Where are They Now?
Dynasty Goalkeeping is so much more than becoming a better goalkeeper and succeeding on the soccer field. Certainly that is a short term goal of ours, to help every student become their best version, but our long term vision is much greater. At our core we take pride in developing leaders beyond the field, getting our students to expand their scope of self, and empowering them to make a greater impression locally and globally. That is where our true impact lies. This blog was developed to highlight our Dynasty alumnae and reconnect you with former students as they make their way in the world. Personally, I think we have a tremendous family of alumnae and I want to share their journeys with you. Hopefully their stories will inspire you onto greatness of your own and open you up to possibilities you never previously imagined!
Emmy Simpkins was one of Dynasty Goalkeeping’s very first students, attending camp in our first year of existence, summer 2006. The “Emminator” was and always will be a HUGE personality and a bundle of joy. Full of stories and full of life she was a true pleasure to get to know and coach over the years as she attended Dynasty over the years on her journey from a youth player to a collegiate player at Rutgers University. I have so many great memories of Emmy from camp… amazing extension dive saves at full stretch, BIG smiles, getting taken out by an agility pole during fitness testing, superhero pool outfit for the synchronized swimming competition, and best of all her genuine laugh that fills a room and invites you to be a part of the happiness she spreads. I recently stumbled upon her profile via the magical world of Instagram and was thrilled to see her fitter and stronger than ever excelling as a CrossFit athlete. (NOTE: Emmy was always strong and into lifting even as a young athlete when she first attended at age 16).
What year(s) did you attend Dynasty Goalkeeping?
It must have been the first of Dynasty’s existence. And then the following year before heading off to college at Rutgers. So I’m guessing it was the 2006-2007 era??
What drew you to Dynasty?
The opportunity to work with Tracy and chance to be a part of the start of something that I knew was going to be special.
What stands out most to you about your Dynasty experience? How did Dynasty help you grow as a player and person?
Tracy was always so high energy. She had a calm about her, but you could sense her dedication to goalkeeping, health, fitness, and overall wellness. I used to love the lectures and group talks we would have between sessions. As a young female heading in to college, it was awesome to get an idea of what I was getting myself in to. And having the discipline to know what my goals were and KNOW what was going to drive me towards them or away from them. I still use those principles to this day.
Favorite Dynasty memory?
Obviously synchronized swimming or completely wiping myself out with the poles during agility testing! Hahaha. (Emmy is squatting in the middle in black)
How did your experience at Dynasty help you with the transition from youth soccer to college?
The demands of a college athlete are hard. A lot of people struggle with time management, proper nutrition, sleep, and all the other really important things you sometimes neglect as a college student. Dynasty gives you a taste of what a typical day is going to be like. Wake up. Eat. Train. Lecture. Eat. Train. Eat again. Sleep. Repeat.
You grew up playing club soccer in Concord, NC.
- What club? FC Carolina Alliance
- Did you play any other sports in high school? Yes, basketball and lacrosse for one season. I couldn’t stand that no contact was allowed. 🙂
- What compelled you to choose to attend Rutgers University? I had actually never heard of Rutgers until my goalkeeper coach at the time, Sari Rose, mentioned I might enjoy it up there. They came and watched me play, I went on a recruiting visit, fell in love with everything about Rutgers and New Jersey. Much like Dynasty, I had an opportunity to become a part of a growing program. When I committed they were ranked 11th in the country for the first time ever. It was a special time. And I wanted to be a reason the program had continued success.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in college? (academic & athletic)
My biggest challenge was time management. I was never an honor roll student or had straight A’s by any means. I was stuck in study hall my entire college career. Athletically my biggest challenge was fitness. I was always a larger kid. I enjoyed lifting. I was strong, explosive and somewhat quick, but I never enjoyed the endurance stuff. I struggled with fitness tests. I wish I knew what I know now, and what Tracy tried to get across to us as young goalkeepers, that we should be one of the fittest on the field!
What was your favorite college soccer highlight?
Wow. There are honestly so many. However, probably my favorite was when I had kind of “let myself go” with my weight and training. The coaches had taken my captain band away, told me I was going to be the second string keeper. I’ve never been more motivated in my life. Insert “CrossFit”. I worked my ass off to get in shape. I came back, passed all of my fitness tests, got my captain band AND starting position back. And I worked to keep it all. I had one of my best seasons that year.
Communications major with a minor in music.
