Jesse Scanlon is riding quite a wave.
The Southampton senior parlayed his 18-goal junior season into a summer competing with college soccer players on an Under-23 club team, an experience that has both strengthened his recruiting resume and set him on an impressive start in 2015.
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Scanlon, whose 11 goals and three assists have led Southampton to a 4-0 record, knows a thing or two about handling waves. Every summer since he was 10 years old, he has balanced his travel soccer schedule with surfing camp -- as a camper and, more recently, as an instructor.
And now, he's riding high.
As with surfing, the soccer terrain can change. He knows that. He has posted three hat tricks, but Southampton has yet to face its stiffest competition in Mattituck and Center Moriches.
That surfing experience -- adjusting to a gust of wind or a wave breaking later than expected -- can apply to soccer as Southampton plugs toward its first matches with the Tuckers and Red Devils on Sept. 26 and Sept. 29, respectively. Adjust as you go.
"You have to be able to think quick in soccer," said Scanlon, who is getting recruited by Division I and Division II programs. "Surfing, you have to think very quick, or else you get hurt."
Scanlon had to be quick during the summer, competing alongside players from Providence and LIU Post. His time on the Under-23 Southampton Pioneers helped improve his confidence that he can lead his high school team against top competition in Suffolk Class B.
"I'm used to playing with pretty much anybody, but sometimes there I would get beat," said Scanlon, who coach David Riley said also owns the school record in the 55 hurdles. "I wasn't even close to the best player on the team. That was a really good learning experience."
Now, he's using that experience as he and fellow senior Gianluca Santacruz (four goals and eight assists in 2015) try to lead Southampton to its first-ever county title. The team's only two seniors have been playing together since they were in fifth grade.
"We can read each other's minds, it feels like," Scanlon said, crediting his teammate for much of his early success.
All waves break eventually. Scanlon is trying to ride this one as far as it will take him and Southampton.
"We're looking for a county title," Scanlon said. "Our school has never had a county title for soccer. That's what we want."