DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke women's soccer team has set its eyes on the NCAA Tournament after a 1-0 loss in overtime to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals Sunday afternoon. Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior Callie Simpkins to learn more about the Concord, N.C., native.
GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest moment at Duke? Callie Simpkins: This is probably an easy answer... our team making it to the final four last year. It was moment when we were playing Long Beach State at home, and the clock ticked down, the team rushed onto the field, Robbie got Gatorade dumped on him. It was just a big moment for our program, and I was really proud to be a part of that. And then being down in Kennesaw for the final four, walking around with your Duke stuff on at the event was awesome.
GoDuke.com: What is the most misunderstood thing about your sport? CS: What you see on game day is it, what you see on the field is it. There is so much work that goes into it, and so much work that even us as players don't understand, like how much time our coaches spend talking to other coaches, getting scouting reports, how much time they spend going over the tactics of the game, and what personnel to put here for this game and why. There is a lot to it. There are reasons for every single thing we do on the field. The product on game day has come from a lot of hard work and a lot of studying from ourselves and our coaches.
GoDuke.com: What do you have to say to people who claim that "soccer is boring"? CS: If you want to take the time to really get to understand the game, you won't feel that way anymore. Whether they want to take the time to get to know the game or not is the big question/problem. There are so many things that you can appreciate about the game that does not involve scoring. If you take a little time to watch, to understand, to listen to people who play, you will really appreciate those things.
What's your favorite part of being a Duke student-athlete? CS: It's always a conversation. Whether it is at Duke or not at Duke, people look up to you, and really think you are cool. You always have something to talk about. There is always a "wow" factor when you say "I play soccer at Duke" or "I play a sport at Duke." Just the name Duke sparks a conversation with people. I have found that even with my friends who go to other great schools; there is not that factor of athletics and academics where people can connect on so many levels. Also the support is amazing, and the amount of opportunities that you can have coming out of here as a Duke student-athlete are unreal.
GoDuke.com: Speaking of opportunities, what is next? Do you have plans for after graduation? CS: I accepted a job from my internship this summer at Goldman Sachs in New York, and I am going to be doing bond sales. I am going to transfer all of my energy and passion that I put into soccer, into that. I hope to keep playing soccer too. I played up their last summer up there, New York Athletic Club, and met a bunch of great friends. And a lot of them are in banking or finance, so if they can make it work, I can make it work.
GoDuke.com: Tell us about when you first started playing soccer? CS: I was probably like four or five in the YMCA league back in Maryland. My parents just tried to throw us into everything, and soccer was just the one that stuck.
GoDuke.com: Any words of wisdom for freshman or future Blue Devils? CS: I would say, and this sounds so cliché, but don't take any day, or moment, or fitness test for granted because you are never going to have this kind of camaraderie and this kind of sisterhood, but you will never find that again, I don't think. This is your last opportunity at it, so just be thankful for every single minute that you have with the team because it goes by so fast. Everyone says "it goes so fast" but it really does go so fast! Enjoy every moment of it!
GoDuke.com: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? CS: First thing I would buy is a sick house on some sort of water, I don't know if it would be in Southern California on the beach, I kind of fell in love after our last trip to L.A. or like a lake somewhere. I would buy a sick house for me and I would move my mom in with me, and maybe my sister if she is nice. We would buy a boat because our mom loves to water ski and I love to wakeboard. Depending on how big the lottery is, I would also try to buy a sports team. I know they are not very lucrative, so it's not a very good business idea, but it would be so much fun!
GoDuke.com: If you could not play soccer for some reason, what other sport would you play? CS: Basketball. I played all growing up from middle school to 11th grade, and I loved it. I love the fast pace of it. Sometimes I would get too fast for the game, and I feel like if I were to play it now I would be more relaxed and see the game for what it is. I love the constant scoring, the energy of it.
GoDuke.com: Do you have any hidden talents? CS: I play the drums. I don't think a lot of people know that, but a lot of times when I am out, and there is a band playing, I try to get involved. When we were in L.A. and there were a lot of street performers, and there was a drum set and I hopped on and got to play for a little bit. I like doing that. I like to skateboard, snowboard, and wake board. I don't think a lot of girls are into extreme sports, so I guess that is a hidden talent.
GoDuke.com: What is one possession you can't live without? CS: I am on my phone a lot. I am working on that. I deactivated my Facebook just because I am not being productive enough during the day, and I want to narrow my life down. I feel very lost without my phone, but I think I am going to pick a day when I just leave my phone at home.
GoDuke.com: Anything on the IPod that might be embarrassing? CS: Sometimes when I am in the K center or trying to study on the road and people are loud I will put on my headphones and I have this small playlist of classical music because I can't study to songs with words because I am singing in my head so I can't read. If someone just came across that and didn't know when I was listening to it, that could be embarrassing, but I don't really get embarrassed that easily. Anything else is fair game. Spice Girls. Backstreet Boys. Everything.
GoDuke.com: What was your favorite food when you were a child? CS: Growing up we had a Nanny named Beya from Bolivia and she cooked this breaded chicken. It was similar to chicken parmesan, and it still is one of my favorite foods. And she would make this flan that was just money. It was so authentic.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life? CS: I definitely have to say my mom. She is unbelievable. I think about some of the things that we have gone through as a family, and she is 100% responsible for raising my sister and I. She has always been there for us, and always put us ahead of anything else. Talk about self-sacrifice, she sacrificed everything for us, and I would not be here if it were not for here and all the sacrifices she made. I know how proud of me and my sister she is, and she deserves every inch of our success. My sister is a goalkeeper at Rutgers, and she continues to support us no matter what. She will fly back and forth each weekend. She will fly to Rutgers for one week, and drive up to see me the next. Works full time, she is such a hard-worker and just makes it work. She is very inspiring.
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