Kiel Pederson has decided to continue his education and his football career in the nation’s capital next year. He will be leaving his home in Calgary in order to pursue his dreams at the University of Ottawa.
Runningback/Punter/Place Kicker/ Kick Returner
Height & Weight:
6’1”, 170 lbs
Centennial High School Coyotes (Grade 10-12)
Calgary Midget Colts (Grade 11)
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees
Kiel’s love for football did not begin when he first strapped on the helmet and shoulder pads. As a matter of fact it wasn’t tackle football that first caught his attention at all. It was in junior high school when he joined a flag football league that he really fell in love with the sport. So when Kiel entered high school and had the opportunity to put the pads on and give the real thing a try there was no questioning it.
Pederson was not only named starting Runningback, Place Kicker, Punter, and Kick Returner for the Centennial junior team, but he was also named a Team Captain. His first season of football went well and Kiel received an award of excellence for his achievements. Kiel’s next season with Centennial went pretty well too. He was no longer the teams starting Place Kicker, but he did retain all of his other positions from the previous year, this time with the school’s senior team. At the end of the season Kiel was nominated for the school’s Green and Silver Award.
At this point just playing football for his school was not enough. Kiel decided to give minor football a try and joined the local Colts Midget team. For the Colts Kiel was the first string Place Kicker and Kick Returner, as well as second string Runningback. By the end of the season Kiel had worked hard and ended up splitting carries with the other Runningback. Kiel was named a league all-star that season and helped his team to an appearance in the City Championship game.
Following that season Kiel was once again named Team Captain of the Centennial Coyotes football team. This season was Kiel’s best yet. When it was all said and done Kiel was named team Most Valuable Offensive Player, and was a nominee for the Booster Club Award/Scholarship. He was also recognized by the league, and was given two all-star selections, one as Place Kicker and one as Runningback.
Through all of the experiences Kiel has had during those four seasons one moment stands above the rest as his most memorable. Most people, when asked what their most memorable experience was, would answer with a moment of great triumph. Kiel, on the other hand, chose a moment of crushing defeat.
“My most memorable football experience has to be the last play of the City Championship game with the Colts. After making an eight yard run to get myself within thirty-five yards of the end zone, a field goal attempt was called. The score was 19-16 in the other team’s favour,” Kiel recalls.
“I had made thirty to thirty-five yard kicks every practice, almost never missing one, and had actually cleared the tops of the posts in a game earlier in the season from forty-five yards. This was different. This was for the City Championship, so none of that stuff mattered.”
“I had always found that, when kicking, I could zone everything out and just focus on the kick, like nothing else was there. For this attempt everything happened perfectly. The clock ran out, ball was snapped and pinned, and I kicked the ball nice and high. Unfortunately, I had aimed just a few feet to the left of the posts and that was all it took to watch a whole season of hard work get thrown away.”
“It may not be the most positive memory I can pull out of my football experience… not by a long shot, but I found I can look back at that moment and realize something. You can work your butt off, do everything you can to improve personally like; train, practice and sweat and you might do really great things, but at the end of all this personal sacrifice it’s not the sense of personal failure that hits you hardest, it’s the feeling of loss that the team feels as a whole. It’s the fact that these guys, the ones that ran with you, sweat with you, and protected you all season were relying on you, and you let them down. These kids had become your brothers and it wasn’t just for you, it was for all of them too.”
“But the thing that stands out even more then all of that is that the brotherhood didn’t crumble when all their hard work amounted to nothing because I couldn’t make something from it. We were still a family. I had every guy on the team encouraging me, thanking me for a great season, and complimenting me on how hard I played. Football is different from other sports, and I think the biggest difference is the family you gain from every team you play with.”
“That is what I love the most about this sport. I love the closeness that a team develops. I also really love the pure athleticism involved, and the intensity. There is nothing like the intensity of a pregame locker room. Your blood gets pumping like nothing else I have ever experienced,” says Kiel.
“I have had a lot of people impact me and help me get to where I am today. If I have to choose a couple that stand out above the rest it would have to be my father and one coach in particular. My dad has influenced me very heavily towards athletics and has encouraged me every step of the way throughout all of the sports I have played. If it wasn’t for him I could have never known the success that hard work and commitment can achieve.”
“In terms of football, every coach has an impact but the most supportive and helpful coach was one that never actually coached me on the field. Coach Melrose from Centennial was the Linebackers coach but he has done more for me in terms of my future in football than I could have ever asked for. He convinced me that football was worth the extra work on top of engineering. He convinced me to continue with it in university. He helped me to apply for different football programs and answered any questions that I had.”
“I also really appreciate his view on football. He believes that football is a lifestyle. I am not really looking to go pro or simply be the best football player I can be while disregarding everything else. What I want out of this is to keep that sense of family. I love this game and I want to play it as long as possible for that reason. It is because of Coach Melrose and his view on football that I have not set football aside completely. He always respected the value that I place on education, but he just helped me see that I did not need to give football up entirely.”
“I am very thankful to both of them for all of the help and guidance they have given me. I could not be happier with the result.”
“My goals in the future are to take chemical engineering. I hope to graduate with a degree in engineering, whether it is in this field or another one in engineering does not really matter. I just want to get a degree in engineering and prove that I am not one of the students who are too weak to make it through engineering. I want to succeed in engineering while participating on the football team.”
“In terms of football, my first goal is to make the team, but beyond that I hope to have a starting role by at least my third year. I also want to be a positive contribution to the team every year that I am a part of it. My team goals are to be a part of a team that makes it to the Vanier Cup. More importantly though, I want to find that sense of family again and make some life long friendships.”