Best internationals of 2019/20 – Simone Charley
With her lightning-quick pace and lethal finishing ability, Simone Charley proved to be one of the Westfield W-League's most dazzling newcomers in 2019/20.
The Canberra United speed demon starred in 11 matches, scoring five goals – two with her left foot, two with her right foot and one with her head – a highlight reel which includes some stunning strikes.
Charley is an athletic specimen at the highest level. The former track and field ace specialised as a triple jumper at Vanderbilt University and missed out on qualifying for the World Athletics Championships 2014 by one centimetre while breaking records in Nashville, USA.
And the 25-year-old hopped, skipped and jumped right into focus in the 2019/20 season, rattling in four goals in her first five Westfield W-League games after she had made only six career starts in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League.
The American’s ability to transition defence into attack was a constant threat to opposition defences, as showcased against the Newcastle Jets below, and the Boston-native showed the quality on the ball to back-up her game-changing pace.
There’s no doubt the Portland Thorns wing whiz will return to the NWSL with her stock at an all-time high in 2020 after displaying some eye-popping performances in her debut campaign down under with the Green Machine.
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Charley made it a Westfield W-League debut to remember in a Round 1 encounter with last year's Grand Finalists Perth Glory. She announced herself with a maiden competition goal with a sixth-minute slide and backed up that statement with a curling strike into the top corner only five minutes later as Canberra went on to claim a 2-0 win.
Heather Garriock's side suffered a 2-1 loss to eventual Premiership-Championship double winners Melbourne City in Round 2, but Charley came back firing the following week scoring the second in a breath-taking counter attack in a 3-2 victory in the Hunter, which you can watch above.
After a 2-1 reverse against Brisbane Roar, Charley was back among the goals in a 1-1 draw against Perth Glory. The American opening the scoring in Western Australia by, once again, using her electric pace to break free on the right before cutting inside and firing a shot in on her left foot.
Charley was in the thick of the action as Hayley Taylor-Young netted the winner and the capital club sealed a 2-1 win against Adelaide in Round 6, but three straight 4-0 losses against Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC and Melbourne City put a dent in the Green Machine's Finals Series hopes.
A 3-0 loss against Melbourne Victory in Round 11 erased all of the ACT outfit's early season momentum, but Charley had the last word in Garriock's final home game in charge – a 3-1 win against Adelaide United – as the speedster's 80th-minute header sent the head coach, and Westfield Matildas favourite, off in style.
Charley did not feature in the 5-0 loss to Brisbane Roar in Round 13 as Canberra were forced to settle for sixth place, nine points off the pace of the top four. The American proved to be one of the brightest sparks of the Green Machines' season and among the best wide players in the competition during the 2019/20 season.