Photography courtesy of Stanford University

Soccer dads are notorious for sideline antics, but imagine if your father is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys player. Ursuline Academy of Dallas graduate Madison Haley says her father, Charles Haley, is known more for his unwavering support of her rather than pumped-up pressure. The 5-foot-7 Haley is a junior and forward at Stanford University, where she made the 2018 All-Pac Second Team and received a 2018 Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable mention. A member of the U.S. U-20 National Team, she has spent the last two summers playing for the FC Dallas Women’s Premier Soccer League team. After a summer living at home with mom, Karen, and the family’s five doberman pinschers, she returned to Stanford, where she majors in science, technology and society. “God sent us an angel,” Charles Haley told WFAA. “And then he blessed her with brains and skills. God has something special planned for her.”

How did Stanford come about?

I committed to Stanford at the end of my sophomore year at Ursuline. Then, I went off to college and really went after it. We had amazing team chemistry. We really believed we would win every game, and we did. That showed in our campaign to ultimately win a National Championship. To play a big role in that was beyond imagination. You dream of those moments as a kid.

What’s it like to be a student there?

I always get asked, “How hard is it?” It’s challenging academically and athletically, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone excels at what they’re doing. There’s so much humility there. Sometimes, I’ll be biking around campus and I’m like, “Holy crap. I go to Stanford.” I see Katie Ledecky. I’m having lunch with Olympians. People don’t have these experiences, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

What made you choose soccer as a girl?

I’m the youngest. I have two older sisters and one older brother. My dad was an NFL athlete so we were just thrown into sports as kids. I started playing in elementary school. My dad tried to make me try out for a girls’ basketball team. I ran track for a bit, but I naturally ended up sticking with soccer. 

Who was your favorite soccer player when you were growing up?

Messi.

What are your memories of Ursuline?
Winning the 24th State Championship. I didn’t have a lot of time with the team, but I still felt a part of it. It was a special experience, especially with the history of Ursuline dominating women’s soccer. When I come home, I have a great time hanging out with the girls. What they say about the Ursuline sisterhood is really true.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My dad had a quote. The gist of it is, “If you want to be a champion, you’re going to have to be willing to sacrifice.” The person that’s going to be able to sacrifice the most is the one that’s going to put themselves in the position to ultimately achieve their goal. You get injured and you’re rehabbing for eight months, and you just have to keep chugging along and finding ways to stay motivated.

What’s it like to be the daughter of a former professional athlete? 
People think that because he was a professional athlete that he would push me in a lot of different directions and be super controlling and involved in everything, and that’s just not true. He played football; I play soccer. He’s never pretended to be the expert on soccer, which I so appreciate. When we were growing up, he taught us running mechanics. He’s always been in my corner, trying to help me, support me, get me whatever it is I need. But I don’t have two competing people saying different things.

What are your hopes for the future?

I would love for our team to win a couple more national championships and Pac-12 trophies. I would like to go pro, but I haven’t been thinking too much about it. I’m trying to stay as present as I can at the moment. I love the sport. I can’t imagine being done anytime soon. My dream job would be any role at Nike.


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