Erin Simon was born in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1994. Her love for sports developed at an early age. Although, she played a lot of different sports such as basketball, softball, and track, Simon fell in love with soccer. Growing up, Simon looked up to her brother and cousins, and enjoyed playing with them the most.
Simon loved soccer so much, she was part of New Jersey Copa FC Academy, leading the club team to regionals and nationals in 2012. Later that year, she went on to play collegiate soccer with Syracuse University. Simon had a very successful soccer career during her time with Syracuse University Women’s Soccer; she graduated with a degree in Health and Exercise Science in 2015.
Simon realized during her college career, playing at a professional level was becoming a reality if she set her mind to it and continued to work hard with the Orange team. Early in 2016 and after completing her senior year at Syracuse, she decided to give her dream a shot. Simon signed up to attend the Sky Blue FC open tryouts; she quickly caught the eyes of the Sky Blue FC coach, and was called up to be part of the preseason roster. It is no surprise, that after playing for the Sky Blue FC during preseason that year, Simon earned her spot on the team. Her dream of becoming a professional soccer player, is now a reality.
We spoke to Erin to find out what it has been like for her to become a successful woman in sports.
Double G Sports: Tell us what it was like for you growing up. Did you always love playing soccer?
Erin Simon: Yes. I started at an early age and I always loved playing it because all my cousins played it, my brother played it. I really look up to them because I hang out with them a lot. I played a lot of different sports, but I really loved soccer the most out of all of them.
DGS: What other sports did you play?
ES: I played basketball, softball. I also did track.
DGS: During high school, you played for your school and also played for the FC Copa club team. How was that?
ES: It is always fun to play for your school and having that pride. You make great friends whenever you play in school. I also made great friends playing for FC Copa and we did get to travel to a lot of different places for tournaments.
DGS: During your college career, how did you balance school and soccer at the same time?
ES: It is difficult at first, but I found a way to make it work and I absolutely loved it. I would not change my college experience for anything. I would definitely be a student-athlete all over again. It help me grow as a person and as a player.
DGS: College and being part of the soccer team helped developed skills, as a person and a player. Tell us about that.
ES: After soccer I would love to be an athletic trainer; and I found that love through soccer. I had one of my worst injuries when I tore my ACL during my senior year of high school and I was not able to play. Going through the entire process and learning about the injuries and working with my athletic trainer one-on-one made me realize how much I loved health and exercise science and how I want to pursue that.
DGS: Was becoming a professional soccer player a dream you always had?
ES: I guess in the back of my head I always did. As a kid I loved to played and thought about it. In college I realized my love for the sport and how I wanted to continue. I could not imagine hanging up my cleats, so I did whatever I could to continue playing even after college. I really could not image giving up the sport.
DGS: What did you do to achieve your goal of becoming a professional soccer player?
ES: During my sophomore year I approached my coach and I told him I had a dream of playing professionally. I knew there was a New Jersey team, so I worked really hard to prepare and grow as a player. During my junior and senior year, I took summer classes to be able to complete my senior year in the Fall and graduate in December of 2015. This is how I was able to attend open tryouts in the Spring of 2016. I tried out with different teams and in the end, I fell in love with coach Christy’s message during the open tryout. I really like his coaching and the atmosphere of the team. That is what really made me choose Sky Blue FC.
DGS: How did you take the news when you were told you were selected to the Sky Blue preseason roster?
ES: It is nerve racking. You do not know if your soccer career will continue. During the tryout you have 2 hours to show your skills. So I was ecstatic. I know it is going to be a long journey and this was just a stepping stone.
DGS: What does a day look like for you during your preseason practices?
ES: Our training sessions last year were in the morning. They were pretty intensive. After practice we would go home, make lunch and make sure we were properly nourished. I usually take my dog for a long walk by the beach and play with him.
DGS: Going back to women in sports. What do you think may be one of the biggest issues for Women in Sports?
ES: In our case, particularly, our attendance is not as good; we are not on TV as much yet. There is definitely growing support and the NWSL just got a TV partnership. It shows that the league is growing and now it is actually stable. I know we will grow and get to a better level.
DGS: Are there any female athletes and/or mentors you look up to?
ES: Christie Rampone. Growing up and now I get the honor of playing with her. She is an incredible player. Off the field she is so humbled and down to earth, she always puts others before herself. She is always there trying to help you and trying to help others learn and grow as players. That is really awesome and I look up to her for that. I am going to take advantage again this season and continue to learn from her. I hope I can be like that for someone else.
DGS: Any advice for young girls that love sports?
ES: I would tell them to never give up on their dreams and work hard. Hard work beats talent, and that’s what I have lived off of and I worked for it. That would be my piece of advice.
DGS: What are some of your hobbies?
ES: I like surfing and snowboarding, I also like hiking. I am a very outdoorsy person.
DGS: Any fun facts about yourself we may not know about?
ES: Haha… you’re really putting me on the spot. On the team everyone calls me Dory, from Finding Nemo. That is a nickname that’s caught onto me. Everyone on the team has a fun time calling me Dory. I guess I do a lot of things that are sort of like Dory.