San Ramon Valley High senior kicker Matt Anderson, the guy with the golden left foot, has picked a complicated time to become a Cal football player.
On Nov. 20, the day Anderson went to Cal to begin planning his schedule, he was upset to learn that Cal coach Jeff Tedford and special teams coach Jeff Genyk had been fired.
"I had a meeting that day with my academic adviser to try to pick out classes and stuff, and it just happened to be the day that everything came down, and so it was a very somber atmosphere," said Anderson, who will graduate early and start at Cal on about Jan. 21.
Can you even imagine?
"I had heard the news that Tedford had been let go earlier that morning while I was at my house," Anderson said. "When I got there I learned that the special teams coach had been let go, too. It kind of hit me hard at first ... Honestly, I still love Cal the school. You choose where you want to go based on the university, but I'd formed a great bond with coach Genyk the past six months. I'd talk to him every week, and so it was a little tough at first."
No matter who the next coaches are Cal, the Bears will be getting a big time talent in Anderson.
A student of his craft with thunderous power, Anderson will participate in the California State All-Star Game in Visalia on Dec. 22 and the U.S. Semper Fidelis All-American Game on Jan. 4 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, representing the West.
In the North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals, he boomed a kickoff to the back of the end zone from the Wolves' 35-yard line in a driving rainstorm against Amador Valley.
He's had multiple 75-yard kickoffs. He also booted a 43-yard field goal against Antioch in the first round of the NCS playoffs.
"He's just a phenomenal kicker, the way the ball goes off his foot," San Ramon Valley coach Mark Kessler said. "He's extremely accurate."
Anderson will join two ex-Wolves at Cal -- quarterback Zach Kline and long snapper John Sheperdson. Cal junior James Langford, a Foothill graduate and a transfer from Cal Poly, is also in the Bears' place-kicking mix.
Over the summer Anderson outkicked two of the nation's other top recruits, Auburn-bound Daniel Carlson and Boston- College-bound Michael Geiger, at Cal kicking camps to land his scholarship.
"Since the beginning of the summer I've just been really confident with all my kicking," Anderson said. Anderson also was named overall camp champion at the Chris Sailer Kicking Camp. He has been tutored by Sailer, a noted kicking guru.
Moreover, Kessler said that Anderson "really grew" this year in how he interacted with his teammates. Anderson has been spending time in the weight room lately as well.
"I'm excited get to these all-star games and to get to Cal and start kicking with the team and the new coaching staff and see where that goes," Anderson said.
FOOTHILL HITTING STRIDE: It's been seven seasons since the Foothill boys soccer team made the NCS Division I playoffs, but the Falcons are showing signs of a big turnaround. Foothill took first place in the Winter Soccer Classic Gold Division with a 4-0 win over Deer Valley on Dec. 1.
"This is a huge win," Foothill coach Jason Wescott said. "I'm very excited for the boys. They're working hard, they're excited and they're starting to buy in. We're looking forward to the season to see what we can do."
MOVING UP: Foothill girls lacrosse star Laura Klein has signed with Stanford. Monte Vista softball player Kristen Clark (UC Santa Barbara) and Athenian baseball ace Cameron Cotton of Danville (Cal Poly) have also signed. Klein earned US Lacrosse All-American, Academic All-American and All-East Bay Athletic League first-team honors. She also plays for the BearLax Lacrosse Club. Clark was an outfielder and a first-team all-EBAL pick last spring. Cotton hit .369 and was 5-3 with a 1.12 ERA last spring. He also struck out 59 and walked 16 in 50 innings.