Simon Sisters 01

Senior Allie Simon (left) and redshirt freshman Jamie Simon (right) get some ball juggling in before Women's soccer practice Wednesday afternoon. The Simon sisters grew up playing together in Cary, Ill., before ending up in Griz uniforms. While Allie is currently injured with a torn hamstring, Jamie has already proven herself to be a valuable asset to the Griz, scoring in her first game of the year against Air Force. 

Jamie Simon didn't want to play soccer at the University of Montana.

Her older sister Allie played for UM and Jamie was not impressed with the granola Missoula lifestyle, so during her junior year of high school, she committed to the University of Rhode Island.

However, after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in high school, Jamie gained a new perspective.

"I went on my official visit my senior year to Rhode Island and saw the girls I was playing with and kind of realized that it didn't have the other aspects I wanted as a student in a college," Jamie said. "I really liked the athletics and the soccer part, but if soccer was taken away, I don't think I would enjoy it there."

After considering her options, Jamie decided to come to Montana and join Allie on the soccer pitch.

Both Simon sisters grew up playing soccer and various sports in Cary, Ill. When they began high school, they solely focused on soccer. Jamie, now a redshirt freshman, said they were both drawn to the freedom of the sport.

"Situations are always changing and so you kind of dictate what kind of attack you want to have, what you want to do with the ball, whether you want to dribble, pass or shoot," Allie said. "It gives you more creativity and allows you to flow off your teammates' creativity."

Both sisters are assets to the Grizzlies.

Jamie contributed in the first game of her collegiate career when she scored a goal in Montana's season opener against the Air Force Academy. Allie has played in 39 games and has six career goals.

Allie has played all of those games under head coach Mark Plakorus, who took over as head coach her freshman year. In that time, the Grizzlies have won a Big Sky Conference title, earned an NCAA Tournament berth and grabbed a share of the 2012 regular season title.

Plakorus didn't recruit Allie, but he liked her competitiveness, her desire to do well from the start and "how much being a Grizzly means to her."

"She's grown into a very good leader," Plakorus said. "Even with everything she's gone through injury-wise, she always just keeps plugging ahead and is just such a positive force for us."

Allie has dealt with numerous wear-and-tear injuries like pulled quadriceps, so when Jamie tore her other ACL on the second day of practice last year, Allie was there to support her younger sister. At one point during the season, both sisters were injured, so they used the opportunity to focus on school and spend time together.

That was the reason Allie wanted Jamie to come play in Montana. She tried to stay objective, but it was an experience she wanted to share with her sister.

"At college, it's a whole different level," Allie said. "It's your family, it's your everyday life. A lot of time is dedicated to this sport, so I knew that the travels and the experiences we could have together were something that we would remember for the rest of our lives."


alexandria.valdez@umontana.edu 

@avaldez