You got into CrossFit Training towards the end of your collegiate soccer career:
- Why? I lost my captain band and starting position due to the fact that I had gotten myself completely out of shape. I went home for winter break in 2011 and my sister begged me to try CrossFit with her. I went with her the entire time I was home for break. Spring semester I came back up to New Jersey, found the nearest CrossFit gym and went every morning BEFORE practice. That is how I earned my captain band and starting position back for the 2012 season.
- What compelled you to try CrossFit when you had a Strength & Conditioning Coach at Rutgers with the women’s soccer program? I was always strong. I loved the Olympic lifts and benching/squatting. CrossFit still does all of those things, but the “conditioning” portion is actually fun. There aren’t any expectations of “passing”, but rather just doing the best you are capable of doing. And that made all the difference for me.
- What differences did you find between traditional S&C at the university level compared to CrossFit? It challenged me more. Strength and conditioning for females at the collegiate level (back in my day) wasn’t anything like it is now. CrossFit exposed me to a lot of weaknesses. It’s all based on functional movements; things you can use in your everyday life. A lot of the lifts we did at a collegiate level involved machines which do not encourage a full range of motion about a joint.
- How has CrossFit impacted you physically and mentally? CrossFit has changed absolutely everything about who I am. As mentioned previously, I was never in shape growing up. There were many points in my life where I was overweight and self-conscious. Which lead to confidence issues, body image issues, and depression amongst other things as well. CrossFit empowered me. There weren’t any expectations. Just goals. Just areas to continue to work at to achieve certain weights/times/levels I couldn’t do before.
- How has your experience with CrossFit shifted your approach towards life and competition? I wish I knew back in college the things I know now about hard work. But, I’m glad I learned them eventually. Not just physical “hard work” with workouts and what not, but hard work towards ANYTHING. Ha. I’ll actually never forget something Tracy told us once; “If you don’t want to do it, it probably means you should be doing it”. No one wants to do the hard stuff. But I’m telling you that all the cliché quotes and messages about what’s done behind closed doors, when no one is watching….THAT’S the sh– that gets you ahead. That’s the sh– that gets you good. You’re only fooling yourself if you think you’re working harder than everyone else. You’ve got to work like someone else is trying to take everything away from you. Is it going to hurt? Is it going to suck? Absolutely. Is it going to kill you? No. So do it. The time is going to pass anyways, so is what you’re doing today putting you closer or further away from your goals?
Tell us more about your current job on the Jersey Shore with CrossFit SpeakEasy.
- What compelled you to take the risk of becoming a business owner? It’s the life. I have an awesome fiancé, two gigantic, active dogs, an active and fun community, and the summers here are unlike anything you’ve ever experience. I am so glad I moved to New Jersey in 2008. Haven’t regretted one second in this state. Close enough to the city, mountains, beach and we have all 4 seasons. The atmosphere at work is everything you could dream of as a coach. Motivated clients, awesome location, fun employees…I couldn’t ask for anything more.
- What compelled you to take the risk of becoming a business owner? If you asked me while I was in college if I ever thought I’d be a business owner of any sort, I would have laughed hysterically. But when CrossFit fell in to my lap and made me become the best version of myself, and continues to challenge me to do so, I knew I had to give back. I had to give back to the community what CrossFit gave to me. It gave me control of my life. It empowered this small, self-centered, unmotivated, miserable human. I’m no longer any of those things. I feel powerful, not in an abusive way, but in an inspiring way. If I could do it, I’m promising you that anyone can.
- What are your daily job responsibilities? Coaching. I coach every single type of athlete. Teens, grandparents, families, dads, moms, CEO’s, college graduates… I coach them all. And my job is to make them all feel special, and that their fitness goals matter — creating personal relationships. I pride myself on KNOWING my members. Knowing their spouses names, how many kids they have, what they do for a living, where they went to college, where they want to go to college, etc etc. All of my members come from somewhere completely different, but are all united by a similar goal. And that to me is so cool.
- What challenges are you currently facing? Currently, I am injured. I had a severe herniation in my C 5-6 region of my upper spine. I had surgery done a few weeks ago and am on the mend. Mentally, it was a big battle because of the physical state I had worked to get myself too. Knowing how long/hard it took me to get there, it was devastating to know what it would take to get back. But, my sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready for the challenge. The Time is going to pass anyways, so why not be positive and make the most of it!
- What do you enjoy about this opportunity? The different types of people I get to work with; people of all sorts of backgrounds, ages, and abilities.
- Best part of your job? When someone does something they’ve been working to accomplish. That is one of the coolest things to witness. When someone SEES and FEELS their hard work paying off.
- What is the mission of your company? To provide a fun, supportive and encouraging environment. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start. We want to help change the way people view health and fitness. But more importantly, help them change the way they think and feel about themselves.
