Defender logging big
minutes as rookie at Laurier
By Ned Bekavac
Calm and cool are great traits to have for a soccer defender.
In the moments leading up to his first ever Ontario University Athletics game, Brady Kelly admits he was quite lacking in those departments.
“I’d never been so nervous before a game in my life. I was insanely nervous,” says Kelly.
That was less than two months ago.
“I’ve settled right in,” he says.
Kelly is a rookie defender with the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s soccer team. While many first-year players can spend much of their time on the sidelines, the Our Lady of Lourdes graduate has been playing major minutes for the Hawks.
He started Laurier’s first game, right off the bat, and played the full match against McMaster, the two-time defending OUA champs. While a leg injury has kept him out of a few games, he’s played full-on for all 10 games that he’s been available, heading into a game at Brock Wednesday night.
This Saturday, Kelly and the Hawks visit his hometown Guelph Gryphons.
Growing up, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound defender played football and soccer in town.
When he hit high school, he focused on the latter. Even though, of course, football gets far more attention when it comes to high school sports, and soccer seems to often fly under the radar.
He says he and the Lourdes soccer Crusaders used that as motivation.
“That drove us more,” says Kelly.
Kelly and those Crusaders drove to huge heights, winning District 10 and CWOSSA titles, and earning the AA OFSAA (provincial) silver medal in 2011.
Those Lourdes teams have produced a whopping four players who have gone on to play at the university level – there is Kelly, Ethan Danielli of the Guelph Gryphons, Nick de Grave of the Ryerson Rams, and Max Raab of the Cape Breton Capers.
For his part, Kelly says life with the Golden Hawks rocks.
“It’s fun. I love it,” he says.
The Hawks (6-4-4) visit the Gryphons (8-2-4) Saturday for a 3:15 p.m. game.
Heading into it, we shot a few Qs Kelly’s way for a Q&A. See below.
• • •
Q: What is something neat or nutty you recall from your early days of playing soccer as a youngster?
A: I don’t exactly have a specific memory when I was little, but the “mud” games on my high school field were always battles.
I remember playing teams in the playoffs and the ball would just stop in the corners of the field. Luckily for me, I was playing defence so I got to play in the mud all game. I was covered head to toe by the end of those games.
• • •
Q: What are the three most-played songs on your iPod?
A: Earl Sweatshirt: Burgundy; J. cole: Power Trip; Ed Sheeran: Give Me Love.
• • •
Q: Lots of North American sports fans criticize soccer, saying a) There are not enough goals and b) There is too much diving. What are your thoughts and what, if anything, would you change?
A: I play defence, so I have no problem with not enough goals, but I understand how a game may be boring for someone who is used to watching high scoring NFL or NHL games.
The diving does get a bit excessive in some games as well, and can change the outcome dramatically. It is a part of the game however, and I have been on teams where we have both scored and been scored on because of diving, so it is hard to want to change anything.
• • •
Q: Alive or not, who are three famous people you’d like to have over for dinner and drinks?
A: Definitely Will Ferrell, Daniel Tosh, and Paul Rudd. I love my comedy.
• • •
Q: You won OFSAA AA silver at Lourdes. Can you share a story about that season? Where do you keep that medal today?
A: There are so many stories from that season, probably many that couldn’t be published in a newspaper (ha ha).
One that sticks out though is when we won the semifinals. We played the defending OFSAA champs, and we won in penalties with our last shooter. I remember huddling around with the players, not watching the shot, and when it went in and we heard the crowd, we went crazy.
I keep the medal at home in my room. I have a lot of medals, but that one is definitely special.
• • •
Q: What has been the most eye-opening thing for you on the field, and on campus, about attending university?
A: The pace on and off the field are very different from high school. The players are so much better at varsity than anybody else I’ve ever played against, but it is the most exciting year I have had yet.
The pace off the field refers to the work load. I am in Bsc Kinesiology, and having to take courses like chemistry, biology, and calculus, along with soccer, is a lot to handle.
Q: The Trib’s paying the tab. What’s your tipple and where would you be having it?
A: I’ve started to really like Guinness.
It’s such a unique taste and it’s the nicest looking beer in a glass. I’d share one at McCabe’s in Guelph. I haven’t had time to check out the Waterloo pubs yet.
Q: You’re in town Saturday facing your hometown Gryphs, a team that includes Ethan Danielli, who was a teammate of yours at Lourdes. The teams have already squared off this season. What was that like? Any healthy trash talk (haha)?
A: Going into the game versus Guelph was the most excited I had been all year to play.
I have played against some of the Gryphs players plenty of times when I was younger, so I was excited to see how I would do in a legitimate game.
There is some healthy trash talk as well. I actually hung out with Ethan recently and we were talking about the game. We jabbed each other a bit but we want to see each other do well, so whatever happens Saturday will stay on the field. Unless Laurier wins, then I may remind him a few times after (ha ha).
• Band or musician: Frank Ocean
• Actor: Brad Pitt
• Actress: Natalie Portman
• TV show: How I Met Your Mother
• Movie: Anchorman
• Food: Meatloaf
• Drink: Chocolate milk
• Sport aside from soccer: Football
• Sports franchise: West Bromwich Albion
• Day of the week: Friday