Through life, Kieran Flannery-Fleck’s parents have helped inspire him through mental toughness and strength as he quit soccer and moved on to football.
“It started with my dad. My dad was my soccer coach, team manager, and physio therapist, for most of my soccer career, so he taught me basically everything I know,” Flannery-Fleck said.
Not only did his dad help coach him through his early years of sports, but so did his mom in another way. Flannery-Fleck’s mom taught him to never give up on a dream because you’ll get there eventually.
“My mom, not being accepted into med school, she told her guidance counsellors in high school I want to go into med school, they said no way in hell you’re going to get into med school, she did, and now she’s head of her department,” Flannery-Fleck said.
So, when Flannery-Fleck decided to quit soccer and go into football, he never gave up. He is now the kicker for the Carleton Ravens football team.
Sometimes when a football kicker joins a team, it’s because they’re not the best athlete for any other role in football.
In Flannery-Fleck’s case, he became a kicker due to his extensive soccer background.
The Carleton Ravens football team is close to his heart due to him being from Ottawa, Ontario.
“My versatility. I can run, I can throw, I’ll do whatever. Playing corner and receiver that one year was great, and being a skier, and rower, a soccer player, hockey player, it’s all helped me be very versatile,” Flannery-Fleck said about what he takes pride in as an athlete.
Prior to his football career, Flannery-Fleck played tier 1 soccer for teams such as the Bedford Titans, Suburban FC, South West United in Calgary, and the Foothills.
At the start of his grade 11 year, he decided to try out playing football.
“My best friend is a year ahead of me in high school, he was in grade 12, I was in grade 11, and he was the starting safety, and he’s like, come on and play football because I was quitting soccer,” Flannery-Fleck recalled.
Flannery-Fleck began playing as receiver and corner, but in his grade 12 year, his father suggested he try out for kicker due to his past experience in soccer.
“I got linked up with the kickers from Calgary, Rene Paredes and Rob Maver, and I started working with them and I started kicking in grade 12,” Flannery-Fleck said.
At 6’1 and 156 pounds, Flannery-Fleck is one of the smaller guys on the field, which provides him with many memorable moments.
“The returner on kickoff was lined up at the 20-yard line, and looking at me I’m not the biggest guy, so he thought I wasn’t going to pound it, and I played it over his head and it went into the end zone and tackled him in the end zone,” Flannery-Fleck reminisced about a game at Glebe Collegiate High School.
At the start of the 2017-18 season, Flannery-Fleck began playing for the Queen’s University Gaels.
“My mom works there, my dad went there, my cousins went there. One of my cousins actually still goes there, so it made sense. And at the time, they seemed really excited to have me, and it seemed really exciting,” Flannery-Fleck said.
Fast forward to now, Flannery-Fleck made the decision to transfer to his hometown university due to not seeing enough playing time on the Gaels.
He transferred over to Carleton for the start of the 2019-2020 season.
“I know Jonathan Edouard (Ravens defensive back). I was just kicking to him, and Tunde Adeleke, and Nate Hamelin, and I was talking about it with JonDo last season and he was like, Michael Domagala (Ravens former kicker) is moving on after this year, we’ve got an opening spot, you can compete against this other guy, Vince, who’s a very solid kicker, so it would be good competition,” Flannery-Fleck said.
While on the Ravens, Flannery-Fleck will have many exciting factors come in to play.
One factor is the that he’ll be playing on a team in his hometown.
“It’s really cool because all of my family are here, so I’ve got family that I’ve never even met who message me on Facebook saying we’d love to come out to games, so, it will be pretty cool to be close to family,” Flannery-Fleck said.
Another factor is the fact that he’ll get the chance to play in his first Panda Game. It’s a game played between rival schools Carleton and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“Honestly, just running out of the tunnel. I’m just really excited because I know that so many of my family members are going to be there, and friends, and the whole school,” Flannery-Fleck said.
And from what he has seen at training camp, Flannery-Fleck believes the Ravens will be an exciting team to play on.
“Being a part of the team that wants to win and has a really good chance of going as far as we want to, I think it’s just exciting about how many guys are hungry to play, hungry to win, and hungry to compete,” Flannery-Fleck said.
“The environment is pretty crazy, the coaches are fired up, they’re intense, players are fired up. It’s intense, it just seems to all be piecing together,” he added.
Throughout his football career, Flannery-Fleck has faced many challenges and adversities. The biggest one being his size.
“The biggest one is just being called small, and tiny, and skinny, and scrawny. Which is fair because I’m the smallest guy on the team,” Flannery-Fleck said.
“I just play football because I love it. I can kick just as far as anyone, I can put it just as high as anyone, I can do whatever the coaches want me to do and that doesn’t bother me at all, so, I just block it out,” he added.
Due to all the challenges he has faced, it has brought a sense of maturity to Flannery-Fleck’s mindset.
“This year was the biggest jump for me, where in first year going into training camp I was like I got to make every kick, I got to do this, I want to play, and I didn’t have the greatest training camp but I didn’t do bad, and in my second year I did really well in training camp and this year I think I’m doing great because I’m learning that you’re not going to make every kick,” Flannery-Fleck said.
“Domagala didn’t make every kick and he’s still amazing, but he didn’t make every kick, so just focus on what you can control and one ball at a time type thing,” he added.
Although Flannery-Fleck’s Ravens career is kicking off, and although he still has a long way to go in football, he hopes one day he’ll be able to go pro.
“I fully intend on attempting to go pro. That’s my goal. I got a huge support group around me, they’re totally on board with that, grandparents, parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, all my best friends,” Flannery-Fleck said.
“I’d love to go play in the CFL, it’s awesome, but I definitely want to also try to go to the NFL. I have four years left of eligibility, so I still have a long time to go, but that’s the ultimate goal,” he added.