A pickup game in the backyard with his dad when he was eight years old was how Tyler Shimomura was introduced to football.
“I was in the backyard, and my dad just grabbed a football…and we started throwing it around,” says Shimomura. “He saw how much fun I was having. Then he asked me, ‘Would you want to continue playing?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ I love the sport, and I love everything about it.”
The junior at JSerra Catholic High School does a little of everything on the field for the Lions. As a starting wide receiver, punt returner and free safety, Shimomura enjoys all three phases of the game.
“I like to be involved in every aspect on the field (special teams, offense, defense),” says Shimomura. “It’s nice to be on the field as much as I possibly can.”
Varsity football head coach for JSerra, Pat Harlow, knows he has a versatile athlete in Shimomura who can play on both sides of the ball, a key component to remaining competitive in the Trinity League.
“Tyler is an outstanding athlete and young man,” says Harlow. “I am looking forward to him stepping up as a senior leader this next year. He is an amazing playmaker, and we will try to get the ball in his hands.”
For Shimomura, the sports season doesn’t stop when football ends, as the 17-year-old also plays basketball and baseball for the Lions. He admits that being a multi-sport athlete is tough work, but he feels the effort is worth the reward.
“I find it truly stress relieving,” says Shimomura. “I don’t always have to be thinking about one sport the entire time. I enjoy being out there playing the sports that I love.”
Outside of athletics, Shimomura leads his teammates and classmates as president of Fellowship of Lion Athletes, a club on JSerra’s campus that gathers to share about their faith. Having faced a number of challenges as an athlete, including a torn meniscus two years ago that sidelined him for four months, Shimomura leans on his own faith through prayer.
“I’m not always certain how every game is going to go,” says Shimomura. “So if I’m struggling one week, I lift it up to God…I pray as much as I can.”
Shimomura’s goals are to play collegiate football and become a firefighter, just like his father. Both of his parents, as well as his older brother, have persevered through tremendous adversity and provide the Tustin resident with plenty of inspiration.
“You’re going to get knocked down, but it’s about whether you choose to get back up, whether you keep on going and keep pushing through everything,” says Shimomura. “It’s not always going to be about whether you’re the best…you have to have the hard work and the work ethic to get to where you want to get.”