A leg up on the competition

Canyon High kicker Jerrett Ressler wears a t-shirt from Cal's specialist camp field goal contest. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Jarrett Reeser loves pressure.

In soccer, he’s known as the player who comes up with a big goal late in close games. In football, he aches for game-winning field goal situations.

So at a recent University of California, Berkeley’s specialist camp, Reeser, the specialist for Canyon’s football team, never flinched as the yardage kept increasing in the camp’s field goal competition. Even with the coaching staff’s eyes on him.

“I’m used to the pressure, and I love the pressure,” Reeser said. “It became a part of me and that’s really where the difference is for me as a competitor.”

The field goal competition began with a single-elimination round in which competitors kicked off of sticks from each side of the hash marks. Then, with three kickers left, it switched to double-elimination and the distance increased to 45 yards.

The first two players missed their kicks. Reeser missed on his first attempt. The second attempt was much better.

“I ended up making it up through the uprights down the middle,” he said. “It was an awesome experience.”

Reeser has now attended five specialist camps this summer and although he’s come close multiple times, the Cal camp is the first one that he’s won. He’s been to Cal, UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford so far.

When he’s not at events, he’s focusing on soccer or working with his coaches Chris Sailer and Cole Murphy, a Valencia grad, on his kicking. Reeser has only been kicking for a little under a year and picked it up sheerly by chance.

His freshman year, Reeser was playing soccer in Italy. But the time away from Southern California strained his family, and he decided to move back to California and play for the San Jose Earthquakes academy team.

Shortly after moving to San Jose, Reeser’s father bought two footballs and the pair went to his high school’s football field, just for fun.

“I had no idea how to kick,” Reeser said. “All I knew was three steps back and two the left, try and kick it through the uprights.

“I was making them from 35 and back from 40 or 45 and after from 55 yards, my dad said, ‘Wow, we can actually do something.’”

That “something” ended up being closer than Reeser or his dad could have imagined. His high school’s football coach was watching from afar and approached the then-sophomore about joining the football team.

Reeser lived in San Jose for a year, but the distance was still difficult for his family and his father’s work, so he moved back to Santa Clarita and began playing for the Real So Cal U19 team. This season, he’ll be playing for Canyon football, too.

He’s looking forward to continuing training in the offseason and balancing it with soccer, too. Right now he’s at the USSDA Boys Summer Showcase, a national event. The showcase wraps up on Friday, then he’ll be at a specialist camp at USC on Sunday.

It’s a lot to balance, but it’s exactly the type of high-pressure summer that Reeser is built for.

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