Reese Wilson has scored one goal this season for the New Orleans Jesters, yet his impact cannot be judged in headers and penalty kicks.
It’s analyzed by how Wilson, a center midfielder, creates prime scoring opportunities for his teammates.
His movements on the soccer field are aimed to force opponents to make faulty decisions: commit to stopping Wilson as he approaches with ball on foot. Then, Wilson finds a passing lane, setting up others.
“I’m enjoying it. It’s a different role than I’ve played in the past,” said Wilson, whose Jesters (1-0-1) on Saturday night play at the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves (1-0-1). “I definitely feel like the players I have around me help out.”
Once a finisher with the Jesters (2010-2011), Wilson is now the starter.
“It’s something that will never show up on a stat sheet,” said Jesters coach Kenny Farrell. “But it’s so critical and vital.”
On May 17, the Jesters tied Atlanta at Pan American Stadium. Jesters forward Luke Sheekey.
Last Saturday, the Jesters rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the first half to score two goals in a 3-1 win over Chattanooga. During the match, Farrell said he felt Wilson was over-passing the ball during the first half. He wanted Wilson to move more with the ball, forcing defenders to commit.
The change was part of the Jesters’ winning ways.
“It’s still a learning curve for everyone, I believe,” Wilson said. “I feel like everyone is coming together, learning what roles they’re playing and how they can help the team win.”
Last weekend also marked his first goal. He scored on a penalty kick.
Wilson, 24, played for the Jesters from 2010-2011. The following season, he helped Central Connecticut win a Northeast Conference title - he also earned Conference Player of the Year honors and was named the conference’s defensive MVP three times.
Wilson then spent 2013 playing professional soccer for Club de Futbol UCR in the Costa Rican First Division.
He opted to return to New Orleans because of his familiarity with the Jesters and the city.