Madison Haley, daughter of NFL legend Charles Haley, making her own name with Sydney FC

“It’s harder to realise how special it is when you’re in it, versus when you’re not – that’s how I’d describe it,” she said.

“I was too young to see him play. Maybe when I was a baby, but I have no recollection of it. My dad still goes to Super Bowls nowadays, and he’s usually doing some type of work … my family is still very much around the game, but it’s definitely more my brother and my mum who are into it.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate it more, because it’s very few times that I get to walk up to a Cowboys game – whereas when I was a kid, I got to go to pretty much every home game. When I am home and I get to go, I definitely don’t take you for granted anymore.”

Haley isn’t particularly familiar with the rules and minutiae of American football, and unless the Cowboys or 49ers are playing, isn’t particularly interested in the NFL, or curious about what watching a Super Bowl in the daytime will feel like on Monday. Similarly, her dad is happy to concede he knows almost nothing about the sport she has chosen to pursue as a professional, so while he has never offered her advice, so to speak, he can at least provide her with general athletic guidance.

“He’s a peripheral soccer dad,” she said.


“He knows to stay in his lane. At a young age, he was like, ‘You know, I’m not an expert. I can’t teach you anything related to soccer. But if you’re serious about it, I will help you find someone that can.’

“He watches, and he’s into it, but he doesn’t know everything that’s going on.”

Haley’s ultimate aspiration is to play for the US national team. She was called up for a camp in 2019 but couldn’t attend due to an ankle injury, and she sees her stint in the A-League Women with the Sky Blues – for whom she has scored seven goals in eight games as they close in on a late-season premiership raid – as a big step in getting her back in the frame for the next World Cup cycle.

“I just want to keep getting better. I want to keep scoring goals, I want to help Sydney get to where they want to be, and that’s win the double. I want us to be as successful as we possibly can,” she said.

“In the back of my mind, I want to be in the conversation with the national team. But I’m not going to get [there] if I’m not performing with my club.”

Watch every match of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League on Stan Sport. Returns for the Round of 16 in February 2023, with all matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand.

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