An Airdrie soccer product has made an immediate impact on one of Canada’s top college teams.
Kassidy Kelly, an 18-year-old center back, was recognized by the Olds College Broncos as the school’s Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 17 to Sept. 24.
“It felt great and it was so rewarding to see that I won that,” said Kelly, who graduated from St. Martin de Porres High School in June.
Kelly attributed the accolade to strong individual performances in the Broncos’ most recent Alberta Collegiate Athletic Council (ACAC) games against the Lethbridge College Kodiaks and Medicine Hat Rattlers, Sept. 21 and 22. Olds fell 4-0 to Lethbridge, but bounced back to beat the Rattlers 1-0.
“The teams we played on the weekend had a really strong offence, so I was kind of that player on the field who had to step up and not let them score,” she said.
“I think I’m really solid. I don’t jump in very much and I like to play with my team. I don’t like to let them down.”
Despite being one of just five first-year players on the Broncos roster this season, Kelly has shined at the heart of the team’s defence, which has conceded just 10 goals in six conference games this year.
The center back position is typically reserved for a team’s most experienced players, but Kelly has already become a regular starter, playing the full 90 minutes of each game.
She said her head coach, Niels Slotboom, has shown a lot of trust in her by playing her in such a key position.
“He just saw how hard I’ve been working at practices and how much I’ve improved since preseason,” she said. “I think he’s seen that I’m a quality defender who deserves to play that much.”
Before she joined the Broncos in the ACAC, Kelly played Tier 2 soccer for the MSB Impact, a club that competes in the Calgary Minor Soccer Association. She also played high-school soccer and basketball for the St. Martin de Porres Kodiaks.
Kelly, who is studying sports management, said she’s enjoyed the increased intensity the college game offers.
“I really like how competitive it is being able to play at this level,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I love the team atmosphere.”
Olds is having a stellar season, with a 5-1-0 record that puts the team in first place of the south division.
The Broncos’ success in the first half of the season has even garnered the team national recognition – the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association has the Broncos ranked eighth among college soccer teams, nationwide.
Kelly believes the team’s strong showing is due to the number of returning players, as well as the athletes’ chemistry.
“Off the bat, we’ve played really well together and made a connection,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of practices together and that’s helped a lot, too.”
The Broncos will be on the road Oct. 5 and 6 for another round of games against the Lethbridge Kodiaks and Medicine Hat Rattlers. For a full schedule of the team’s games, visit gobroncos.ca.