By Ray Hamill — Klayre Barres seems to know what she wants, on and off the soccer field.
This week, a year and a half before graduating high school, the Eureka junior standout verbally committed to play soccer at Chico State in 2021, where she intends to study pre-law.
Barres has been one of the top players in the H-DNL since breaking into the Loggers team as a freshmen, and is now arguably the most lethal striker in the league.
Although that wasn’t always the case.
“As a freshman, I definitely played a little bit scared,” she recalled. “But my teammates helped me. Players like Olivia Stone and Athena Miller, these players helped me step into my comfort zone.”
As a sophomore, Barres played alongside Stone and Miller on an undefeated Eureka team that won a first-ever North Coast Section championship for the program.
Barres is also a part of the Olympic Development Program, chosen recently as one of the top 18 players in her age group in Northern California to represent the area in a regional tournament in Arizona.
And playing at such a high level for the second straight year has helped propel Barres’ game to even greater heights.
“I’d say a big part of that experience is probably the players,” said Barres, who participated in the ODP along with Eureka teammates Keylei Carroll, Aquene Tollefson and Brynn Hales, and Fortuna’s Sarah Killfoil. “We were playing with girls we never met before and it’s kind of a real intense level. I was super nervous. There were 130 girls at the tryouts and everyone fighting for a spot.”
Barres added, however, that all the girls at the ODP were very helpful to one another, and the experience has been a very positive one.
And after playing at such a high level, it will come as no surprise that the current Eureka Logger will soon be taking her game to the Division-II collegiate level.
As for Chico State, Barres says she knew immediately she wanted to play there after visiting the campus and meeting with the coaches and players.
“I ended up really, really liking the school and the coaches and the girls,” she said. “It just felt right. They were super welcoming.”
The Wildcats are coached by former Humboldt State head coach Kim Sutton, who has enjoyed tremendous success in her 19 years at Chico, making seven NCAA tournament appearances in the past 15 years.
And Barres says she is looking forward to the challenge of joining such a successful program, something she has been preparing for during her time playing locally for Eureka High and Sequoia FC, a newly established travel team in Humboldt County.
Sequoia FC is run by HSU coach Paul Karver, who has played a major role in helping to showcase the talents of local players in recent years, including Barres’ former Eureka teammate Stone, who now plays collegiately for Portland State.
“Playing for Sequoia FC has been great. Paul Karver has been such a positive influence and has had such a positive impact on my life,” Barres said. “He’s so helpful and cares so much about his players. And coach Trice (Smith) is also amazing. He’s super honest with me about what I need to work on.”
For now, Barres is still focused on enjoying her time at Eureka High, both on and off the soccer field.
“I like Eureka High and the environment in general,” she said. “All my teachers are amazing, and (AD) Kristie Christiansen is so awesome about creating a positive environment and helping the student athletes balance their life and academics.”
Barres’ older brother Conor plays college soccer at Pacific University in Oregon.