Defender Jasper Winslow was named a 2023 United Soccer Coaches All-American, while Caleb Reyes was named West Region Pitcher of the Year by three different organizations for the 2023 season. | Photos courtesy of CPP Athletics

CPP athletes going pro: The paths of Jasper Winslow and Caleb Reyes

By Ryan Ramirez and Marline Esquivel, May 14, 2024

Throughout their adolescence, prospective athletes push hard every year to master their sports, ultimately culminating in the immense decision to finish the race at college or continue into the professional field.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an athlete as “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.”  From all the years of dedication to their sports, men’s soccer defender Jasper Winslow and men’s baseball pitcher Caleb Reyes have decided to continue the race by pursuing a professional career.

Winslow was recruited to Lionsbridge FC, a team based in Newport News, Virginia that plays in USL League Two, while Reyes hopes to continue playing for as long as he can with the hopes of catching the eye of MLB scouts in the future.

Winslow, a 2020 graduate of Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles, found success within the team and individually, earning United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American (2023), CCAA All-Academic (2020-21, 2022-23) and CCAA Fall All-Academic (2022) honors.

Winslow is self-motivated as he views each day as an opportunity to get stronger mentally and physically, training with the team in season and individually out of the season. His drive to become an elite athlete stems from his love of soccer, which began as a child.

“When I was around 9 or 10, I first joined a club soccer team and I started to get a little more into it and there I kind of just fell in love with it practicing all the time,” said Winslow. “It just progressed into everything I did, and I was doing my best to play at the highest level I could.”

Winslow recalled one pivotal moment in his college career that helped him to grow into a stronger player and leader. In his team’s final playoff game of the fall 2022 season, he allowed the player he was defending to score, resulting in a loss for his team.

“It was tough to look your teammates in the eyes and feel like you let them down, especially, because some of my best friends on that team were seniors and that was their last college soccer game,” said Winslow.

Returning to CPP without a win, emotions were high, and it was difficult for him and the team. However, they reflected on the season and understood the team did not meet its expectations. Winslow vowed he had to be the leader going forward, and somebody the team could rely on.

“I want to continue to play soccer at the highest level I can for at least a few years,” said Winslow. “Whether that be professional or semi-professional. Even if it’s not necessarily making a living, I just want to be able to still compete.”

For Winslow, soccer has been a lifelong passion, driving him to achieve both on and off the field. Despite setbacks like the disappointment of a playoff loss, he emerged as a leader, ready to guide his team to success.

Stories involving baseball players who have been training and participating in leagues and tournaments since they were young are  common in the sport. Every story has its outliers, though, and Caleb Reyes is one of them.

Looking back on his baseball career, Reyes admitted he was always the underdog because he started later than most. Coaches and peers doubted his ability to be successful in the sport. Reyes was unfazed by this because he enjoyed the competition and was motivated to prove himself on the diamond.

During his undergraduate career, Reyes switched from being a catcher to a pitcher, and his training routine developed into a disciplined program centered on constant growth. He kept himself in top physical and mental shape by committing to regular schedules that included mobility exercises, weightlifting and bullpen sessions.

Through this hard work, Reyes became an All-American and the West Region Pitcher of the Year. His commitment to his team’s success and perseverance made this accomplishment much more significant.

Reyes credited the greatest influence in his baseball career to his parents and coaches and his growth both as an athlete and a person has been greatly supported by their support and direction.

Reyes is motivated by a well-balanced support structure that includes his mom’s unfailing praise and his dad’s strong love and constructive criticism.

During games, he loves intensity and uses it as motivation to provide his best effort despite the pressure and anxieties. He approaches every task with a competitor’s mentality, drawing on his martial arts background and refusing to back down in crucial situations.

Reyes has experienced disappointments and setbacks like any other athlete. He has fought through injuries and given up several home runs in a single game, but he has learned to come back stronger every time. He exceeded his expectations and returned to the field earlier than expected thanks to his perseverance and hard work.

Reyes is focused on getting an opportunity with a Major League Baseball team in the future. He is motivated to get scouts’ attention and secure his chance to compete at the top level with summer ball and ongoing commitment to his craft.

“The game hasn’t been taken away from me yet,” said Reyes. “So, I’m not going to stop trying and I’m not going to stop working until someone literally says that you can’t play anymore. So, my goal is to play as long as possible and get seen and get signed.”

Looking back on his journey, Reyes offered aspiring athletes three pieces of advice: accept failure, maintain discipline in training, and never lose sight of the objectives.

With their eyes set on the professional stage, Winslow and Reyes are ready to continue their journey, showing the world what it means to be true athletes, both on and off the field.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics 

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