Many student athletes struggle between balancing school and their respective sport, but Jesse James West is able to manage both and run a popular YouTube channel.
West has become a well-known figure around campus for his YouTube channel, where he posts game day lacrosse videos and fitness videos. He has reached nearly 800,000 views in the two years he has been making videos.
He often has his teammate, Dave Figueiredo, film his lacrosse videos, which feature highlights from his games. However, West films nearly all of his footage, including behind-the-scenes footage from games and fitness videos.
West’s career on YouTube started at a very young age. He first started out collaborating with a friend in the seventh grade to make lacrosse videos.
“We made strictly lacrosse videos, and we continued to grow until about my senior year of high school,” West said. “However, due to Division I regulations on discussing lacrosse, we decided to part ways.”
West would first make his own independent channel in May 2016 but started making more videos consistently in 2017 after he shut down his first channel.
He has grown rapidly in recent months, hitting 10,000 subscribers in March. He currently has more than 12,000 subscribers.
Before becoming a popular figure at Montclair State University, West was a dominating force for the Sparta High School lacrosse team. In his senior year, West registered 51 goals and 31 assists, being named a first team All-Group 2 selection by NJ.com in his senior year.
Junior midfielder Skyler Francisco, a teammate of West in high school as well as here at Montclair State, believes that West continuously improves his game each year.
“I watched him progress and get better each year in high school,” Francisco said. “He has great stick skills, which helped him [offensively].”
West would eventually commit to Lehigh University’s Division I lacrosse program in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. However, after only one semester, West decided that it was best to part ways with the school.
“I wanted to focus more [on] school and other aspects of my life outside of lacrosse,” West said. “It was really hard to do that at Lehigh since it was just school and lacrosse all the time.”
West has had a stellar time adjusting to Montclair State. A communication and media arts major, he maintains decent grades and has quickly built great friendships with his new teammates on the lacrosse team.
Freshman midfielder Tyler McCreey believes that West has been a fantastic addition to the program.
“His transition into the team was almost seamless as everyone instantly got along with him,” McCreey said. “He is very hardworking, whether it is with lifting, schoolwork or lacrosse.”
His play on the field has been exceptional as well. The freshman attackman has scored 22 goals, which is second best behind senior attackman Matt Haemmerle for the most goals on the team. His relentless play on the field has made him a rising star for the team.
His secret for his success was simple: Enjoying the game of lacrosse and doing everything he can to help the team.
“My goal this season has been to just enjoy lacrosse and make memories,” West said. “I also want to help the team out as much as possible, whether it be scoring goals or picking up ground balls.”
The team is currently at a 6-6 record midway through April, as they have faced a difficult schedule thus far. Two of Montclair State’s losses both came to nationally ranked opponents in Dickinson College and Salisbury University, who are both currently ranked in the top 10 in the Division III national rankings.
However, West remains very optimistic about the season moving forward.
“We had a slow start to the season, but things seem to be picking up,” West said. “We are doing much better than we did at the beginning of the season, and our intensity has really picked up.”
With the team reaching the end of the season, West and the rest of the team have set their sights on bigger goals.
“We want to beat every New Jersey team that we face this season,” West said. “We want to also win the conference and try to make it into the national tournament.”
With school, lacrosse and a growing YouTube channel, West often has a lot to manage throughout the week. However, West has been able to do all three things at an extremely high level.
“When you really care about something, you’ll always make time for it,” West said. “My priorities will always be school first though.”