have this opportunity, as I know that competing in both sports was important to her and her family."