DALLAS – Madison Haley has a famous father. He’s a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and wore No. 94 for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s.
But even though Charles Haley is the man she calls dad, she’s still a 16-year-old.
“You know, teenagers are stubborn,” Madison said. “So sometimes I’m like, ‘Okay, shut up — like, you don’t know what you’re talking about.'”
Of course, when a five-time Super Bowl champion and one of the best pass-rushers of his generation is the one providing you advice, you tend to listen.
“He’ll send me text, he sends me Bible scriptures every morning, sends me texts. You know, ‘Be great,’ ‘I believe in you,'” Madison said. “It’s been really great. And he has been truly great, so it is different. You know, most teenagers don’t want to listen to their parents, but if I want to be great, I kind of have to listen to him.”
“Every day,” Charles said. “Every day. Positive affirmations. I tell my kids, ‘You know what? There’s no such thing as bad days. There are only bad moments. And those moments are easy to get over.'”
Madison – a sophomore at Ursuline Academy who also plays for the U.S. National Team’s U-18 team – just committed to Stanford to play soccer in a few years.
She’s one of the best players in the country. She’s also extremely intelligent — just as likely to talk about a future job in Silicon Valley as she is about winning a future World Cup.
But when Madison and her three older siblings were growing up, Charles made sure to push them hard to be in shape for all their athletic endeavors.
“You know, we had this huge forest, and we’d run this forest — it’s like four miles!” Madison said. “And so, when we’d get tired, we’d start walking. All of a sudden he’d pop out with this tractor, and be like, ‘Why are you walking?!’ We’re like, ‘Oh my God.” And he’s like, ‘Ay! do it again!'”
This is where Haley’s mom, Karen, chimes in.
“Now isn’t that cheating?” Karen joked. “He’s driving, making sure she’s doing her three miles.”
Charles says that Madison is a gift — quite literally born out of unfortunate circumstances.
“She is a blessing from God, because my daughter Brianna got sick. And we couldn’t find a donor for her, so Madison was born,” Charles said. “So, if Brianna hadn’t gotten sick, Madison wouldn’t have been here.”
Thankfully, Brianna got better, even before Madison was born. And in the process, the Haleys were blessed with a fourth child.
“God sent us an angel,” Charles said. “And then he blessed her with brains and skills. God has something special planned for her.”