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Career and family: Siena coach Asque-Favia makes tough choices to pursue playing dreams

Career and family: Siena coach Asque-Favia makes tough choices to pursue playing dreams

Jamaica and Simone Asque-Favia, far right, celebrate winning the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Senior Championships in Suriname last summer

Simone Asque-Favia is the third-year volleyball coach at Siena College in upstate New York. She was an all-ACC player at Virginia and after playing professionally in Cyprus, Denmark and Slovakia got into college coaching. Her last stop was as an assistant at Seton Hall before taking over at Siena, which competes in the MAAC. Asque-Favia also still plays. She has Jamaican roots, played for that country in her 20s, and then last year rejoined the national team:

Last summer, Siena volleyball coach Simone Asque-Favia played a major role in helping Jamaica win its first-ever CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.

It wasn’t an easy road.

When Jamaica first approached her about playing, Asque-Favia knew she faced many challenges. She had just finished her first year as the head coach at Siena and was in the midst of recruiting for her second season. She was getting older, and Asque-Favia wondered if she still had what it took to play at the highest international level. And she was also recovering from severe injuries sustained in a major auto accident.

And that wasn’t all: Asque-Favia and her husband wanted to start a family.

Asque-Favia and her husband, Ethan Favia, had talked about having children since they married in 2021.  Early in 2023, she said, “We started thinking (seriously) about starting a family and having the kids, the dog, and so on. I’m 33, so we knew we’d be hitting the baby window, so to speak.”

Asque-Favia already knew that female athletes face unique pressures compared to their male counterparts especially when pregnancy come into play. She remembered, for example, that track champion Allyson Felix left her long-time sponsor, Nike, when the company tried to renew her contract for much less money after she became pregnant. 

“I thought, ‘Wow, these peak women athletes are getting treated this way because [they’re] in the midst of having kids or planning a family, so they’re not as valuable,’” Asque-Favia said. 

Jamaica: “If you come, we have a chance to win”

A call from the Jamaican national volleyball team made things even more complicated.

Jamaica had come close to winning the CAZOVA title before, including a disheartening loss at home in 2017. Just as Asque-Favia and Favia started…

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