Not only are you a business owner, you are a trainer and still compete in CrossFit competitions.
- How do you find the time to balance all your roles? Some parts of the year are harder than others. I have an amazing support system. I also have an awesome business partner that really picks up most of the business related stuff when I am “in season”. But that said I get my job done. I make time for training, whether that means going in first thing in the morning, coaching all morning, training again, and then handling business work at night. It’s exhausting, but I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. My partner is also an amazing source of support. She handles a lot of the responsibilities at home, or helps my business partner out if I’m out of town for a competition. It’s a challenge, but we all work together to make it work.
- Favorite competition experience? Even though I got injured during this competition, Dubai Fitness Championships was my favorite. I was over there with the BEST CrossFit athletes in the world (and was really holding my own until I got hurt!). It made me realize that I have what it takes to be one of the fittest people on the planet.
- Highest finish/ranking thus far in competition? Top 60 worldwide in the 2016 CrossFit Open. (That’s out of hundreds of thousands participants!)
As you know from experiencing the Nutrition Lectures and Whole Foods field trips at camp, proper nutrition is a BIG component of our curriculum and one that we LIVE while at camp too — eating what we preach! Your body type has evolved over the years (as you mentioned) and currently you are very lean and strong.
- How has your nutrition changed since high school to college to now? Drastically! In high school, I never thought twice about what I was eating. In college, I thought about it periodically, but mainly because girls were talking about needing to “get skinny” for summer. I thought that if I was playing soccer, I didn’t really need to focus on what I was eating. When I finally realized the importance of nutrition, everything changed. I don’t restrict specific foods; mainly I eat everything in moderation. I have a pretty set schedule I do follow, but I’m not so strict that if I’m out at a party or a dinner, I won’t have dessert or an adult beverage. I just don’t do those things often. That way I tend to make better choices as to what I am going to eat instead of indulging in whatever I would like. Instead of the large pasta with cheese, sauce, and bread, I’ll have the salmon with sweet potatoes and broccoli. Sounds boring, but the results aren’t.
- How does nutrition factor into your daily life now as an athlete who places huge demands on your body to train hard (to your max), recover, and perform again the next day? As mentioned above, I still “treat” myself periodically. However, I try to manage those splurges prior to a rest day. I know if I indulge the day before a big training session, I’ll feel sluggish, cramp, and just not perform well. So instead, I’ll indulge the day before a rest day and then use my “rest” day to prepare my meals for the week. More than anything, I see a huge improvement on my recovery. The demands of my training sessions are extreme. I will have multiple sessions a day with several sections in each session. My ability to recover between sections AND sessions is huge for my development and performance.
- Any tips for our younger athletes? Just try it. Try seeing how you feel when you eat healthier (more wholesome, less processed foods) and are more conscious of your choices. Take note of how you recover, your energy levels, and how your body transforms. You won’t just notice physical differences, but mental and psychological differences as well. It’s amazing how much food controls in our bodies.
What perspective have you gained through your experiences thus far?
Life is about serving others. Not serving others with the expectation of something in return. When you give someone their life back, the reward is breathtaking. You will forever have their loyalty, trust, and love.
Future plans? Goals? Career aspirations?
I plan to get married in the near future, have some kids, open a couple more gyms, and create an AWESOME high school program that prepares student athletes for the physical and mental demands of a collegiate program. I want to give them the knowledge that I wish I had when I was their age.
How has your career in soccer prepared you for your transition into the ‘real-world’ beyond soccer?
Sports teach you so much about teamwork. I’m not just saying that because every coach says that, but because it really does. You’re going to come across and meet so many different types of people in your life, and because of sports, you’ll know exactly how to interact/connect with them. You’re ability to communicate effectively will benefit you immensely. You’re willingness to problem solve together and not give up on each other will help you overcome obstacles. I can recall many times back in my glory days at Rutgers — games that just weren’t going anywhere near as expected, but by coming together and figuring it out together is what made all the difference.
Any parting words of inspiration or tips for current Dynasty GKs that are currently struggling to find their way and are preparing for the transition to college?
10 years post college you’re probably going to look back and say “damn, I wish I knew that back when I was playing”. Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. College is going to be some of the best years of your life. You’re goals will change year to year, season to season. But it’s all part of the process to becoming the best YOU possible. If you already know 100% what you want to do, where you want to go, and what you want to be— then good for you. Don’t lose sight of that. And know that HARD WORK PAYS OFF. If you don’t know any of those things about yourself— it is OK. I promise. Just work your hardest every day. Some days will look different than others, but do the best you’re capable of doing on any given day.